Want to scare the knickers off an average golfer? Place his ball on a patch of hard, bare ground. Better yet, drop the ball into a divot.
While most golfers prefer to see the ball sitting up on a nice piece of turf, there’s really nothing to fear from hardpan or divots. There’s one simple key to playing from either: Hit down on the ball.
The lack of grass and extra-firm ground make it nearly impossible to slide the club under a ball on hardpan. Attempting to pick the ball clean brings the risk of a thin shot. Likewise, there’s no getting under a ball in a divot.
Follow these steps to make solid contact from either spot:
1. Take one extra club than you normally would for the distance.
2. Play the ball toward the middle of your stance, with the hands ahead of the clubface.
3. Swing easy, making sure to stay down through impact.
For a shot from greenside hardpan, it’s best to use a pitching wedge or lob wedge as the bounce on the bottom of a sand wedge will cause it to, yes, bounce off the ground and into the ball.