Short be­fore long to build con­sis­tency

Seaway News - - AUTO TALK - Mak­ing sound de­ci­sions Drills for the short game

(NC) - The short game or the feel shots around the green and putting tend to be the most dif­fi­cult to re­gain sharp­ness af­ter a long win­ter or lay­off from golf.

I feel that this is the first area to at­tack when you start to prac­tice.

The ad­van­tages of build­ing your game back up from the hole and work­ing back­wards is count­less. The ob­vi­ous high per­cent­ages of shots, some 60 per­cent that are taken within 100 yards dur­ing a round of golf are not the only rea­son. The short game or the less that full shots can help the not only the me­chan­ics but the rhythm and tempo of your full swing.

When I am teach­ing short game, the most preva­lent er­rors of­ten come in the de­ci­sion­mak­ing process in­stead of the ex­e­cu­tion of the shot it­self. The de­ci­sion process is com­prised of what type of shot to hit (high or low), what club to use, and how to set up to achieve this. This in­stall­ment is what I feel is im­por­tant in the short game as you start to get ready for the golf­ing sea­son.

Vi­su­al­ize:

Can you see the proper shot for the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion?

Jack Nick­laus called this tech­nique "go­ing to the movies". He never hit a shot that he didn't see in his mind first. This is very im­por­tant in start­ing phase 2.

Club se­lec­tion for the shot at hand. A higher shot such as a lob or pitch would need a more lofted club than a chip and run, which would need less loft.

How set-up and ball po­si­tion in your stance have to match the shot your try­ing to play.

Rec­og­nize:

Ex­e­cute:

Low shot:

Po­si­tion your ster­num in front of the ball (weight shifts to the front of stance, about 80 per­cent). Ball is placed even with your rear foot.

Po­si­tion ster­num even or slightly be­hind the ball (weight only 60 per­cent to front of stance).

When mak­ing your de­ci­sions on what shot to play, al­ways play the low­est shot pos­si­ble with the high­est per­cent­age of suc­cess. Never play a shot that you haven't prac­ticed just be­cause you saw a tour player do it on TV. Putt, Chip, Pitch, and then Lob in that or­der to higher rates of suc­cess.

Solid Con­tact on the mid­dle of the club­face is para­mount to be­ing great with your wedges and around the greens. With­out a solid im­pact con­di­tion, di­rec­tion and dis­tance con­trol is not achiev­able. Un­der­stand­ing im­pact is know­ing that the han­dle of the golf club stays in front of the club­face as you strike the ball, never be­hind. This is the most com­mon mis­take play­ers, a lead wrist that is bent and a shaft that leans away from the tar­get.

Af­ter you have achieved a proper im­pact con­di­tion and solid con­tact, swing length con­trols the dis­tance of the shot. I like to see the short shots be sym­met­ri­cal in length. This means the back­swing length matches the for­ward swing.

Think of a clock face. If your arms swing to nine o'clock in the back­swing, stop at 3 o'clock on the for­ward swing. This is on a ba­sic chip or pitch, spe­cialty shots are the ex­cep­tion. Al­ways keep it sim­ple, noth­ing fancy.

High

shot:

Hide the tee:

Stick a tee in the top of your grip. Make prac­tice swings and try to hide the tee be­hind your lead fore­arm. If you break down with your lead wrist, the han­dle will line up with your rear arm and the tee will be vis­i­ble be­tween your arms. Hit chips and pitches and check your fin­ish to achieve a flat lead wrist and a bent rear wrist.

Stork drill:

Hit chips, pitches and sand shots with your rear foot off the ground and up on your toe for bal­ance. This places most of your weight on your front leg to give you a de­scend­ing an­gle of at­tack, es­sen­tial for solid con­tact. This is the best short game drill be­cause most play­ers hang back in an at­tempt to lift the ball in the air.

I would like to see golfers work on achiev­ing a solid im­pact con­di­tion first then prac­tic­ing dif­fer­ent shots around the greens to de­velop your dis­tance and tra­jec­tory con­trol. Don't put the cart be­fore the horse, work on im­pact first and the rest of it will be much eas­ier. Re­mem­ber, nearly 60 per­cent of the shots in a round are played within 100 yards so it this area the proper prac­tice time. Plan your shots care­fully and you will have great suc­cess. Good luck in shoot­ing lower scores.

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