We spend a lot of time trying to hit the ball with the centre of the clubface. But sometimes, a situation on the golf course calls for a part of the club other than the sweet spot to make contact with the ball. Rose Zhang encountered one such scenario during the US Women’s Open at Lancaster Country Club. Her ball came to rest on the fringe, but right up against the collar.

This type of lie can happen when the rough around the green is very dense, says Joanna Coe, a Golf Digest Best Young Teacher and the director of instruction at famed Merion Golf Club. The ball sitting against the longer grass of the rough makes solid centre-face contact difficult – even for the pros. So instead of using the centre of the putterface, Zhang used the toe.

To hit this shot, Coe says: “Flip the putter so that the toe is positioned behind the golf ball, with the entire putter in line with the target. The toe will be slightly down, and the heel slightly elevated. Grip the putter as you normally would, even though the top of your grip will be on the side (left side for right-handed players and right side for left-handed players).”


The ball should be in the middle, or slightly forward, in your stance, Coe says. From there, make a normal putting-stroke motion.

“While this setup may look unconventional, you’ll be surprised at how easily the putter glides through the thick rough with minimal resistance,” Coe says.

By using only the toe of the putter, there’s less material to get caught up in the rough. You’ll get cleaner contact than you would if you tried to use the centre of your putterface. Next time your ball is up against the collar, give Zhang’s trick a try.