Golf Short Game Tips

Tips & Instructions to Improve your Short Game

Picture of a person attempting a pitch shot

“On the Green” – Chipping

When starting out at golf, beginners always seem to accumulate lots of strokes when they miss-hit chips around the green. One suggestion I would give is that you take an open stance which will allow you to actually see the hole. Try placing the ball in between your stance with your body-weight shifted more on the left leg, (for right-handed golfers). Now put your hands forward over your left thigh, bend your knees and tilt your upper body and allow your arms to hang naturally. Now make your wrists firm and take the shot with forward press with low, slow and smooth follow though.

“Flamingo Drill”

One of the great golf chipping tips for the golf short game is the “Flamingo Drill”, this is performed by keeping your weight shifted towards your front foot. It is normal to assume your weight is forward, however, when your head is behind the ball, your weight will also remain behind the ball. Keeping your weight on your front foot stops those “fat” or “chilli-dip” shots.

Flamingo Drill can be practiced in your free time. Also practice chipping with you weight pushed onto your front foot with your back foot in the air like a flamingo stands. If you have trouble balancing, place the toe of your back foot on the ground to support you and do not move your eyes around too much as that will affect your balance too. This drill will make you get used to putting your weight to the front during the chips and will also prevent your body from swaying from side to side or back and forth. Allow your arms, shoulders and you grip on the golf club to do the rest of the work.

“Escape from the Sands with the Charlie Chaplin stance”

I have noticed the “Charlie Chaplin” stance is growing in popularity throughout the last year or so. Here’s how to do it: 1. Stand like Charlie Chaplin and place your knees out over your toes. 2 – Stand so the ball is in the middle of your stance. 3 – Line up to the right of the target. 4 – Take away the club outside the target line. Keep your knees sticking out over your toes. This will keep you centred in your swing (no weight shift back). 5 – Start the down swing motion and hit the sand about 1 to 2 inches behind the ball, swing through, allowing the sand to fly out of the bunker on the green. If the sand comes out, the ball will surely follow it. (The sand moves the ball; the club does not strike the ball). 6 – If your knees are kept positioned over your toes and the sand leaves the bunker, so will the golf ball.

“Uneven Lies”

One of the most overlooked problems encountered when hitting a shot from a downhill or uphill lie is to perform golfer’s shoulders positioned along with the ball. A golfer’s shoulders must be correctly adjusted to align with the slope of the hill. When hitting a golf ball from a downhill lie, the golfer must play the shot in the back of his or her stance. When hitting from an uphill lie, the golfer must play the shot while positioned forward in the stance.

If you perform these two adjustments accurately, this will result in noticeably better ball flight. Another great tip for hitting from downhill lies is to open the clubface because it will have a tendency to close upon impact with the golf ball.

When hitting the ball from an uphill lie, use more club to make up for any added loft created by the hill. Obviously you will improve with more practice at these shots! .

20 to 40 Yard Pitch Shot

Most of us panic when faced with the gloom of a 20 yard distance to the hole. We are afraid of overshooting and ending up with the ball in a bunker at the other side of the green. Well I used to be until I found there was hope!

Two main tips for mastering the pitch shot:

Well first you must make sure to hit the ball with the dead centre of the clubface for a consistent loft each time.

One of the biggest errors I see students facing in the swing of a 20-40 yard pitch is fear. The mind is screaming for mercy and hoping for the best. This causes the golfer to poke or jab at the ball instead of doing a clean swing through. In order to make this shot properly you must believe that you CAN perform this shot properly. Practice will make this perfect and you will eliminate you fear with practice too.

Here’s a tip on how to do it.

You must “brush the grass”. If the ball is resting on the ground and needs to meet the centre of the clubface, then you must get the bottom edge of the clubface under the ball. This is the “brushing of the grass”. Notice how easy it is if you are relaxed and not “gripping the devil” out of the club. Go back and forth and back and forth like a metronome. Make sure to practice this a lot too.

Once this is accomplished, the second challenge is to generate the different distances required to get the ball close to the hole.

Don’t cut your finish short. After your shot, pause the follow through position to see where you are. Practice this to ensure a complete follow through each time. Remember, your first goal is to get the ball lofted the same each time. After that, you can start to work on your distance.

Chipping

Did you know that you may chip with any club? Wedge…3-Iron…Even three wood!

The further away the pin, the lower the loft. Get the ball rolling as quickly as you possibly can!

Here’s how:

– Feet about one foot apart
– Weight on the forward foot
– Back knee pointing toward the target, with almost no weight on the back foot.

This will put your hands ahead of the ball. Take the club back with your shoulders. No wrist break, hands lead the clubhead on the downswing. No wrist break. Let the clubhead do the work.

TRY IT! YOU’LL LOVE IT!

Top 10 Wedge Tips

1. Wedges are precision scoring clubs, swing with maximum 70% of effort.2. Keep your arms free, soft and relaxed. Your chest must be turned away from the target during the wedge swing and let your arms flow through the shot. Your shoulders will automatically line up to the target and your arms will follow the shoulder line right on target.

3. When performing greenside bunker shots, open the clubface and imagine throwing sand with your left arm all the way to the pin. The ball will float out, that’s all you have to do. It’s the arm swing only, slow and easy, same tempo back, same tempo through.

4. On wedge shots, use a soft and semi-loose grip and just let the club flow through, do not try to guide it, just let it happen.

5. When shooting from the rough, the deeper the rough the firmer the grip must be. If the rough is 1″ high, play the ball back in the stance 1-2″ from normal position. If the rough is 2″ high, play the ball back 2-3″ from normal. If the rough is 3″ high, play the ball back 3-4″. If more than this, get King Kong as a designated hitter!

6. Align shoulders with the slope in all shots.

7. If the ball is sitting up “play the ball to 1″ back in stance. A ball sitting up increases the loft of the wedge, if sitting up 1″, play the ball back 1”.

8. For tight lies, and/or ball from a divot, play the ball 2-3″ back towards the right foot from normal. This allows a steeper downswing and compresses the ball quicker.

9. The softer your arms are in the wedge swing, the more you’ll “spank” the ball and become a better wedge player.

10. Right foot must be firmly planted on the ground on all shots when playing the wedges. After impact, and only then does the right foot want to come up slightly. The wedge swing is an arm and upper torso swing only. Never ever force the swing. Just let the arms flow softly.

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