Shot – How To Hit From Hard Pan

By | on April 25, 2016 | 42 Comments |


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Paul Wilson is the creator of Swing Machine Golf and founder of Ignition Golf. Paul's golf swing technique is based on the Iron Byron swing machine. YouTube Channels: Paul Wilson Golf and Ignition Golf Tips. Please Join me on Google+

42 Responses to “Shot – How To Hit From Hard Pan”

  1. shorten it up please norm

    • There was no way to shorten it. I was giving you a lesson on how to hit a shot not a quick tip. 15 mnin. to learn one of the hardest shots in golf. Seems like a good deal to me.

  2. Paul,

    Can you use the technique for longer shots like 125- 150 yds?


    • Yes, you can use this technique for longer shots. When you do make sure your stance is a little wider and do a loner backswing.

  3. June 13, 2012


    on longer shots , with this technique are arms as powerless as in reg shots, we use the normal lower body move.

    • On longer shots you are taking a longer backswing. On the way down you are going to feel arms. This is because the weight is on your left side. Plus, you are going to be holding the angle in the wrists to stop it from re-hinging. So pick it up going back. Holding the angle coming down. The hips will move along but you are not really thinking about them.

  4. July 20, 2012


    on longer shots is tendency to fade ball some as in fairway bunker shots,since more arms involved.

    • Yes, you will fade these longer shots due to hitting with the arms and the head still. You need to compensate for this shot be re-aligning your body.

  5. October 5, 2012


    Hi Paul. You indicated you can use any club from a sand wedge to a nine iron for these hard pan/tight lie shots. Would the bounce of the sand wedge have to be considered in these shots to prevent the club from bouncing into the ball, if you hit slightly behind the ball? For some reason, I’ve always thought the sand wedge was a poor choice for hard lies because of the bounce. I’m sure some article in Golf Digest or some other publication is the source of my confusion.

    Thanks for any clarification, Ron

    • October 5, 2012

      Paul Wilson

      Ron, This will not happen because hitting knockdown shots from hard pan has your hands well ahead of the ball. When you move your hands ahead the back of the club comes off the ground allowing the leading edge to sole itself. To see it hold you club in the air so you can see the clubhead. Then tilt the grip ahead of the face. When you do you will see this will allow for perfect contact with a descending blow (if everything else is correct).

  6. October 16, 2012



    Great tip..!

    As you mentioned, this hard pan execution has similar attributes to your chipping technique. Also similarities with the knock-down and punch shots…. Perhaps I missed something, but you mention “picking the club up” and hitting down on the ball. (wanting to encourage hitting the ball first…) I’m trying to make sure you’re still promoting powerless arms when faced with these conditions? Are you also advocating powerless arms to your pitching technique?

    It’s been tough grasping the powerless arms approach, so if I need to turn them back on, please advise.


    • October 17, 2012

      Paul Wilson


      For this shot you are picking it up which means you will be feeling arms. I like the picking up feeling so I feel the club will be descending coming down. So you can use arms on this shot.

      Pitching – the arms are powerless.

      When you are working on swing positions you will feel your arms. When you are hitting full shots and playing you are keeping the arms powerless which means you are not trying to hit or help the shot in any way with your arms.

  7. Hi Paul. This is good tip for hitting irons from a hard pan lie. I winter/golf in Arizona and found myself too frequently on hard pan like sand/desert especially on par 5’s. How do you swing a fairwood off such a lie.

    Thanks again. Gerry

  8. Sorry I am so late on this, but I cannot view this video at more than 7 seconds before it freezes for 7 seconds and then replays for 7, freezes for 7 ect… First time I have had any problems.

    Anyway, I notice on these hard pan shots you do not bend at the knees and grip down as you do with regular pitching. I assume this is because you tend to be further out than the air-to-roll ratios of pitch shots. Just want to make sure my understanding is correct.


    • Randy,

      I am not talking about this video. I know some of the old ones without the thumbnail are jittery that is why I am trying to find a service that works better. We will be switching all videos shortly to the new service so they all run great.

      I am not bending etc. because this is more like a real golf shot. I am farther from the green and I have to hit it kind of hard to get it there. The adjustments are in the grip and setup. Then picking it up going back so it will hit down. The ratios do not apply here. You are trying get it on the green if you have enough green to work with or you are trying to 1 hop it on the green if the pin is cut close.

  9. December 7, 2013


    Hi Paul

    This is an old tip that I came back to and I hope you receive this message. For this shot I use, systematically, my 8 iron, with great results. In fact I always use it when I am close to the green as I find it more dependable than a shot that flies high and the backspin stops it. The problem is when beyond the hardpan there is an obstacle like a bunker and the hole is short sided. Should I simply take my medicine and to the same thing with a high lofted club?


    • December 8, 2013

      Paul Wilson


      If the pin is cut close with a bunker in front you may have to play this shot to the back of the green or even off to one side then chip on. So there are certain situations where this shot may not work. If so, you are going to have to decide whether or not to pitch or play it another way.

  10. Hey Paul,

    Question about this tip, and how it may apply to similar situation:

    Coming out of winter here in Minnesota, we have tons of dormant grass. Also, the ground is very wet and soggy from all of the melting snow and spring rainfall. So, basically a lot of very tight, spongy lies. On shots from the distance where I would use your pitching technique, in these conditions, I often end up with results the same as you describe in this tip; blading it over the back of the green, or hitting it fat and having it travel half the distance. Would the technique in this tip also help in these conditions I’m describing? I’m inclined to think it would. I think making ball-first contact in these conditions would also be very important, to give myself half a chance. The margin for error is so small that anything I could do to help ensure solid contact would seem to be beneficial.


    • Mike,

      You can certainly hit knock down shots from these conditions. Just make sure you have enough green to work with. With the wet conditions the ball will not check up for you. So if the pin is cut tight you will be long.

      For normal pitch shots just make sure you get the weight off the back foot in the downswing. Then you will not hit it fat. Keep the arms turned off and HINGE/TURN with the arms turned off. Then you won’t hit them thin. HINGE/TURN.

  11. Fantastically interesting lesson and video you show here, Paul!
    It’s seldom or never a Golf Teacher shows you how to play this very tricky shot .
    On the course I play here at CANNES (CANNES MANDELIEU golf course ,founded in 1874),it’s bordered by very very old “parasol”pine trees ,planted at the time of NAPOLEON THE THIRD (Circus 1850)!
    When you hit in these tree ,the ball stays there until the next storm!
    However the prorblem is getting out from the pine needles below :is the technique to utilize the same as from hard pan ?
    Moreover ,you have to hit it low ,to escape the overhanging tree limbs !
    I play the punch shot with the closed 6 iron you showed us recently .

    • August 15, 2014

      Paul Wilson


      Depending on the lie, how stable your footing is, overhanging branches etc. would determine whether or not to hit this shot from pine needles. The beauty about this shot is that you can put the worst swing in the world on it and still make pretty good contact. If you are not hitting this shot and your feet twist, you look up or something else the shot could be really bad. I really don’t like to take too many chances in bad situations. I used to try for miracle shots all the time only to be rarely successful. It is a great feeling when you are but those times are few and far between. Now, I get it out the best and easiest way I can. Get it back in play and keep high numbers off the card. It is a great feeling when your worst hole is a bogey and you rarely have high numbers. This makes you confident.

  12. Paul,On some courses ,the roads are part OF the course and you have to play where the ball lies ,with nĂ´ relief allowed .
    The Road can be dirt or embedded with stones .
    Would you play this shot in such a situation ?

    • Raymond,

      There would most likely be a local rule for this if not a free drop but sometimes the lie on the road is a better option than where you would drop from. So yes, I would probably hit the knock down shot to make sure I at least make contact with the ball. One false move with your hands in normal position and you will hit a terrible shot. This goes for bad lies too example: divot mark etc.

  13. April 25, 2016


    GREETINGS COACH Just before you take the putter back what are you thinking about? The reason I ask,for about six years I have been putting while looking at the hole,and had good results, This year I have lost the feel,leaving many putts short.I like looking at the hole as a target but will, reluctantly, go back to the traditional look. THANKS COACH

    • April 27, 2016

      Paul Wilson


      I am thinking I have a ball in my right palm. I am going to take it back and throw it to the target. You can look at the hole if you want. This is in line with what I teach as you are still target oriented. Now look at the whole and imagine you have a ball in your back hand and you are going to throw it to the target you are looking at. Should work even better.

  14. April 26, 2016


    Paul, great instruction as always just thought I’d mention that this technique works for hitting very low escape shots from under tree canopy’s. I use a 4 iron and swing easy, the ball stays low and runs like crazy. Fun shot to practice.

    • April 27, 2016

      Paul Wilson


      Glad you liked it.

      It sure does work when you need to keep it low. I use it all the time.

  15. I looked again at this video lesson with great pleasure ;
    Nothing is missing in this perfect demonstration .
    Apart from the technique involved ,it ‘s mostly a question of confidence that you shall succeed .
    I play this shotfrom hardpan even with low lofted hybrids,or aclosed face 5 or 6 iron .

    • April 27, 2016

      Paul Wilson


      Yes, confidence is vital but once you get it you will never stop hitting this shot.

  16. April 28, 2016


    thanks Paul, Great tip!

    Is the technique different for hitting and chipping off of pine needles. Have you done any tips on hitting from fairway hardpan with a fairway wood. As always, your instruction is very useful and much appreciated.


  17. May 11, 2016


    This is a fantastic shot. Here in Tucson, at this time of year, 20-30 yards out from greens are generally hard pan. I will be practicing this often to help me with this shot. I really like the fact that the confidence factor of the shot prevents the propensity to look at it before it’s actually done!! Awesome coaching. Thanks

    • Bruce,

      Yes, you need this shot. I use this around 4 times per round. With this shot you at least make contact with the ball. This means that even bad shots still turn out okay. Takes a while to get it but it’s worth it.

  18. December 17, 2016


    Hi Paul,

    How would you play a lob shot from hard pan?


    • Avatar photo

      December 18, 2016

      Paul Wilson


      You don’t. If you did the club would not get under the ball because as you open the face the leading edge is off if the ground. If the ground is really hard it will bounce off of the ground.

      Instead of flopping it you need to knock it down. This may mean that at time you will have to bounce it on the green but this is a much better option then sculling it over the green. I did a tip on it here:

      Shot: How To Hit From Hard Pan:

  19. April 29, 2018


    Paul, your “Hard pan shot” has been a savior for me. Our fairways are “bent grass”, thus, all lies are “tight” outside of the rough. 12 degree bounce Vokey 56 degree sand wedge is tough to pitch with under these tight conditions, however, your “Hard Pan” shot is totally fool-proof!! Thanks once again for removing another, greatly important, flaw from my game.

    • Avatar photo

      April 30, 2018

      Paul Wilson


      I use this shot all of the time from normal lies. I don’t practice so it comes in handy as it always hit the ball first. Glad you liked it. Thanks.

  20. April 30, 2018


    Can I use this shot out of some of our bunkers, the ones with little to no sand, almost like hitting off of concrete, great tip thanks Paul…

  21. December 4, 2018


    Hi Paul,
    This is a very useful tip, in Australia we get very hot dry summers and I find myself resorting to this shot well over 10 shots every round. Given it is so much part of so many players game I would love it if you could do a couple more tips on this part of the game. You have covered the full swing shot is enormous detail covering every aspect of the back and through but only have one tip on this important shot. I would love some more detail about the wrist usage, the twist of the body, head movement etc. when doing this shot.
    Thanks, Andrew

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