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Ken Tannar, PGI Creator

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Probable Golf Instruction

Thanks for supporting Probable Golf Instruction. This is the sixth of my series on the short game; from putting to chipping to wedge play. If you have any specific questions related to the topic that you'd like answered, join my PGI Member Select Club. I'll answer all your golf questions related to your own, unique golf game in a prompt, thorough fashion. I'm just an email away at golf expert@probablegolfinstruction.com.

August PGI Contest

Congratulations to Arthur Williams III
of Winston-Salem, NC , who won the July contest and a copy of Using The Mental Keys, an audio CD valued at $70. If you'd still like to order a copy of the CD, you can purchase them from my site at a 10% discount (send me an email & I'll send you a special link), and you'll be entered into August's contest for Mental Toughness, a CD Rom by Dr. Fran Pirozzolo and endorsed by Justin Leonard, 1997 British Open Champion.
Or download any of my PGI Golf Tips or Reports. Buy a copy of the CD, Hit Down Dammit!, a supply of Stinger Tees, CaddyPatch Impressions or Swing Machine Golf.

After you make a purchase, just email me a message at probablegolf@yahoo.ca with the subject heading, "PGI Member." You need to be a newsletter subscriber to qualify.

You owe it to your game to make the best of your abilities; become " Master of Your Own Game". Stand out and improve, without hitting any balls!!

Here's to a long lasting life of great golf!

My latest study is finished. See some of the details of the reports HERE.

A Brief Message      Aug 2/04

  • Ken here from Probable Golf Instruction. For many of us, the heat is intense as we're in a break between Majors. You should be hitting your longest shots of the year right now.
  • In my last newsletter, I explained the method I use to hit those partial wedge shots. Feel is still involved but one can become much more confident and consistent.
    View it here.

  • In this issue, I'll explain how I hit lob shots around the green. And I'm not promoting the full swing Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson method.
  • I'm awaiting a new, exciting product to test. It's a Doppler Radar Swing Speed Detector produced by Sports Sensors, Inc. One can easily and simply measure their swing speeds from day to day. Part a what determines distance is swing speed. Imagine fiddling with mechanics and timing and seeing right away how it affects swing speed. I'll have more to say about this product once I've tested it myself. It retails for $100.

  • The other factor that determines distance is how solidly the club makes contact with the ball. I recently acquired some adhesive, leather club face patches that are used to show you your mishits. They're called CaddyPatch Impressions. Take a look at them here. They'll be highlighted in September's issue of PGA Tour Partner's Magazine.
The Short Game Part 6: High Lob Shots

Read other Parts from the Technology & Distance series and Short Game series here, Archives.

If you'd like one on one explanations about the topic, sign up for the PGI Member Select Club and I'll answer all your questions in a prompt, thorough fashion. Now on to this week's topic.

VI. How do you successfully hit a lob shot?

     Have you every seen Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson take a full swing with a sand wedge fully open. From the length and speed of their swings, one would think the ball would fly well over the green. Instead, the ball flops up very high and lands very softly. The distance traveled  might be only 30 or 40 yards.

     To hit that kind of shot requires a great deal of coordination, skill and practice. Very few of us would be able to successfully use this shot day after day. And we'd need a very good lie to have any chance.

     Very often around the green, a lob shot is required. One needs to be able to fly the ball a short distance and have it roll a very short distance. Let's say you're hitting from one side of a bunker and the pin is only 15 feet on the other side of the bunker (this is called missing in a bad position; you went for a sucker pin and shouldn't have).

Before I tell you how I play it, a few points:

     Firstly, to be successful with such a shot, you'll need to practice it, a lot at first and then regular maintenance. I hit the shot a few times as part of my warm up routine before a round.

     Secondly, you'll need a lofted wedge, preferably 60 degrees. In come cases, you'll need to open the club face to increase the effective loft. Learn more about different types of wedges here.

     Thirdly, one needs to keep in mind not to get too cute. We sometimes need to surrender the fact that getting the ball close is unlikely; 15 or 20 feet might be a very good shot.

     With that said, now an explanation of how to play the shot. I rarely use more than a half swing (hands get to waist high in the backswing). With a short swing, I have more control. I vary the distance the shot flies by varying how much I choke down on the club and how much I open the face. I usually don't open the face unless a lot of height is needed (I want very little roll).

     If you recall from my last newsletter, I gave you a chart indicating how I hit wedge shots of different lengths. I've replicated the chart below.

30 yd
40 yd
50 yd
60 yd
70 yd
80 yd
90 yd
60 degree
1/2: full
1/2: 2 in
3/4: full
3/4: 2 in
50 degree
3/4: full
3/4: 1 in
3/4: 2 in

Using a 60 degree without opening the clubface, I use a half swing to fly the ball 30 yards. I choke down fully on the grip. This shot already flies fairly high. If I wanted to hit the ball even higher, I would simply open the clubface. The more I open the clubface, the higher and shorter the ball flies and the softer it lands.

     You'll need to experiment yourself with how far each shot travels with a certain degree of open clubface. I wouldn't try to deal with more than 3 amounts of openness: just a little, medium and maximum. You'll quickly find out your maximum amount of openness. Once the shots become quite inconsistent, you've surpassed your maximum amount.

     I usually find that the standard wedge shots with the 60 degree highlighted in the table above give my balls enough height most of the time. But on those occasions when I do need more height and a softer shot, it's nice to have the consistent, confident swing and just open the clubface a little and choke down on the club a little less. I find having this shot in my bag saves me numerous shots.

     Very few players at my own club are able to hit a lob shot. I'm sure my club is fairly representative of most. I think the real problem lies with golfers trying to be too wristy, instead of keeping the the wrists soft. As well, they try to help the ball up instead of allowing the loft of the club do the lifting work.

     Lack of practice also plays a major roll. I see very few golfers practicing their short games. Most spend most practice time, if any, hitting balls on the range. Recall what I said earlier in this series, the short game makes up a very large percentage of the shots. Don't neglect it!

     If you have any questions to clarify the method that I use for lob shots, feel free to send me an email and I'll do my best to answer.

     Next time, my newsletter topic will begin to deal with statistics in golf. What is an average golfer? How does a good, low amateur compare to a PGA Tour pro? How does one use knowledge about their own golf statistics to lower their score?

Purchase my Longest Golf Ball Report (over 340 sold so far) in which I statistically analyze distances of over 90 different golf balls with differing constructions. The balls were hit using a mechanical hitting machine.

Play with my Driver Distance Calculator. You can input such variables as loft and clubhead speed to determine the optimum loft. I'll be adding to it soon so that you can input different golf ball parameters such as speed and spin.


A list of resources that have been used to produce this newsletter can be found on my website here.

The next newsletter's topic will be on wedge play. If you have any questions ahead of time, send me an email.

The focus of my site is to utilize science and math to lower your score. New technology is one way to achieve this, but to be honest, the technology is one small piece of the puzzle.

To actually improve significantly, we all need to:

1. Improve our swings using CD Interactive, Hit Down Dammit!

2. Learn how to swing simpler like the Iron Byron with the great coffee table book, Swing Machine Golf!

3. Improve our physical fitness and strength.
The Golf Trainer Power Performance Programô

4. Improve our mental games. Golf Mind Software

5. Improve our Probable Golf games. Learn how to make better choices on the course through knowing how shot patterns and reading the elements and course better.

Click on the links above to take a look at ways that I personally use myself and recommend you try as well.

Hope I provided some useful ways for to become better prepared for you best golf season ever.

Ken Tannar


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