Golf - How To Make Your Short Game Shorter

By: Donald Saunders

As something like three quarters of all golf shots are made within 120 yards of the hole, your short game provides you with the opportunity to improve your score with less effort. One good technique for improving your short game, which is as much mental as physical, is to start from the hole and work backwards. Begin by getting your ball to the hole from just off the green and then move progressively backwards out to a distance of 100 to 120 yards.

The first thing you need to do of course is to select the right club. The more height you want on a shot, the more loft you will need on your club, so simply match the height and distance to our selection of club number. Remember though that on short shots you want the ball to stay out of the air as much as possible.

For short shots position your chest in front of the ball and shift the majority of your weight onto the balls of your feet. For higher shots move your chest farther back, even slightly behind the ball, and put slightly less weight onto the balls of your feet.

In general, power is not an issue in the short game and proper contact with the ball will do more to ensure accuracy and the correct distance than having a forceful swing.

You need to concentrate therefore on getting the club face to connect squarely with the ball at its sweetspot. This is particularly important when using wedges, as the loft on the club can easily result in a hooked or sliced shot. Remember too that, in the short game, the handle of the golf club should always be in front of the face of the club at impact.

Try a few practice chips and pitches with the toe of your rear foot balanced on your front foot. This forces you to put your weight onto your front foot. Now, stand normally and hit a few more practice shots. At first this exercise might seem a little bit silly, but you'll be surprised at how well it helps to prevent you hanging back and lifting the ball into the air.

Remember too that if your head is behind the ball then your weight will also tend to be behind the ball. To prevent those fat chip shots you want to keep your weight to the front. Remember also that keeping the ball on the ground longer will increase your accuracy.

Now try taking a 7 or 8 iron and move your grip an inch or so below the position in which you would normally grip the club. Align your shoulders with the target line and open your stance slightly. Keeping your lower body still and allowing the arms and shoulders to do the work, take the club back about 18 inches and use a putting stroke allowing the club to follow through by about 18 inches after impact.

For a good chip shot you need to lean a little towards the target and make sure that your hands a set slightly ahead of the ball. Also, narrow your stance and flex your knees slightly. Your swing doesn't require a great deal of force and, if you impact the ball squarely on the sweet spot, you will also stop the ball from getting too much height.

With a little bit of practice you'll find that your short game can become very short and, once you've got it as short as possible, the next things to do is to shorten your putting game.

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