Tiger’s Best Shots Of 2018: Tiger’s Incredible PGA Recovery

Aaron Ungvarsky

Aaron Ungvarsky

PGA of America Professional, SwingU Instructor

It’s hard to believe, but it’s that time of year again: best of the year list season is upon us. With fewer than 10 Tiger Tuesdays remaining before Christmas, we’re counting down Tiger Woods’ 10 best shots of the year and how you can implement his shot types into your own game with PGA Professional and SwingU instructor Aaron Ungvarsky’s help.

Who needs fairways!? Tiger Woods sure didn’t on the front nine at Bellerive Country Club during the final round of the 100th PGA Championship.

Of course, hitting more fairways will help him eventually win more major championships, but we saw parts of his game rounding into form nicely, capped off with his victory at the Tour Championship just a few weeks after this shut was struck. 

The hooked 9-iron from a bare lie was vintage Tiger. His ability to hammer down on an iron from a hardpan lie, hit it farther than possibly imagined and shape it to fit a shot has left us in awe for years.

Here’s how he (and you can, with practice) hit that shot:

The Lie

  • This shot selection works best from a very bare and hard-surfaced lie. Just as in Tiger’s case, these lies are often to the sides of cart paths or other heavily traveled areas that are not paved or do not receive much irrigation.
  • The ball should be even or above your feet. Any scenario where the ball is below your feet will make it very difficult to swing aggressively through impact with accuracy.
  • The line of play should favor a normal to lower trajectory shot. If an obstacle prevents this and your only option is to go high, then think about another shot selection.

The Setup

  • The key to this shot is hitting the ball first with maximum compression. Picture hitting down on the back third of the ball and trapping the ball between the club and the hardpan lie.
  • The ball position for this shot should be back-of-center and slightly back of the normal position for the iron you are taking. This will make it easier to hit the ball first and will also deloft the club, adding distance.
  • Take a wider-than-normal stance. This is pivotal because there will be limited traction on the bare surface and you will be prone to lose your footing when swinging aggressively.
  • Finally, rehearse a flatter swing plane, this will aid in keeping the flight lower and working the ball.

The Swing

  • When making the swing, look to keep the club and hands even with the upper body and make sure they pass the body through impact, ensuring you don’t get stuck behind the rotation of your body).
  • Your follow through should resemble that of Tiger’s, with the arms and club wrapping low and around the body. This is a great sign the flat swing plane was maintained and the ball will follow the intended target and start line set at address.

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