|When you're watching golf tournaments on TV, notice how tour players seem to relax and let the loft of the club do the work for them. (Scott Stuart/EclipseSportsWire.com)|
The fastest way to lower your score is to improve your short game.
It starts from within 100 yards of the green; this is what I call the scoring zone. If you examine who wins on the PGA Tour every week, it's usually the player who is best from within 100 yards, and, so, the question is: How do you improve your short game?
It all starts with improving your mechanics. Yeah, that's right, it's almost impossible to have a consistent short game with bad mechanics. Let's work on improving those mechanics and improving your score.
As I observe golfers hitting short pitch and chip shots around the green, I notice how they tend to get bent over and scrunched up while addressing the ball.
This puts them into an awkward address position where they have a very difficult time making good, consistent swings on these delicate shots. The first thing to remember is to stand tall and place 70 percent of your weight on your front foot at address.
Be sure to keep the weight forward during these shots, as this will encourage a downward swing upon the ball during impact.
The short game requires soft hands on the grip to take the tension out of the shot. A drill I use with students is to place a doubled up wash cloth in the palm and fingers of their right hand during the swing when practicing. (This makes it hard to grip the right hand too tight during the swing.)
It also enables golfers to get an improved feel when swinging the club on these shots. I also encourage students to make practice swings with their eyes closed, as this is another way to improve feel.
Pick out a spot on the green where you want to land the ball and visualize the trajectory of the ball in the air.
This is very important; if you practice this technique, you will start to hit these shots the way you envision them.
Finally, watch golf tournaments on TV, tune into the Golf Channel or observe the good players you play with. Notice how all good players seem to relax and let the loft of the club do the work for them.
They never seem to "hit at the ball," they always swing through the ball. Players with a good short game trust their mechanics and concentrate on how they want to play the shot and where they are going to land the ball.
The good news is if you practice the above tips you will improve, which will help you relax, which will help you improve some more. That's when your scores will come tumbling down.
June 26, 2009
Les Miller is longtime Golf Writers of America member who has written golf instruction for several newspapers and golf publications. His many years of experience as a golf professional, director of product development and tour relations for several major golf companies gives him a unique background that helps golfers increase their enjoyment of the game.