Short Game: Lever vs. Non-Lever

By
David La Pour, PGA

Problem Area: Short Game
Series: Instruction Feature

Published: Thursday, November 11, 2010 | 4:23 p.m.

One of the most important decisions you will have to make around the green when playing is whether or not to use a lever action or non-lever action. A lever action is the use of the small muscles like your wrists (wrist cock and re-cock) while non-lever action involves more shoulders and body and does not involve the wrists. The golf course will not make the decision for you but it will certainly help you with it. For example, if you are 20 feet off the green and do not have a hazard in front of you (bunker) and the pin is another 20 to 90 feet away, you should use a non-lever shot like a chip shot in order to roll the ball to the hole. If on the other hand you are 20 feet off the green and you do have an obstacle in front of you (big hill/bunker) you most likely will have to use a lever action like a pitch in order to gain some loft and distance. PGA Tour stars such as Brett Wetterich work hard on their chipping techniques. The time to use the wrists versus the time not to use them is not etched in stone but the percentages in golf quietly say the more you can roll the ball to the hole as opposed to flying the ball to the hole, the better the results. During a round at least half of my golf shots are non-lever shots like putting, chipping, and the big chip. Full swing, sand, and pitching (all lever action) make up the other half. So before you hit that short game shot observe what the course is giving you, lean toward the non-lever shot if possible, decide what shot to hit then execute! If you need assistance on when or how to hit these short game shots check with your local PGA Golf Professional. Good luck with this and I'll see you on the course!


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