Beginner Golf Tips: Short Game Errors

By: Savannah Durbin

The short game can be the most tedious part of golf. It requires the greatest amount of accuracy and precision. The drive can be a good hit as long as it lands a decent distance anywhere on the fairway. On the other hand, a chip is only good if it lands within a five foot radius of the pin. A putt is usually only good if it goes in the hole, or on a far putt, stops within a one foot radius of the pin. Gain more precision on your short game by avoiding these common mistakes made by beginner golfers:

1.)The bunker: hitting the ball; not the sand

The shot out of the bunker is different than any other shot on the golf course. With every other shot, the club should strike the ball. Many beginners attempt to hit the ball out of the sand the way that the ball would be hit from the fairway. This is wrong. To hit the ball out of the sand, the club head should hit the sand behind the ball, and continue to pass through the sand, under the ball. In this shot, the club displaces the sand, which forces the ball to fly out.

2.)Chipping: wrists behind club face at contact

Many beginner golfers have the tendency to make contact with the ball with their wrists behind the clubface, in an attempt to "scoop" the ball, and help it into the air. In a correct chip, the wrists should be cocked on the downswing. They should travel ahead of the clubface. At contact, the hands should be ahead of the clubface. The club should strike down on the ball, hitting the ball first, and then the ground.

3.)Chipping: not accelerating the club on the downswing

A lot of times golfers will hesitate on the downswing of their chip shots, trying not to send the ball flying past the green. Usually, a deceleration of the clubface on the downswing will cause the ball to be chunked. The ball will fall very short of the green. In order to correctly chip the ball, have confidence in your swing. Remember to accelerate the clubface all the way through impact, and into the follow through.

4.)Putting: breaking the wrists

There are so many variations of putting that it is impossible to say that only one way is right. One common error though, is when golfers "break their wrists" while putting. In this case, instead of the putter making square contact with the ball, the putter strikes the ball at an angle. The ball will not travel where it was aimed. It is therefore crucial to keep your wrists locked while putting.

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