Scoring well during a round depends on two things: keeping the ball in play and playing well from 100 yards in. Playing well from short yardage is critical. About two-thirds of the shots you take during a round are from 100 yards and in, so if you don’t play well from short yardage you won’t break 90 or 80. Your short game also has a major impact on your golf handicap over the course of a season. Play well from 100 yards in during the season and you’ll lower your golf handicap a couple of strokes.
Having a great short game is also a key to being a complete player. In fact, you can’t be one without a good short game. If you’re short game isn’t what it should be, you can im-prove it by mastering these four fundamentals: learn the correct set-up position for each shot, create a clear picture of the shot in your mind, choose a specific landing area for the shot, and focus on your finish to promote feel and acceleration. Below are golf tips we recommend to players in our golf lessons to help them master key short game fundamen-tals.
We cover this shot thoroughly with players in our golf instruction sessions. It’s that important. The key with chip shots is to set-up in a pre-set impact position so all you have to do is let your hips turn to bring the club back to impact. Also, play the ball back in your stance, open your hips slightly, create one line with your left arm and the club, and shift more weight to your front side. And take a few practice swings to make sure you’re scuffing the grass ahead of the ball.
This is another shot you want to keep simple. So set up as if you were going to hit a chip, and then set your hands in a pre-impact position. Now just turn your hips. That’s it. Other golf tips are play the ball off your nose, open the clubface slightly, and create one line with your left arm and the club. Also, keep your wrists relaxed during the shot, focus on swinging through the ball, and accelerate through impact. You want to hit down on the ball and create spin. Taking a few practice swings with your eyes on the target is also a good practice.
You need more height than spin on this shot. The key is to set up correctly and to bend your left wrist so your hands are low. This position allows you to use the club’s full bounce. Keep the hands more in line with the clubhead, aim slightly left of target, and swing the club on a more vertical plane with an open clubface. At impact, the hands should be ahead of the ball so the clubface stays open and can slide under the ball. Take a good aggressive swing. That’s something we remind players about in golf lessons all the time. The more aggressive you are, the higher the ball flies. Also, the deeper the lie, the harder you have to swing. Finish with your chest facing the target.
No one likes bunker shots. But you can master them with practice. The key is to open the clubface to create bounce first, and then set your hands and club in a pre-set impact posi-tion. Make sure your hands lead the club when you hit the sand. Turn your trunk in the backswing to keep your arms in front of your chest, which lets you hinge on plane. Other tips are play the ball forward, about 2 inches from the center, open the clubface slightly to capitalize on the club’s bounce, and aim about a club length left of your target. Bunker shots fly about one-third of normal shots, so plan accordingly.
You must master the fundamentals of the short game to become a complete player. The golf tips discussed above, gleaned from our golf lessons and group golf instruction ses-sions, will help you master the fundamentals. Keep things as simple as possible, so they’re easily repeatable, and be aggressive. Learn to trust your fundamentals once you’ve mastered them and you’ll find yourself breaking 90 or 80 and chopping strokes off your golf handicap.