It’s No Secret How To Drop 10 Strokes Off Your Golf Game Immediately

I’ve been playing golf for years. I love the game but find it very frustrating at the same time. I put in time at the practice range, have taken many lessons both group and one-on-one, and play at least twice a week. Still I struggle to break 100. Fellow golfers who watch me play tell me I have a decent swing, and that’s encouraging, but my game is inconsistent and more often than not I am in the woods, pond, anywhere but the fairway.

Still, I am determined to drop 10 strokes off my game before the end of this season. Sound impossible? I don’t really think so. It’s no secret how to do it. I need to crank up my short game.

Whenever I play, in addition to keeping my score, I keep track of how many fairways I hit, how many sand bunkers I play out of, and how many putts I take on each and every hole. And when I study the score cards what I realize is my short game is in desperate need of improvement. I may end up in the woods, but by the time I hit my third shot, I’m often close to the green. That’s where things get gnarly. Pitching, chipping, sand play and putting can all use some help. That’s where all the extra strokes are taken.

I usually hit the driver between 165 – 180 yards, but even hitting from the red tees, it’s hard for me to get to most greens in regulation. But, I am often close to the green within three strokes. If I can clean up my short game, practice my chipping and work on making those 1 putts, I should be able to shave strokes off each round and thus my handicap should drop.

Think about it. On a par 5, I am usually within 30 yards of the pin by my third stroke and I can usually make 3 foot putts. So if I can pitch or chip to within 3 feet of the hole on my fourth shot, then I’m in the hole in 5. A par!!! Wouldn’t that be something. So it all comes down to pitching and chipping, and making those 3 foot putts.

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Here is a video that explains a few of the basics of good chipping.

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I’m still exploring the best method of chipping. I find I have options. Two golf instructors have given me different approaches for chipping the golf ball.

The first method: No matter the distance to the hole, use the same stroke, just change the club you use. 9 iron for short chips under say, 5 feet, all the way to a 5 iron for those chips that have to travel 40 yards to cross a wide green. Practice with different clubs and distances and learn which club works for which distance using the same stroke each time.

The second method is to always use either an 8 or 9 iron for chipping and increase the swing of the stroke to match the distance to the hole. Sounds simple.

One problem with the first method occurs if you often ride in a golf cart when playing golf. Most golf courses don’t let golfers drive the carts anywhere near the greens which means that if you know your next stroke will be a chip, you have to choose your chipping club from your bag before you walk up to your ball. This requires you to make a quick “ball-to-hole” distance evaluation in order to calculate which of your clubs to use. I suppose you can grab 2 or 3 clubs and carry them along just in case you calculate incorrectly. The last time I played using a golf cart, I found myself carrying half my irons up to the green, or choosing the wrong club for the distance. Things sometimes look a lot different from the cart path than from the edge of the green. Rather than slow down play by returning to the cart to choose a different club, I used the wrong one and, of course, chipped badly, adding a couple strokes to my score.

The second method, to use either an 8 or 9 iron and practice hitting the correct distance using different swings is a lot simpler. I’m still trying to decide. Of course, the golf season is already a good month gone, so I better make up my mind pretty soon if I’m going to meet my goal and drop those 10 strokes from my handicap. Here’s to more practice!

  2 comments for “It’s No Secret How To Drop 10 Strokes Off Your Golf Game Immediately

  1. Pat says:

    Richard… I sometimes do use a sand wedge for chipping… especially if the distance from the edge of the green to the hole is very short… more often than not I use the 8 or 9 iron with success…

  2. Richard says:

    Pat, just a question, but why wouldn’t you use a wedge?

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