In golf you’re always making adjustments—especially when hitting from troublesome lies. Sometimes you need to adjust your stance. Other times you need to adjust your swing. And then there are times you need to adjust both. With hardpan lies, you need to adjust both.
Hardpan is found on almost every golf course—even the best courses in the world. So if you’re serious about breaking 80, you’ll learn to hit off hardpan. Doing so can shave strokes off your score and your golf handicap. Think of it as taking your game to a new level. Follow the adjustments we suggest below and you’ll find out how to conquer hardpan.
Hardpan Looks Easy
While hitting off hardpan looks easy, it’s not. So don’t take this lie for granted. The problem is the ground. It’s hard to cut through with the club’s leading edge. Instead, the edge bounces off the ground and hits the ball’s equator, causing a mis-hit.
Using your normal swing doesn’t work either. It also encourages a mis-hit. That’s because the clubhead comes into the back of the ball at too shallow an angle. Normally, that’s not a problem. But on hardpan, it increases your chances of catching the ball’s equator at impact. That produces a top or a shank.
Some players use fairway woods to conquer hardpan. We don’t recommend that in our golf lessons. The sole on a fairway wood can’t dig into the ground, which is what you need on hardpan. Instead, the sole glides over the ground’s surface and into the back of the ball, causing you to top it.
Keys To Hitting Off Hardpan
Ideally, you want to make ball first contact when hitting from hardpan. That’s the most important key of all. Below are three other keys to hitting off hardpan.
- Don’t shift your weight when swinging
- Cock your wrists early in the swing
- Don’t flip the club at impact
If you shift your weight when swinging, you’ll probably top it. Your weight should start, remain, and finish on the front side. If you keep your wrists straight, you’ll probably flip them at impact, causing you to hit it fat or thin. So cock your wrists early in your swing.
How To Off Hardpan
You’ll also need to make several mechanical adjustments to hit off hardpan.
First, move the ball back in your stance—anywhere from the middle of your stance back works. This helps you swing down on the ball.
Second, shift your weight and the club’s handle forward. This “removes” the bounce from the clubhead, making it more of a digging tool. Remember, you need the leading edge to dig into the ground, not bounce off it.
Third, open your stance slightly, elevate the club’s heel, and move closer to the ball. Opening your stance helps you to come into the ball more steeply. Elevating the heel and moving closer lessens your chances of hitting the back of the ball at impact.
Fourth, make a full turn in the backswing. Cock your wrists early during the swing. It will help you take the club back and come down on a steeper angle.
Finally, swing along your bodyline. Use a chopping motion. If you open the clubface slightly during address, swinging along your bodyline sends the ball straight toward the target.
Take time to practice this shot. It will pay off. Experiment with various degrees of open stance and open clubface combinations. This will tell you how much these adjustments affect the height and distance of each shot.
Every course has hardpan—even the best courses in the world. Savvy golfers know how to hit from hardpan. Keeping our golf tips in mind when hitting and you’ll conquer hardpan easily, shaving strokes off your scores and your golf handicap.