Bust Bad Habits!

Lose bad habits and start shooting lower scores right now!

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Unless your name is Phil Mickelson or Rory McIlroy, the "hinge and hold" style of chipping is probably doing you more harm than good. The technique is simple. You hinge the wrists on the backswing and hold that hinge through the chip. It sounds easy, and I see a lot of amateurs doing it. But it's actually one of the most difficult ways to successfully chip.

When you "hinge and hold," you basically eliminate the bounce of the wedge. Your margin for error shrinks considerably, and unless you hit the ball first at the perfect angle like Mickelson and McIlroy, you're going to hit a lot of fat chip shots.

To cure this bad habit, let the hands release more! The more the hands release, the more your club's bounce will
help prevent you from hitting it fat. The key is to trust that the bounce will do its job. So practice swinging the club with one hand at a time, and be sure to let those wrists hinge and unhinge. It's probably going to feel a little like you're using a lot of wrist at first, but trust me, you're not. As you practice, you'll soon see that when you chip with more release in the hands, your chips not only travel higher, but they spin more, too.


If you're struggling with your lag putting, odds are, you aren't doing enough due diligence before you stroke your putt. Ask yourself, when was the last time you looked at a lengthy putt from more angles than just one? 

Look, I'm no advocate for slow play, but if there are a few seconds where it's okay to take a little extra time, use it before a long putt. Inspect the hole from two sides of the hole, the high point on the green, even from the hole (not pictured). The more you get a look at the green, the more likely you'll avoid any unknown subtleties in breaks and slope.

Once you have a good look, be confident in your assessment, and make a good solid stroke and try to make it! Good lag putting doesn't mean not trying to make the putt. It means making sure your missed putts aren't far from the hole.


Confidence is probably the most important element of good short putting. If you're hesitant over the ball and through the stroke, you're going to miss far more putts than you make.

For instance, the top photo shows a very unconfident position, where my entire head and upper body have turned toward the hole in an attempt to see and guide the ball in. Of course, I missed the putt, too.

In the lower photo, I'm much steadier, and my head and upper-body position are rock-solid and stay the same through the stroke. Really, the only major difference here from my address position is that my left shoulder is higher than my right, meaning I've made a steady stroke using my shoulders and not my hands. I also didn't lift my upper body up in any attempt to will the ball into the hole.

To get better with your short putts, turn to this issue's Short Game article by Susie Corona. She nailed it when she said it's best to hold your "Y" and make a confident, accelerating stroke. Do that, and you'll start making a lot more short putts.

Excessive twisting of the body and head will ruin your putting stroke.
Stay steady and rock the shoulders. You'll dial more short putts.


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