Short Game Prowess

Knock it stiff more often

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When you think
about it, short shots don't get the attention they deserve. Much has been said about hitting long drives, even making crucial four-footers. But what about the shots in between shots? The short game is arguably the easiest place on the course to save strokes and shoot lower scores. It's also a great place to waste strokes, if you aren't doing things properly.

Let's take a look at some of my favorite shots from around the green to help increase your prowess from 50 yards and in. Keep in mind that the short shots are what you should probably spend most of your practice time on (we can argue whether putting requires more/less time later), and learning to be creative is key to getting up and down.

THE BASIC CHIP SHOT


You'd be surprised how many students don't know the proper mechanics for the basic chip shot. It's not the most complicated shot in the book, but it's probably one of the most overlooked.

To hit a good chip shot, I encourage all my students to play the ball off the right instep and stack their left arm over their left leg. This will naturally position your weight predominantly on your left side, and also level out your shoulders a little more.

When it comes to the stroke, I actually don't think there's one right way to get the job done. Some are better at chipping using a body-driven stroke and quiet hands, while others are better at a more handsy motion. The key, no matter what stroke you employ, is where you are at impact. As you can see here, my impact position (third photo above) is relatively close to what I looked like at setup (even though the photo caught me slightly postimpact). With a full swing, mimicking your setup isn't such a good idea, but with short shots, it can be really useful.

Another tip I like to give my students is to keep the left hand flat through the stroke, especially at impact. Try it yourself and keep the back of your left hand flat and firm through the stroke. See if it helps with your impact while chipping. If you tend to collapse the left hand during your chips, you'll have a hard time staying consistent and hitting solid chips. But with a flat left hand, you're consistency will improve almost immediately.



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