Every golfer’s game must have one excellent trait in its arsenal: a fantastic short game. Unless you can hit hole-in-ones on every single shot you ever take (if only!), you’ll need to be able to deliver a good short game just like everyone else has to, from beginners to pros. At the College of Golf in the month of September, students focused on short game fundamentals, learning from three time LPGA Tour and former U.S. Women’s Amateur Champion Donna White.
Here are just some of the short game fundamentals important to every golfer.
A consistent swing – even for your short game
You want your swing to be repetitious, deliver consistently good results and be able to be performed on autopilot. This is just as important on your short game, if not more so. Practice chipping, and master it. A few tips: hit down, shorten your backswing, and practice, practice, practice.
Don’t copy others
Watch golf pros and emulate certain aspects of their fundamentals, certainly. But remember that every golfer is different in size, weight, physical strength, flexibility, and strengths to their golf game. So just because you can mimic exactly what the best pro golfer does doesn’t mean you’ll have their exact same results. It’s better to develop your own successful swing from your own individual traits and characteristics. Practice makes perfect.
Visualize your shot
Take a look at the golf ball, then take a look at where you want it to go. Visualize the shot going across the green as well as the strength or softness of the swing that you need to get it there.
Have a routine
Regardless of whether you take only one or many practice putts or swings, develop a routine so you do it consistently every time. This will condition your body to know what to expect and make it easier to remember how to do it best.
Warm up before playing
Sometimes, an hour of warm up can help. It may sound like a lot of time to warm up for a recreational player. But you can bet the best golf players take the time to warm up properly and get ready for their golf game. Even if your schedule doesn’t allow for a full hour’s warm up, at least give yourself as much time as you can to warm up and keep trying to increase that time closer to an hour. Your short game will benefit as will the rest of your game.
Devote at least 50% of your practice time to your short game
Pitches, chips, bunker play, and putting may not all look or feel as glorious or macho as going for the longest drive your muscles can muster, but it will improve your game score immeasurably.
If you think practicing and paying attention to your short game seems dull, try to mix it up for yourself by creating games to practice. You can bet that when you see the strokes come off your score, you’ll be having much more fun and the practice you put in will be well worth it.
About the Author Eric Wilson Ph.D. is a PGA Master Professional and the Vice President of golf school: The College of Golf at Keiser University in Port St. Lucie, FL. You can find The College of Golf on Twitter (@CollegeofGolf) or on Facebook.