If you are like me, as a golfer, you love to hit your driver and your woods. There is something very satisfying about giving the ball a good whack and watching it sail down the golf course fairway. Of course, that is your hope, your mental picture each time you use one of those clubs. But the truth is that it is in the quality of your short game that your final score is determined.
Think about it, in a typical 18 hole round of golf with 4 par 3 holes, 4 par 5 holes, and the remainder par 3s, you will typically use your driver no more than 12 or 13 times. Whereas your sand wedge, pitching wedge, 9 and 8 irons, not to mention your putter will be used as many as 18 times each. That’s a lot of short game action. And that’s where most golfers add or subtract strokes to their score.
My advice, when you go to the practice range, spend a lot more time in the sand and pitching area and on the putting green than at the driving range. It may not be quite as satisfying to play in the sand, but your scores will certainly improve over time.
Round the World – Set up four golf balls around the hole, equidistant from the cup. Using the image of a clock-face, set one ball at “12,” one at “3,” the third at “6” and the fourth at the “9” position. Start with a distance from the hole of just a few inches. Hit all four into the hole without missing. If you miss, repeat all four. If you manage to get all four balls into the hole without missing, then move each ball back a few more inches and repeat. Keep this up, one ball at each of the four spots on the “clock,” increasing the distance to the hole every time you hit all four into the cup. This exercise is great to learn patience and control. Just don’t get dizzy going around that circle.
Down the Road – Set up two clubs on the ground, parallel to each other and perpendicular to the hole. The distance between the two clubs should be just wide enough for your putter to swing without hitting either of the clubs on the ground. Place a golf ball between the clubs, in the “road” to the cup. The trick here is to learn how to swing the putter squarely against the ball and into the cup. If you hit off center, the ball will hit one of the club handles and miss. Swing smooth and straight, increasing the distance to the cup as you improve.
May every hole be a birdie!
Check out the video section on this site for more about the short game.