Backhanded Complements: “Wrong Side” Shots

Adding “wrong side” shots to your arsenal can salvage a hole.

We’ve all run into situations where hitting the ball from a conventional stance isn’t possible. Sometimes we’re forced to kneel next to a bunker, remove our shoes to hit out of water, or take a swing out of a bush à la Victor Dubuisson at this year’s Accenture. One of the shots golfers need but rarely practice is the backhanded iron shot. If you’re up against a tree, next to a hazard, or just can’t address the ball from your normal side, having these shots in your repertoire can save you—and give you a unique shot to talk about when the round’s over.


A low-risk, quick recovery shot that won’t go all that far, this is a great option if overhanging limbs impede your backswing or if the prospect of a full swing from the wrong side frightens you.

1. Use a lower-lofted iron (4 or 5) so the back of the club won’t knock the ball straight into the ground.
2. Go through your usual setup; just mirror it from the opposite side.
3. Focus on using a smooth shoulder turn to make contact with the ball instead of trying to hit it hard. Improving your position on the course is more important than adding distance.


If you have a clear path and need to advance the ball more than a few feet, this is the shot. Definitely practice it on the range before pulling it out on the course. (scroll down for tips!)

1. Use a higher lofted club such as a 9-iron or PW.
2. Flip the club so the toe makes contact with the ground.
3. Position the ball in the back of your stance.
4. Swing smoothly with your shoulders to maximize contact.

Find more lessons, helpful tips and videos at

Charlie Soule is the manager of operations and lead instructor at Green Valley Ranch Golf Academy in Denver. He placed 5th in the 2013 HealthONE Colorado Open and earned a 2014 CAGGY award for Best Instructor for Men. 303-371-8700;

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