DONALD’S DO’S & DON’TS FOR A BETTER SHORT GAME
Put as much variance into your practice as possible. Don’t just dump 50 balls and hit the same shot to the same pin. You are better off taking five balls to a chipping green and pitching one to five different pins. If your brain gets too engaged doing the same thing over and over again, it’s not very beneficial. The more you can vary your practice, the better.
Don’t get up hung up on the length of your swing for those in-between shots. I try and stay away from the clock face system or writing down yardages for different lengths of swing. That kind of stuff requires too much inner thinking. I feel like the brain works best when it is subconsciously working, rather than totally grinding on numbers.
Try to create feel through practice. There is a time for working on fundamentals, but I also believe in replicating situations out on the course and using proper greens. If it is not that busy, find an empty hole and throw down some balls from different distances. Experiment how you can hit it high and low, and how you can spin it a bit more.
If you are struggling for confidence, practise some bump and runs from off the green and see if the results are more consistent than using a lofted club. At home, I spend three quarters of my practice from 100 yards and in. I might hit a few pitch and runs where I have a lot of green to work, and then up the difficulty by chipping to a pin where I’ve got little green to work with. I’ll also hit some shots from the rough, and then set myself targets and keep a tally of my results. I think that’s really important because it gives you something to aim for and measures your improvement.
Experiment with different bounces and see what works best for you. If you have a good technique, I feel like you don’t need as much bounce. I have eight degrees on my 54, which is less than most people have, but it allows me to spin the ball a little bit more. Again, it comes down to what you are looking for and what works for you. If you’re a higher handicap, I think more bounce is easier to hit with and certainly helps with bunker shots.