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Friday, February 26, 2016

John Cook on Pitching from a Greenside Upslope

I guess I'm on an instruction binge this week. Today I've got some tips from John Cook on how to play a pitch from an uphill lie near the green. And since he recorded this at the Honda this week, it's about playing off Bermuda, which is very grainy.

Cook is using a gap wedge -- not a lob wedge -- and setting his shoulders along the slope. In other words, the slope gives him the necessary loft and too much loft on the club would cause him to leave the ball in the rough.

He's also standing closer to the ball. This makes his swing a bit more upright. If his stroke was more shallow, he'd catch more grass and -- you guessed it -- maybe leave the ball in the rough. You want to find the bottom of your stroke, where the clubhead hits the ground, so you can make accurate contact and catch the ball as cleanly as possible.

While you limit your lower body motion, you want your upper body to keep turning through the shot. Otherwise you're more likely to stick the clubhead into the grain. (You should also keep your shoulders turning when putting, btw. Your lead wrist often 'breaks down' simply because you stop turning and your wrists have no choice but to flip the club.)

Cook also says to lean the shaft forward a bit -- obviously you don't do that too much if you're trying to use the bounce -- and make sure you keep the clubhead moving well into your finish.

And as you get closer to the green -- but still on the upslope -- you go to a lower-lofted club (pw, 9-iron, etc.) and it becomes more of a chip. Cook is using a 7-iron when he gets to a level lie near the green. NOTE: Lower-loft clubs are easier to chip with. I often use an 8-iron when I'm chipping and rarely get mis-hits.

There's more in the video, but those are the basics he covers. Even if you aren't playing Bermuda, uphill lies are usually played into the grain. These are tips you need to know.

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