One way to improve your score is to improve your short game.
An example of how important the short game is can be explained in the following scenario. Tiger Woods plays 18 holes and hits 15 of 18 greens in regulation.
Woods three-putts three of the 15 greens and two-putts 12. So he is 3-over-par for the 15 holes that he hit in regulation. On the three greens that he missed he is only able to get up and down for par once of the three times. So, Woods scored 5-over-par for 18 holes even though his ball striking was excellent.
David Duval plays 18 holes and hits 10 of 18 greens in regulation. Duval one-putts three of the 10 greens, and two-putts seven. So, Duval is 3-under-par for the 10 greens. On the eight greens that he missed he was able to get up and down for par seven of the eight times. So, Duval scored 2-under-par for 18 holes, beating Woods by six strokes mainly due to his excellent short game.
Where do we find that we spend the majority of our practice time, on the driving range or the short game? We would all benefit if we spent at least equal time practicing our short game. If you have one hour to practice your game, start on the practice green and spend 30 minutes working on your short game and spend the rest of your time on the driving range.
This way you will be assured that you have spent equal practice time on your short game. It is easy to go right out to the practice range to start your session and before you realize it you have spent 45 minutes working on your swing. With only 15 minutes left you decide to just eliminate your short game practice. How often have you made this decision?
I would like to provide you with some information and fundamentals that will help your chipping and pitching.
Chipping. Set-up grip down for more control, ball placed in center or just back of center, hand position slightly ahead of club head, and weight on your front foot.
The swing is an arm and shoulder motion. I try to visualize a triangle between my arms and shoulders and the only part of my body moving is the triangle. The trajectory on a chip shot is low with the ball landing just on the green and then rolling the rest of the way to the hole. Club selection is normally between a 5 to an 8 iron.
Pitching out of fairway height grass -- Set up-grip down for more control, ball placed just slightly forward of center, weight distributed evenly, hand position slightly ahead of club. The swing again is an arm and shoulder motion. The trajectory on a pitch shot is high with minimal roll. Club selection is between a 9 iron and a lob wedge.
Pitching out of heavy rough -- Same set-up position as the pitch from fairway height grass. The back swing has a hinging of the wrists to bring the club up on a steeper angle and then return to the ball at a steeper angle, minimizing the amount of grass between the club face and ball. At impact and into the follow through make sure that you return to the triangle position and also that you finish with your arms and shoulders in the triangle position.
Use extra caution with this shot. Make sure that your wrists do not break down at impact and into the finish and practice this shot before you try it on the course.
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