Big Play with T.J. Tomasi

July 03, 2005

WHO: Birdie Kim

WHAT: Holed 30-yard bunker shot for birdie

WHERE: Par-4 18th at Cherry Hills

WHEN: Final round of the U.S. Women's Open

WHY
Kim pulled off the most extraordinary shot in LPGA history because her technique in the deep, front-right bunker was better than her foes'. While they hit away from the flag with soft shots into the green's steep slope, Kim aimed at the hole using an aggressive smash-and-spin shot. Though a downhill shot, the play allowed Kim's ball to land softly and still have enough juice to roll gently toward--and into--the cup.

On most long sand shots you need to take a full swing that accelerates through impact and nips the sand just before the ball. My two-ball drill will help you learn the technique. Place two balls one inch apart in a bunker. Set up to the rear ball, and hit it as if you're swinging at the forward ball. The left arm should reach parallel on the backswing, and the right arm should do the same on the follow-through. Make sure to strike with a descending blow that accelerates through impact.

T.J. Tomasi teaches at Lyman Orchards Golf Club in Middlefield, Conn., and is a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher.

T.J.'S TIP

Smash and Spin Like Birdie Kim

... AND ANOTHER THING

"The most amazing feat in golf history was Tiger Woods going the entire 2000 British Open without hitting into one of the 112 bunkers at St. Andrews."

TOP 100 TEACHERS POLL

Whom do you enjoy watching more?

Morgan Pressel 32%
Annika Sorenstam 41%
Michelle Wie 27%

"Morgan was nervous and showed real emotion, which is great for the game." --LAIRD SMALL

PEBBLE BEACH GOLF ACADEMY

COLOR PHOTOCOURTESY OF NBC (KIM) FOUR COLOR PHOTOSERICK W. RASCO (TOMASI, 4) COLOR PHOTODARREN CARROLL (MOORE, PRESSEL) Pressel COLOR PHOTO JOHN BIEVER (BACKGROUND)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)