Continuing from our post yesterday, we’re now going to look into the most common mistakes in the short game. These mistakes are the difference between 90’s shooter and those who break 80. If you get your game in shape from 100 yards and in, I assure you, you’ll start shooting lower scores. Enjoy!
Short Irons – Gripping Too Tight & Tension
Your short irons should be your bread and butter, if you can improve your game from 150 yards and in, you’re score will start to drop significantly. The most common faults I see in this part of the game is tension, in the arms, wrists and grip. Tension for these types of shots is killer, it tends to create a quick, uncontrolled swing. This swing leads to inconsistent ball contact, and a lack of control. I find that if you try to swing your short irons like you do your driver, you’re in trouble. Consistency goes hand in hand with control. Keep your grip light, and your swing nice and smooth for your short irons, you’ll see a dramatic improvement in your play from 150 yards and in.
Pitching – Control & Decelerating
For you your half-swing shots, control is imperative and acceleration through impact is essential. I’m sure this is already ringing a bell for some of you… I often see players taking full-swings on their pitch shots with a half-assed attempt to control the distance the ball goes by decelerating rapidly into the ball. You cannot pitch a ball like this. A proper pitch shot use the same tempo for 10 yards and 50 yards, the length of the backswing will change in order to control the distance of the shot. Most importantly, the golf club is accelerating consistently into the ball – with this technique you can develop an accurate measurement of how far each length of backswing will go.
Sand – Decelerating
Digging your club into the sand behind the ball is not an effective way to get out of the bunker, fried egg lie or not. Truth is, if you do this, any power your swing did have gets lost as your club slows to a stop by digging into the sand. One secret to getting out of the sand, is the follow-through. If you finish your swing, the ball will get out of the bunker. Finishing your swing ensures you’re accelerating, and much like pitching, this is very important.
Chipping – Scooping, breaking of the wrists
We all want consistency around the green, to do this you have to have a reliable swing. For most amateurs, this is not the case. One shot everyone should learn is the bump and run, it’s likely the most effective chip shot you;ll every learn. If you don’t know how – click this link – How to Hit a Bump and Run. The reason this shot is so effective is because it removes your wrists from your short game. Don’t get me wrong, there are many shots that require wrists – flop shots, chips over bunkers – but most amateurs tend to use their wrists for every short game shot. With chipping you need to learn when to use wrists, and when not to… you’d be surprised how little you have to use your wrists if you utilize all the clubs in your bag while chipping. Hitting down on a short wedge shot with no wrists, creates more than enough spin to stop the ball within 10 feet of it’s landing spot. Spend some time on your practice green, and over time work to remove the wrists from your short game.
Putting – Decelerating
If you often miss short putts, there’s likely only one reason why… you’re slowing down. Deceleration into impact on the greens is usually a precursor to start yipping your putts. An accelerating stroke creates confidence and consistency. Keep an eye on yourself, because quite often you start to decelerate when you feel you’re putting poorly, in attempts to steer the ball closer to the hole. With most players this fault is tough to spot, ensure your backswing on follow-through are the same distance, and you should be fine on the greens.