Despite the rebuilding of his swing, erratic iron play and questionable putting in recent seasons, there is one part of the game in which Jose Maria Olazabal is without equal - chipping and pitching from around the green.
In fact, so strong is this part of his game that he still manages to grind out scores and even get himself into contention despite his well-publicised difficulties elsewhere on the course.
And yet, for straightforward bump and run shots when there is no obstacle for his ball to cross, his technique is remarkably simple. Depending on how far he is from the putting surface, he will use anything from a wedge to a 6-iron and follow this routine.
Set up slightly open to the target line;
Weight favouring his left (or leading) foot;
Ball opposite right (or trailing foot) big toe;
Backswing and follow-through of the same distance.
That's it. All you have to do now is learn how far to swing the club back in order to achieve the required distance - and that can only be achieved with a little practice. The good news is that you might be surprised how little time it takes to acquaint yourself with what's required.
|| 3 - JUNE 2004