Mastering your short game is the single best way to improve your scores.
Getting your golf balls from the tee box to the green takes all sorts of shots, but it’s your short game that will make the difference every time.
Keeping your grip and hands soft which is incredibly important, having the right tempo and the right shot and club selection are all factors, and today we are going to look at some of the things you can do to improve your short game and give you more consistency around the greens.
Soften Your Hands for Better Chip Shots
A common mistake we see with golfers and their short game is their grip. This is especially important when it comes to chipping. Having too tight a grip will cause all sorts of issues with your short game.
When chipping make sure to keep the grip soft and your hands light around the club. If we were to put this into a scale you should be aiming for about a 5 out of 10, with 10 being the softest.
By loosening your grip you avoid tension in your wrists and up your arms. This helps clubhead control and feel as you swing through the ball. Of course, the rest of your stance including a straight back and your chin high also need to be right.
Chipping Stance and Positioning
Another great tip for your short game – especially chipping, is to narrow your stance, move down the club shaft slightly and move your upper body weight slightly forward towards your target.
One of the things you really want to avoid is trying to lift the ball by leaning back on the swing as you will top the ball. By positioning yourself this way and even lifting your heel off the ground slightly you get much greater control over your stroke, and golf ball and turf contact, through the swing.
Speed Control is Crucial
When it comes to a chip shot the speed of your club is everything. Off the tee, you want all the speed and power you have for distance but with your short game, too much speed will cause problems. When chipping you need to control distance.
Slow your swing down and maybe even pause for a second at the top of your backswing before you start your rotation into the forward swing. A slower swing for your basic chip shot, once you get used to it helps you perfect distance control. We see a lot of amateur golfers suffer from this but once they get their swing speed right and weight forward they start to make solid contact with the golf ball and their score improves.
Mastering the pitch shot is something you can spend ages on. When it comes to your short game pitch shots can make or break a good round of golf.
A good pitch is all about your setup. Close your stance slightly, straight left arm, and let your wrist hinge on the backswing. This will keep the club close to your body. Make sure to let your body rotate smoothly during the swing.
To get the ball as close to the hole as possible with a pitch shot you need to let it bounce up to the hole.
You can factor in a small bit of safety with your pitch shots by playing a pitch and run – or bump and run.
This is a great shot to play if there are no hazards between you and the pin.
By using this type of shot you remove any of the danger of playing a lob wedge or high ball into the green.
An average pitch and run will get you a lot closer to the hole than an average lob or flop shot.
If your ball lands short on a pitch and run it will move towards the hole.
If it lands short on flop shots it stays where it is.
Power and Control
You can take control and keep the ball in play by adjusting these three aspects of a golf swing:
- Width: The width of your stance and body forward weight positioning has an impact on control and gives you a better feel for the short shots.
- Grip: Shortening the grip by moving your hands down the shaft helps club control and distance
- Length: Reducing the length of your swing gives you a better feel and control of short shots.
As you move from one end to the other on this sliding scale it will have an effect on power vs. distance as well as accuracy (which is ideal for those pesky greens).
There are hundreds of chipping and pitching tips but which one you hit comes down to what you are most comfortable with on the day and the one that gets your golf ball closest to the target.
Practice makes perfect and with a bit of focus, you will improve your short game in no time at all.
If you would like to talk to Damien and perhaps book a lesson to fine-tune your chipping and pitching then drop into the Pro Shop to book one or contact us here.