What does Phil Mickelson mean by a Pelz 9-iron (or any iron)?

What does Phil Mickelson mean by a Pelz 9-iron (or any iron)?

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If you've heard Phil Mickelson and caddie Jim Mackay have conversations during a golf tournament -- and there's no doubt you have -- then you may have heard the highly successful duo talk about hitting a Pelz 8-iron or a Pelz 9-iron. And you've probably wondered what they mean by that.

Decoding what that means is pretty simple. Pelz stands for Dave Pelz, who has been Mickelson's long-time short-game coach. And the number is the number of the iron or golf club in question. The club part is easy; that's what he's swinging. But Dave Pelz had to explain what he taught to Mickelson that came to be understood as a Pelz shot.

As he told Golf.com in 2014, the Pelz shot is something he taught Mickelson in the winter of 2003-04. Mickelson takes the club back until his right arm (as a lefty) is parallel to the ground, or 3 o'clock on an imaginary clock for a lefty (9 o'clock for a righty) and then swings through at a normal pace.

It's a shot that goes less distance than the standard-issue iron but also has less spin. Mickelson can use this shot to keep a ball under the wind and skip into a hole location with a reliable understanding of how far the ball will fly.


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