DeChambeau Gets Up-And-Down From Impossible Lie

Aaron Ungvarsky

Aaron Ungvarsky

PGA of America Professional, SwingU Instructor

Bryson DeChambeau was in control of The Northern Trust for the majority of Sunday’s final round, but no lead on the PGA Tour is safe, especially with guys like Tony Finau, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas and a handful of others playing for their playoff lives. 

On the 8th hole, DeChambeau was 1-under par for the day and three shots clear of Finau, but his ball was held up in the rough near a greenside bunker leaving an awkward stance and shot from 24 yards. 

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DeChambeau acquitted himself excellently, but the shot is much more difficult than he made it look. Swing-U instructor Aaron Ungvarsky explains how you, too, can turn what seems like a daunting chip into a par save.

The Setup

  • Playing this shot properly starts from the ground up, literally. Begin by setting your feet and body lines right of the target, aiming 5-10 yards right of the landing area. The severe lie will cause the ball to hook or be pulled slightly.
  • Take a normal or slightly wider-than-normal stance. This will provide stability on the uneven lie. As you complete your stance, allow for your spine angle to be more upright like we can see with Bryson. The goal of taking this posture is to facilitate a flatter or baseball-like swing.
  • Picking the club is as simple as taking the club you would for the shot if it was in a normal lie or taking one less in loft. We avoid clubbing up because the club will dig heel first and send the ball high and left.
  • The final step in building the setup is choking up on the club. This is key because we will need to get closer to the ball, swing flatter, and anytime you can get your hands closer to the clubhead, you can gain more control of the clubface.

The Swing

  • Remember, when the lie is steep, get flat. A great way to practice this is rehearsing baseball-like practice swings waist high or slightly above. When making these swings you will notice the right arm folds quickly and the left arm works straight across your chest. This is exactly how Bryson and other pros will look to play this shot, given the lie limits lower body action or traditional body movements in a 20-40-yard pitch.
  • There is little acceleration built from the backswing into impact or swing speed needed, this is a more controlled and smooth shot with the emphasis on contact.
  • Tighten and the left-hand grip (for a right-handed golfer) and swing firmer if the rough is deeper, but the best bet is to choose less loft for a longer carry.
  • Your finish should be in balance and centered around your spine angle, a great sign that you executed the shot with tempo and control.

This shot requires practice and experience to learn how your wedges will interact with the rough and ground. Depending on your wedge’s loft and lie angle, you may find one wedge performs better with less heel dig.