Thursday, August 17, 2006

A shot too far

A reader writes in with a question for Gene Bakkum, assistant director of instruction at Metropolitan Golf Links:

Q. The other day, I was playing #14 at Metro and I had 125 yards to the flagstick from the fairway. That's a 9-iron for me. I hit it crisp, sending it about 145 to 150 yards, well over the green. The wind was at my back, but it was only about 5 to 10 mph. This happens to me sometimes -- an iron shot goes way longer than it is supposed to. A member of my foursome told me it was a "shafting issue." What are the possible causes when you unexpectedly "nuke" an iron shot?

D.G., Alameda

A. It's possible that the combination of "flushing" the ball with the wind at your back could have accounted for the overshot. If you're not usually catching the ball that cleanly, it's possible that you optimized your launch angle and spin rate just enough to add another 5 - 10 yards on the shot.

Along with the shot optimization, the wind mph adds nearly the same amount in yardage when hitting downwind, so if the wind was near 10 mph, then it would add nearly 10 yards to your shot, totaling the distance to about 145 yards.

It's also possible that you delofted your 9 iron just enough at impact to fly a bit more like an 8 iron. I hope this helps.

Gene Bakkum

Have a question for one of Metro's fine instructors? Send it to jongordon at gmail dot com.

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