[PHOTO: Julio Aguilar]
The recent LPGA Drive On Championship featured one of the best playoffs you could ask for: Lydia Ko vs Nelly Korda. Korda ultimately won on the second playoff hole, but the playoff itself was made possible by some epic shots by both Ko and Korda down the stretch. One such shot was Ko’s fairway wood into the par-5 17th hole. With her feet above the ball and water short-right, it was a difficult shot. But she put it to a few inches, setting up an easy eagle.
Joanna Coe, a Golf Digest Best Young Teacher and the director of Instruction at Merion Golf Club, says there are some key changes you need to make to your setup when the ball is below your feet.
Start with a wider stance, to lower yourself closer to the ball. “The key is to lower your centre of gravity and commit to staying low throughout the golf swing so that the bottom of your swing is low enough to reach the ball,” Coe says.
Coe sees higher handicappers often push up too quickly in the downswing. “Therefore the club doesn’t reach the club resulting in a topped shot,” Coe says.
When you’re hitting off of a sidehill lie and the ball is below your feet, the ball will often come off the face with a left-to-right ball flight. This is something Ko kept in mind when she hit her shot.
“With water down the right, it was a master-class in course management to shift her start line of the shot at the left side of the green, assuming the ball would fade ever so slightly off that lie. Which she did beautifully!” Coe said.