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Tom Watson Teaches You to Hit the Dreaded "Half Wedge" + Myrtle Course Around Plantation Ruins

Plus, what the data says about Approach Shots from < 100 yards

Happy May! The PGA Tour is just outside Dallas for the Byron Nelson CJ Cup this week, and in his pre-tournament presser, hometown hero Jordan Spieth was asked about what it’s been like competing against Scottie Scheffler recently (video HERE). Jordan said he’s inspired, but he also had this to say…

… so cheers to being inspired this weekend!

In today’s newsletter…

✅ TIPS & DRILLS: The “Half Wedge” shot might be the most hated in golf. Conquer the shot with wisdom from legend Tom Watson.

✅ COURSES: Playing through the ruins of an old plantation home? Head to Myrtle Beach for this unique experience full of great photo opps.

✅ STATISTICS: What does Shot Scope data say about approach shots inside 100 yards from varying lies? Check it out below.

✅ TRIVIA: What is the average proximity to the hole for Tour Pros when hitting the “half wedge”? Answer for a chance to win a 2014 PGA Championship Flag from Valhalla signed by Rory McIlroy!

Let’s do it!

How to Hit the Dreaded “Half Wedge” Shot
Hear from the Legend Himself - Tom Watson
To Recap…

The “Half Wedge” might be the most hated shot in all of golf, often resulting in chili-dips or air-mail shots over the green. As Watson explains, the half wedge requires a shorter backswing, but this makes it difficult to get your weight to your front side like you would with a full swing. So here’s Watson’s fix:

-STEP 1: Instead of shifting your weight back and forth during the half-wedge shot, start by lifting your trail foot’s heel off the ground. This will concentrate your weight on the front foot.
-STEP 2: Practice hitting shots maintaining this stance, aiming to keep your heel off the ground all the way back and through.

By keeping your weight on your front side from the start, you actually get 2 benefits: first, it will promote hitting the ball first on the downswing, resulting in more consistent contact. And second, you’ll start to notice better distance control when you don’t incorporate a weight shift.

Play Around the Ruins of an Old Plantation Home
Put this Myrtle Beach course on your next trip itinerary

The Love Course at Barefoot Resort & Golf
Myrtle Beach, SC

Everyone knows Myrtle Beach has a TON of courses. And yeah, a lot of them look incredibly similar. But if you’re in search of a more unique experience, Myrtle still has a lot to offer- starting with the Love Course at Barefoot Resort. It was named a Top 100 Public Course in 2017 by Golf Digest, and the Golf Channel’s “Big Break” show was filmed here in 2014. The course was designed by, you guessed it, Davis Love III, and it’s typically referred to as the most fun layout of the four courses at Barefoot Resort. The most unique stretch of holes are #3-7, where you get to play around resurrected ruins of an old plantation home. Great photo opps and trick shots abound!

Rates: $88-$208 during peak season

Check out this rundown from @golficity

Stat of the Day: Approach Shots Inside 100 Yards
presented by…

The Stat:

Green hit percentage dropped 6-12% (dependent upon handicap) when playing from Light Rough inside 100 yards vs. from the Fairway. And when playing from a Bunker, the green hit percentage dropped 22-25% vs. from the Fairway.

Not only that, the average proximity to the pin increased significantly with each more difficult lie- 40.7 feet from the Fairway, 47.0 feet from Light Rough & 57.3 feet the Sand.

The Takeaway: Naturally, there’s a big difference for a 8 / 14 / 20 handicap when playing from the bunker vs. playing from the fairway inside 100 yards. However, we were surprised playing from the rough didn’t result in a bigger disparity vs. when playing from the fairway. Most daily fee courses do limit the height of their rough though, as they are incentivized not to slow down play, so it does make sense in retrospect.

Translation: Aim away from bunkers. Worry less about the rough.

Answer to Win a 2014 PGA Championship Flag from Valhalla signed by Rory McIlroy
(1 winner chosen on 5/31/24 across all May trivia entries, 1,000 correct respondents minimum)

What is a PGA Tour player's average proximity to the pin when playing from 50-74 yards?

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