Master The Short Game

Get Up and Down From Everywhere

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The fastest way to lower your scores is to hone your game from 100 yards in. Yet few people spend the time practicing this area. It might seem like a drag, but it isn’t. It’s the area where you can let your imagination run wild.

I believe the creativity and imagination you need to score well from around the green starts with golf’s fundamentals: grip, posture, clubface aim and alignment. Take your typical pitch shot. By simply tweaking your setup, your shot’s shape will be altered. This makes it easier to hit shots with different trajectories, spins and velocities. And figuring out those ingredients is vital to getting the ball close or into the cup.

After reading through my 15 tips, practice them in a variety of situations, either at your club’s practice green, at a local par-3 course or during a twilight round when you can hit a couple balls and practice a variety of shots. Hit from awkward stances, good and bad lies and different scenarios like having to spin a low pitch shot so it bites enough to stay on the green. I promise, the time you put in around and on the green will pay dividends.

1. Green Reading. Architects design greens so water can easily drain off them. Otherwise, water will accumulate, stagnate and generate disease. Another reason architects want to move water away from bunkers is that they don’t want them to fill up with puddles. While greens slope away from sand bunkers, they drain into most grass bunkers. Keep both of these design characteristics in mind the next time you play. Even though it might appear that your ball will slope toward sand bunkers, it never will.

A golf cup’s diameter is 4.25 inches. Its size came about by chance when two golfers at St. Andrews inserted a discarded drain pipe into a worn-out hole.

2. Build Your Alignment From The Ground Up.
After you’ve read your putt and determined what line you want to start the ball on, place your feet together and aim them down that line. It’s easier to see your target line from this position. This eventually helps you get your stance square to your target line.

3. Keep Your Hips And Shoulders Parallel.
Whether you’re on the green or in the bunker, your hips and shoulders must be parallel when you address the ball. Research that I’ve done at Dr. Frank Jobe’s Biomechanics Lab at Centinela Hospital in Los Angeles shows that your putter tracks your hip line in the followthrough nearly 90% of the time. If your hips are open or closed, your putter will more than likely mirror that path and travel on either an inside-out or outside-in path. It’s imperative that your hips and shoulders are parallel to your target line; otherwise you’ll pull and push putts all day.


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