Although his long game is still a work in progress, we’ve seen Tiger Woods’ elite touch and prowess return from inside of 100 yards. It was on display this past week at the FedEx Cup Playoffs first event, The Northern Trust.
As his rise back to the top continues, the little touch shots he pulls off are very impressive to watch. And as in days gone by, we can all learn from how Tiger executes his short game shots. Playing his third shot during the opening round on the par-5 17th, Woods faced a 30-yard pitch and run to get up-and-down for birdie.
Let’s take a look at how he played the ‘grab and go’ pitch from 30 yards out.
- The trajectory of the shot is designed to be lower, so choosing a gap or sand wedge between 50 and 56 degrees is ideal for this shot.
- Next, choking down on the club to gain feel and control will help flight the ball as well.
- Finally, look to play the ball in the middle of your stance. This will position the ball at the low point of the swing where we can expect even contact between the club and the ball versus a traditional pitch shot, which is played with the ball slightly back of center, resulting in a steeper angle of attack.
- Moving the ball position is a great way to maximize or minimize the amount of spin your wedge puts on the ball.
- By watching Tiger execute this perfectly, we can see he has very little hand or wrist action. This is a dead-arm and body rotation-driven shot. When practicing your own version of the ‘grab and go,’ maintain your swing arc and width as you turn back and through. Since we are not hinging the club, the clubhead should remain on a wide arc during the shot.
- The ‘grab’ element of the shot is created by putting clean grooves of your wedge on the back of the ball. Simply having good acceleration through the hitting zone will impart enough spin for the ball to grab when it lands.
- The ‘go’ part comes from the lower trajectory and the full body rotation through the shot. Turning through will help the ball chase towards the target and roll out like a putt.
Once you have practiced the shot and gotten comfortable with the center ball position along with more-than-normal body rotation for a pitch, you will find this shot to be very predictable since you are planning for some runout once the ball lands.
The ‘grab and go’ is a great shot to have in the bag for playing new courses where you will be unsure as to how the ball reacts on the greens. The shot also plays very well from intermediate cuts of rough instead of taking big swings hoping to fly it in high and land it soft.