Well, I am back from a week’s vacation, and just in time to discuss a first-time winner on the PGA TOUR: Ted Potter Jr. Now, I must admit I was a bit partial to Troy Kelly in the playoff -- I had the great opportunity to work with Troy some towards the end of last year on the Web.Com Tour -- but am very happy for Potter and his first win.
Ted hit a lot of great shots during the three-hole playoff, but the one that stuck out for me was that short little pitch shot on the second playoff hole just short of the green. How many times have we all been in this situation? Just short of the green, need to carry a small greenside bunker onto the front portion of the green, and then let it release some. It doesn't seem too difficult, but with the tournament on the line and a lie that seemed a bit skinny and tight, it was a certainly a situation that would test anyone.
When facing these tight lies around the greens, here are three keys to learn from Potter's technique:
1. Start with the clubshaft forward and return it forward at impact. It's very important to use the leading edge some on this shot, so creating a forward leaning clubshaft is paramount in order to help manage this lie.
2. Short arm swing with a hinge. It is so easy to create too much movement during the backswing on this shot. This excessive movement creates an environment to decelerate through impact. Keep the arm swing conservative but be aggressive with the hinge allowing the clubhead to still work up the plane.
3. Turn the chest towards the target. Ted did a great job of keeping his chest turning through the shot, supporting this downward movement of the clubhead. It's so easy on these shots to try to help it with the hands at impact, so create a good hinge during the backswing and trust yourself through impact and turn the chest through the shot.
Travis Fulton is the Director of Instruction at the TOUR Academies at TPC Sawgrass and the World Golf Village. For more information on the TOUR Academy, click here.