10 Best Tips

(You've Never Heard)

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9. PUTT FROM ABOVE THE HOLE
One of the toughest shots around the green is the chip from above the hole. But, who said you have to chip it?
You don’t! Try putting it instead. You’re going to have to practice to get a feel for how the ball reacts out of the rough or fringe, but even from above the hole, using the “ole Texas wedge” is a high-percentage option for most amateurs to consider. The longer rough will slow the ball down, and even though it’s a downhill putt, the ball still will lose momentum (mainly from the friction of the grass). Just make sure you have a decent lie and some green to work with, and play for plenty of break. In a few tries, you’ll soon wonder why you ever messed with hitting chips and lobs from here in the first place.

10. IT’S OKAY TO LEAVE IT SHORT (Sometimes)
Much has been said about leaving putts short, and how it means the ball had no chance of ever going in. Well, what about putts that wind up a few feet past the hole? They didn’t go in either!

Sometimes, the smart play is to leave the ball short. Situations such as uphill putts or steep breaking putts are better missed on the short side because generally it means you will have an easier, uphill putt left to contend with. Rather, if you ram every putt past the hole, the ball may roll too far from you, leaving either lengthy putts or tough downhillers to make in order to prevent three-putts. A short putt isn’t all bad, especially from long range.


How short is too short? Before I get into trouble advising golfers to leave all their putts short, know this: I’m not saying leave them a few feet short. I’m talking inches, folks.

And, this isn’t true for all putts. Most putts should be hit with the full intention of making it, which means the ball needs enough roll to get to the hole. If you get in a pattern of leaving the ball short too often, instead of becoming a panic-putter and developing the yips, try a different approach.

Work on your chipping. Sharpen up your wedge and iron game. You can become a better putter if you have shorter putts to putt. This is one reason touring professionals are such great putters. They have shorter putts than you do. From long range, they don’t make many more than you do, but thanks to having a sharper iron and short game, they’re much more proficient at the short putts. (I’m willing to bet they practice short putts a whole lot more than amateurs do.) Get out there and practice!

A.J. Bonar is the head teaching professional at the AJ Golf School in Encinitas, Calif. He’s also author of the popular Truth About Golf DVD series, as well as inventor of the Truth Club. For more information, visit ajgolf.com.


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