It’s all about learning to use the club’s bounce
How do you practice your short game? Most people move from one perfect lie to another and start to find their rhythm after half a dozen or so tries. That’s nice, but how much of your real golf comes in perfect conditions? Even if you’re teeing it up at Augusta National, you’ll run across a variety of less-than-ideal greenside lies. Unless you know how to diagnose the situation and use the club the right way for each shot, you’re going to be hitting and hoping. To make a point here, I tried out four extreme playing surfaces: pavement, my back-yard pool, the artificial turf at Arizona State’s football practice facility and the desert. Each of these represents a common bad lie you face when you play: hardpan, sloppy ground conditions, super-tight grass and an unmaintained waste area. The techniques I’m using here are the same ones you should use on the course. You’ll see they’re mostly changes in the setup and how you use the bounce on the bottom of the club. If you know how to get the club to interact correctly with the ground, then it’s a matter of picking how far behind the ball to hit. You’ll be able to approach even the toughest short-game shots without fear.