Pine Needle Lies

By John Elliott

Pine Needle Lies

Let me set the stage for this shot. We are playing in North Carolina, we have hit the ball into the bush on the right. The balls are sitting on pine needles and I have two different shots. I have a low running shot up to a green but then I have a shot where the pin is near the fringe and I need some height and softness. Let me show you how to play those two shots. First of all, the low running shot I am going to play with a 7-iron and this would be a chip shot. I am going to set up in a chipping position. Chipping to me means we are choking down, we are setting the club not behind the ball because if I touch the ground that ball is going to move so I am hovering the club in the air behind the ball with the ball back in my stance and I am in front of it. So to hit the low runner I would look like this with my 7-iron. Now to play the second shot where the pin is near the fringe of the green we are totally changing our strategy. Here we want height and softness. I do not know if you have every done this but you can play a bunker shot out of pine needles just like you can play a bunker shot out of a sand bunker. The only variable is that we are replacing the sand with pine needles. So now I take my sand iron, I walk into the shot, I set up to it with the ball off of my front heel. I hover the clubhead four or five inches behind the ball because that is where I plan to hit and once it hits here it is going to grab all of those pine needles and soften the shot up. Here is my setup for the explosion shot. Now that you have seen the set up what we are going to do is show you these two shots in slow motion which I think you will find really cool. Let's go ahead and watch the two shots, one where the club hits the ball and the other one where the club hits behind the ball and you are going to see all kind of stuff flying all over the place. In summary you saw me do a couple of different things there relative to where the ball was with respect to where the pin was. When you have room to run it you take the lower lofted club and you set up for a low shot hitting the ball and then the pine needles in front. But if that pin is near the edge and you are a pretty decent bunker player then set up to hit the bunker shot so that you are floating the pine needles which are then softening up the shot as it then hits the green it is not going to run very far. The other thing that you might notice that while I was setting up it is perfectly legal to put my feet into the pine needles. That is not building a stance that is just allowing me to find the nice solid ground which happens to be quite a bit below those pine needles. Good luck with this one, it is kind of neat because you do not get to play it much, and trust me, the people in North Carolina are loving this one.


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