Brian Harman - Pitch Shot Over Trouble

Brian Harman discusses his thought process for hitting a pitch shot over trouble. There are times he will be aggressive, but most of the time he will hit a shot that the conditions allow, such as lie and grain on the green.


OK. Brian, quite clearly this creates stress right here--


For every golfer. This could be, in your case, this could be where you'd be in two on a par five or you've hit a very poor iron shot or something like that. But we try to keep away from situations like this on purpose. I mean, tour players in general, even-- I know you're probably great at this shot but the point is we don't try to get here.


But when we do, how do you tell us that we've got to get over that sand. We've got a pin that's cut close. Talk to me about that.

Well, the first thing I would do is I will look-- I'll go up, you know, you'll see me walk up about half way and I'll look at the green. And I'll try to find--

See what's possible.

I want to see a part of the green that will hold the shot that I want to play.


Right? So if I find a little piece that's into the green or if I find a hill, or anything, that'll stop the shot, best way to get it close--

So you're looking for some help.

I'm looking for help. I'm looking for help. And then obviously, the lie--

What if there's no help?

Then-- then--

It's harder.

You take your medicine. You've got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em. I mean--

OK. Fair enough.

And that's part of golf. I mean, that's--

You bet.

You can't-- that's something you can't always teach that.

You have to make an evaluation. It's like getting a set of cards in Vegas. What are you going to gamble on here?

Yeah. What are you going to do? What are you going to do? Is it-- it depends on the time in the tournament. It depends on what the situation is. If I'm one shot back and I've got a terrible [INAUDIBLE], and I gotta flop it over a bunker, well, guess what I'm doing. You know?

Playing safe over to the right maybe. Or--

If I'm one back, no.

Oh, I'm sorry. One back. I thought you said one ahead. I'm sorry. I'm sorry.

Once again though, once I'm actually into trying to make this shot, I like to control things with the way I set up. Right? I don't want to-- I don't want to have to manipulate anything. So if I want this ball to go high, I'm going to start with a face more open than square. So it's open. And then I take my grip. OK?


So I don't take my grip and then open it. I start with it open and then I take my grip. So now, I don't have to manipulate anything. Right? That creates a slightly higher ball flight.

You're just playing with 70 degrees instead of 60 or whatever.

There you go. And I'm going to let the club do the work. I'm not lifting. I'm not-- I'm not-- I'm not anything. And it's the same-- you know, I practice the shot, just like I did one handed. I'm trying to feel an uninterrupted swing that creates the distance that I want. So when I take practice swings I'll look at it here. I'll have an idea of how I want to do it. So I want to land it-- I think it goes just a little right up there. So I want to land it just left of that flag.

You're not even worried about this bunker. Right?

No. I'm not thinking--

You're thinking right now in your head what it's going to do when it lands up there perfect.

Yeah. Well, bunker-- your bunker can't be there. It can't be there.

It can't be there.

If it's there--

You've got to grass it over.

If you think you're going to hit it in it, you're probably going to hit it in.

Probably in it.

It just-- it can't be there.

So let's talk about that for just a second. You just did. But what do you do? You said you grass it over. You said it's not there.

Well, let me ask you this. What do you think is more productive? Do you think it's more productive to think about how I'm going to make this shot or how I'm going to get it over the bunker?

I already know the answer. But I'm trying to ask a stupid question for the amateur, which is that's bothering me.

Yeah. Well it's-- you just--

Bothers you too.

You have to make a choice. You have a choice. I choose to think about what's the best way to get this shot close to the hole.


Not the best way to get it over this bunker. And that's a cognitive choice that I make.

And you have a club that's built to go up.

Yes. And at some point, I mean, you gotta fish or cut bait. I mean, the bunker just can't be there.

Can't be there.

It can't be there. You have to-- and part of that's practice. You know, I practice this shot all the time. I practice these situations all the time. And so when I get into a tournament or into somewhere that matters, I'm able to perform that. Because by practicing I eliminate this bunker.


It's gone.