Skip it like a pro

By • Category: Features, Miscellaneous

A fellow GT’er emailed me a while back asking for tips on how to skip the ball across the water, and I figured this would be a good opportunity to break down the variables that determine whether or not you’ll safely skip across or see your ball sink to the bottom!  Golden Tee has done an amazing job taking into account all the factors that determine whether or not your ball will skip, and most of them would apply to skipping a rock across water as well.

Loft of club:
Lower lofted clubs are much more likely to skip than higher lofted clubs.  In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever attempted to skip across water with a club other than driver, although I know a 0-hybrid would work, and anything up to a 2-iron may work as well.  I’m not sure about a 3-wood — does anyone know if it would skip?  I’d be scared to try it.  So, if you need to skip a shot but the distance calls for something less than a driver, stick with the driver but take some distance off of it.  Be careful though because of the next variable…

Velocity of shot:
How hard you hit the shot definitely has an impact on whether or not the shot will skip.  You can’t hit a little half-speed punch shot and expect it to skip, but you can get away with taking a little bit off the shot.  Full power shots are sure to skip, but a skip will also work if you need to take a little off the shot.  That is, so long as you maintain the next variable…

Angle of shot:
You really need to maximize the angle of the shot to ensure the success of the skip.  Normal A1 and C3 shots won’t always work, so you’ll want to create as much angle as you can while also ensuring your shot will be accurate as it can be.  A 3/4 speed A1 driver will skip even if you thumb it out to A, so long as you’ve pulled back to the left of 1 as far as you can register.  Remember that you can pull back left of A and shoot forward left of 1 — there’s more angle there for you to take advantage of, and it’s especially important on skip shots.  When lining up your shot, think about the next variable…

Spin:
I think that spin helps a ball skip as well, whether it be roll or backspin.  Spin helps create skip when it contacts the water, so I always try to apply roll or backspin when planning a skip.  I don’t believe that a skip shot would fail without spin, but honestly I haven’t tried yet — have any of you?  Anyway, picture where your ball will end up when it hits land after the skip, and apply the type of spin that best helps you towards your target.  Now, consider this often overlooked variable…

Wind:
Wind is important and can kill your chances at a successful skip.  If the wind is blowing in the direction of your angled shot, then you’re good to go.  If it’s blowing against you, though, you may want to second-guess that shot.  A wind in the face of your shot will straighten out the shot, decreasing the angle of the shot which is so important to the success of the skip.  Wind doesn’t matter as much on shorter shots, but the longer the ball is in the air, the more time the wind has to straighten it out.  That brings us to the final variable…

Distance:
Distance comes into play most often in combination with wind and loft.  Shorter shots with a driver, for example, don’t get as high off the ground.  So, as long as you have enough angle behind it, the ball stays low enough to skip successfully.  Longer shots that are lacking angle, however, do have a greater chance for failure, especially if wind is involved.  You could see your buddy skip a long drive across to the fairway, but when you try it, you plop in the water and wonder why.  Well, you probably didn’t create as much angle on that long shot as he did, and when you combine that with the distance he gained by hitting a fuller A1 or C3 shot, then you start to understand why you came up short.

You also need to have a good idea of where your ball will be making contact with the water.  You can’t skip it twice, so you need to make sure that your ball will touch land after it skips.  A skip followed by a plop isn’t good for anything!

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is a Golden Tee addict from Chicago, IL, thirsty for tips and tricks!
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3 Responses »

  1. A 3-iron can skip too.

  2. i think a 3 wood downwind a1 or x3 can work too.

  3. sorry-meant c3

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