Tips for Improving Your Short Game in Golf
In life, those who make the most noise get a lot of attention– for a short amount of time. Those who focus on the little things achieve long lasting success. Golf is the same way. Those who can rip the ball 300 yards get all the attention at the driving range. Those who have mastered the short game win all the tournaments. Use these Mercedes-Benz of Princeton tips for improving your short game and let the steroid-popping star of the tee-box enjoy his 15 minutes of fame while you embarrass him by 13 strokes on the green.
Chipping, Pitching and Sand Play
You crushed the drive, but your approach shot landed just short. In the same situation last week, you rocketed the ball over the green… twice, landed in a bunker, failed three times to get it out of the bunker and eventually launched your club into the woods.
- Practice the short game. This is obvious, but unfortunately not obvious enough for you to actually do it. When’s the last time you practiced pitching or chipping? How much time do you spend at the driving range compared to the chipping greens? You need to practice the short game if you’re serious about getting better.
- Be successful in the sand. Consistent sand play begins with correct setup, proper technique and correct point of entry. When hitting the ball out of the sand, remember your goal is to move the ball forward. As you swing, keep your weight balanced. The back swing should go as high as possible and your club face should be open as you hit just behind the ball. You don’t want to make direct contact with the ball.
- Chip your way to a lower score. Make sure when you chip that you lead with your hands and not the club face. Too often that perfect chip scoots across the green as you look on in humiliation. Positioning the ball far back in your stance almost ensures leading with your hands.
- Make the successful pitch. A pitch shot is similar to a chip, only longer. The pitch requires more loft and more distance, which means more of a back swing and body turn on the downswing. When you line up a pitch, your feet should be about shoulder width apart with the ball in the middle.
Nothing angers a golfer more than reaching a Par 5 in three and four-putting for a double-bogey. Don’t let this happen again.
- Practice putting straight. Make sure your putter has a distinct mark to help you line up the ball. Find a straight putting surface and mark it with a chalk line. Line your putter up with the chalk line until you can master the straight putt from several distances.
- Make sure your grip is soft and consistent. A soft grip helps you sense contact. A tight grip makes your hands “blind.” Speeding up the stroke as you move the putter leads to jabs, three-putts and repairing divot holes after you slam the putter head into the fringe.
- Crush the rebellion of your hands. Your hands must not act independently of your shoulders and arms. Once the putter face is lined up, keep it lined up.