The Top 7 Short Game Mistakes
I’ve written about lots of topics here over the past few months, but this is “TheWedgeGuy”, right ? So, I’ve been encouraged to outline what I believe are the most common mistakes golfers make around the greens that prevents them from optimizing their scoring. So here goes, not in any particular order:
1. Tempo - Maybe the most common error I see is a tempo that is too quick and “jabby”. In my upcoming book, “The Secrets of Scoring”, I talk about “gravity” being the key to developing a solid tempo for your chips and pitches. I also wrote about this in this month’s EIDOLON NEWS. Comparing golf to painting a room, your short shots are your “trim brushes” – a slower stroke delivers more precision.
2. Set Up/Posture - To hit good chips and pitches, you need to get down more to the ball. Get closer to your work for better precision. Too many golfers I see stand tall and grip the club to the end.
3. Grip Pressure - A very light grip on the club is essential to good touch and proper release through the impact zone. Trust me, you cannot hold a golf club too lightly – your body won’t let you. Concentrate on your forearms; if you can feel any tenseness in the muscles in your forearms, you're holding on too tightly.
4. Hand position - Another topic I delve into deeply in “The Secrets of Scoring”. Watch the tour players hit short shots on TV. Their arms are hanging naturally so that their hands are very close to their upper thighs at address and through impact. Copy that and your short game will improve dramatically.
5. Lack of Body Core Rotation - When you're hitting short shots, the hands and arms have to begin and stay in front of the torso throughout the swing. If you don’t rotate your chest and shoulders back and through, you won’t develop good consistency in distance or contact.
6. Club selection - Every pitch or chip is different, so don’t try to hit them all with the same club. I see two major errors here. Some golfers always grab the sand wedge when they miss a green. If you have lots of green to work with and don’t need that loft, a PW or 9-iron will give you much better results. The other error is that golfers are afraid of their wedge and are trying to hit tough recoveries with 8- and 9-irons. That doesn’t work either. Go to your practice green and see what happens with different clubs, then take that knowledge to the course.
7. Clubhead/grip relationship - This error falls into two categories. The first is those golfers who forward press so much that they dramatically change the loft of the club. At address and impact the grip should be slightly ahead of the clubhead. I like to focus on the hands, rather than the club, and just think of my left hand leading my right through impact. Which brings me to the other error – allowing the clubhead to pass the hands through impact. If you let the clubhead do that, good shots just cannot happen. And that is caused by you trying to “hit” the ball with the clubface, rather than swinging the entire club through impact.
So, there are my Top 7. Obviously there are others, but if you eliminate those, your short game will get better in a hurry.
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Ouch ! No. 7 hurt me bad and gave me something to work on this weekend...if the temperature gets under 105 !
BTW - No. 6 hurt me too. Uh, as did No. 5 and No.'s 1 and 3 were a bit tender too !
What's your opinion on the use of the club's bounce in the short game? We've been told countless times that in order to successfully chip/pitch that the clubhead needs to strike the ball cleanly with descending blow. What I've noticed is that most players now over-exaggerate the forward press totally negating the bounce angle on their wedges. This means they must make absolutely pure contact else the club will dig on a slightly fat hit. I remember n segment from a old Masters driving range demonstation where one of the pros demonstrated how they deliberately sole the club slightly behind the ball on virtually all short game shots allowing the clubs sole to simply slide along the ground and then under the ball. They explained the margin for error was greatly increase when this technique is used. This was one of the greatest epiphanies for me in the game of golf and it took me from an average player around the greens to a very good one. I no longer have fear of hitting it fat or thin.
This is great! I will most likely point to this post in my blog for golfers to ready. I like No.#5 the best. Allows for a simplification of the swing with more consistency.
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