Reed’s Sensational Par Save

Aaron Ungvarsky

Aaron Ungvarsky

PGA of America Professional, SwingU Instructor

“Sometimes the shot that got you into trouble is the same one that will get you out of it.”

The quote above is a poignant and oft-repeated teaching adage, which was exemplified on Friday at the HSBC Champions by how Patrick Reed was able to salvage par after a big mistake off the tee.

The 18th hole at Sheshan Golf Club is a very reachable par-5, and the best in the field almost play it like a par-4. Reed looked to cut off some distance with his tee shot, but his swing motion produced a ball flight that moved too much left-to-right. Luckily the ball landed outside the hazard and his drop was close enough to the hole to give it a rip. Unluckily, the ball was well below his feet in the rough and the shot required a long forced carry if going for the green.

Reed executed a perfect high cut using a very similar motion that caused the ball to go too far right off the tee. A full turn and high hands on the backswing placed the club in a position where it easily transitioned to slightly over the swing plane and very steep. Although he missed an opportunity to make birdie, the recovery shot allowed him to keep pace with the field and finish the day in a tie for second place.

To replicate this shot, creating a sharp angle of descent is key because of where the ball is located — below our feet.

The ball below our feet means the bottom of the swing is lower than normal. If we are to use a normal swing motion, the result would be a very shallow attack angle and a thinned or topped shot because we simply never got down to the ball and underneath it.

The steep descent will lead to a solid impact and the out-to-in path of coming over the top creates the side spin we need given the face is square or slightly open.

NOTE: Hybrids are designed to help cure shots that spin too much from right-to-left or left-to-right. In order to make sure we are able to work the hybrid, open the clubface a few degrees at address.

If you find yourself in a similar scenario with the ball well below your feet and the ideal shape is left-to-right, use the lie to your advantage. Rehearse a body motion that you know produces a fade or slice for you and adjust the backswing to create a steeper takeaway and downswing.