Controlling Trajectory on Greenside Approach Shots by Ron Beck, PGA


The quickest and easiest way to lower your scores is to get the ball in the hole from greenside situations in 2 shots verses the 3,4 or more it sometimes takes. Tour players and low handicap amateurs get it “up and down” 75% of the time and even more. Distance control is your number one priority on these shots. Having the ability to imagine the correct shot and then being able to control your trajectory and spin is the key to successful execution.  In general, we are trying to safely land the ball on the green, producing a predictable bounce, and roll it to the hole.  The myriad of different greenside approach situations we are faced with require us to play greenside approaches with different trajectories.  Following are factors that affect trajectory.  Get out and experiment with these different variables.  Observe how the ball reacts on the green with different trajectories and then be able to execute as needed…and watch your scores drop.


Basic Rules for Controlling Trajectory

                                    Low            Medium                 High

Ball Position              Back            Center                    Forward
Center of Gravity     Forward        Slightly Forward       Centered
Width of Stance         Narrow       Medium                     Wider
Clubshaft Lean          Forward      Varies with Club         Neutral or Back
Clubface Position      Closed          Square                    Open
Club Selection           Varies          Varies                     Varies
Distance from Ball     Closer         Varies with Club        Further
Swing Length            Shorter       Varies with Club          Longer
Follow Through        Very Little       Medium                  Fuller
Spine Tilt (at finish) Forward        Centered               Centered to Back