Recreational players should make this shot their go-to around the green, says LPGA pro

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Emma Talley's greenside advice? Use the toe of the club.

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In addition to playing a lot of golf, pro golfers watch a ton of it too — much of it first-hand, from their playing partners in weekly pro-ams.

If you’ve ever watched a pro-am, or perhaps played in one yourself, you know that the golf is not often of the highest quality. While many pros do their best to help their group members with tips over the course of the round, I was curious about whether or not there were certain mistakes pros notice recreational players making that, if fixed, could improve their games.

Former U.S. Women’s Amateur champion and LPGA Tour player Emma Talley said that she often sees her pro-am partners playing difficult shots like flops around the green, which doesn’t generally turn out well. Instead, she said, those players should employ a simple technique that she uses all the time.

“One of my go-to shots, especially if it’s a tight lie, you can do with any club, from your 58-degree up to your 5-iron,” she said. “Basically, you put your feet together, and you get the heel of the club completely off the ground. Just use the toe of the club, and hit the ground with the toe of the club and the ball with the toe of the club.

“It’s going to produce this little soft shot, and it works as a putt,” Talley continued. “So if you need a little height, but you need it to stop, use the 58-degree. If the pin’s in the back and you’re on the fringe, you can use your 5-iron and do the same thing, but the shot’s going to produce different rolls. The motion is just your putting stroke, using the toe.”

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Thinking about intentionally using the toe of the club gives me a bit of anxiety, but Talley swears the shot is easy.

“Keep your weight on your left foot and just putt it,” Talley said. “It’s honestly the easiest shot, just make sure you hit the ground with the toe. Don’t be scared to hit the ground with the toe of the club. You can’t mess it up.”

I was still a bit skeptical. Sometimes I hit the toe of the club when I don’t want to. What’s going to happen when hitting the toe is actually my goal?

“You’ll notice a lot of girls, sometimes they’ll be in thick rough and they don’t want the heel to get caught, and so they’ll just lift it off the ground and literally just use the toe,” Talley said. “It’s the easiest shot in golf and you can use it from all kinds of different places.”

So next time you’re faced with a difficult greenside shot, forget the flop and give Talley’s advice a try instead. Editor

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on