Golf is a game of inches, and the difference between a good shot and a bad one can come down to the smallest of margins.
That’s particularly clear when your ball settles off the side of the green in the exact spot where the fringe meets the rough. This spot, referred to as the collar, is a particularly tricky area on every course. Although it’s just feet away from the putting surface, playing your ball from this area is anything but simple.
When your ball is pressed up against the collar, there’s no easy way to approach the shot. Putting is very tricky because the rough won’t not allow you to make a smooth stroke. But chipping the ball also isn’t easy because the long grass will impact your ability to cleanly strike the ball. In other words, creativity is key.
1. Approach it like a putt
Kang explained that she wants these types of shots to come out like a putt would with topspin. But with the rough making using a putter impossible, she hits the shot with a wedge instead.
2. Use the toe of the club
Instead of hitting the ball with the center of the face, Kang wants to use the toe of the club for this shot. This takes away the “hotness” of the ball off the face, and helps eliminate backspin and promotes top spin.
3. Use a putting stroke
Although you’re using a wedge for this shot, you aren’t going to be using the same technique as your typical chip. You want to play the ball back in your stance and leave the heel of the club up. Choke up on the grip and try to hit a little bit down on the ball.
“It’s not like a chip,” Kang says. “It’s more of like a putting motion.”
4. Visualize your line
Once you get all the basic of the shot down, all that’s left is to visualize the line, commit, and hit the shot. Read the green like you would a putt, and imagine how the ball would roll out on the green. Play the shot like a putt and watch it track toward the center of the cup.