How To Skim A Golf Ball Over Water

It's a shot we see attempted in the run-up to the Masters and here's how to play it...

How To Skim A Golf Ball Over Water
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It’s one of the many traditions at Augusta National in the lead-up to the Masters. During a practice round, players will often entertain the galleries by attempting to find the green at the par-3 16th by the less conventional route of skimming the ball across the water. As if the game wasn’t hard enough.

But such is their prowess with a club in hand, there have been a few instances where a hole-in-one has been made using this method. In 2020, Jon Rahm added his name to that roll of honour, albeit there were no fans present to share in the joy.

While you’re not likely to be in that exact scenario at Augusta National anytime soon, it’s a handy shot to have in your repertoire. Not only is this flatter trajectory perfect for windy conditions but learning to hit it can improve your impact position, as it's teaching you how to compress the golf ball. So, how do you do it?

A lot of it comes down to set-up. With a mid-iron, take your address with the ball roughly in the middle – or even slightly back of middle – of your stance. From there, you want to position your hands ahead of the ball and feel like the pressure is more on your lead foot, all the while keeping your sternum fairly centred.

When you swing back, fight the temptation to shift your weight onto your trail side, instead maintaining the conditions you set at address as you rotate to the top. As you start down and approach impact, it’s vital to deliver the club with the hands in front to keep as much of the loft off as possible. Rotate hard through the shot so as to shallow out the strike and straighten the flight, which will naturally want to draw.

In case you missed it, here's Rahm's epic hole-in-one during a practice round for the 2020 Masters:

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Unless you're used to playing this type of shot, it'll likely take a few attempts to figure out, but persevere as it could have a hugely positive impact on your game.

Andrew Wright
Freelance News Writer

A lifelong golf fan, Andy graduated in 2019 with a degree in Sports Journalism and got his first role in the industry as the Instruction Editor for National Club Golfer. From there, he decided to go freelance and now covers a variety of topics for Golf Monthly. 

Andy took up the game at the age of seven and even harboured ambitions of a career in the professional ranks for a spell. That didn’t pan out, but he still enjoys his weekend golf at Royal Troon and holds a scratch handicap. As a side note, he's made five holes-in-one and could quite possibly be Retief Goosen’s biggest fan.

As well as the above, some of Andy's work has featured on websites such as,, and

What's in Andy's bag?

Driver: Callaway Mavrik Sub-Zero (9°)

3-wood: TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus (15°)

Driving iron: Titleist U500 (17°)

Irons: Mizuno mp32 (4-PW)

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM9 (50°, 54° and 58°)

Putter: Titleist Scotty Cameron Newport 2.5

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x