|The ability to get up and down consistently from around the green is what separates the good players from the "fringe" players on tour. (PGA of America)|
The ability to get up and down consistently from around the green is what separates the good players from the "fringe" players on the PGA Tour. Never did I find this to be as true as when I made some special wedges for Corey Pavin years ago while I was at Cleveland Golf.
Corey explained to me how his game was based on his ability to get up and down from every conceivable lie around the green; from bunker or rough, he needed to master the high, medium and low pitches to compete against the long hitters on tour.
The problem with most golfers is they dream of hitting the long ball off the tee and fail to realize the short game is where they can best lower their scores.
That year I walked a practice round with Cory at Bay Hill Club & Lodge, Arnold Palmer's tournament, and although he hit only five greens in regulation during the round, he shot 3-under par.
Corey holed out twice from bunkers and chipped in once from the heavy rough around the green. It showed me first-hand that a superior short game is where shooting lower scores starts. Please read the tips below and start seeing your handicap go down.
The high flop shot can be very scary for most players. That's because you have to commit to the shot. Speed throughout the hitting area is essential; swing too slow and you will hit the shot heavy, too fast and there is a chance to hit the shot thin.
Start by placing the ball forward in your stance, open the clubface and place your hands slightly behind the ball at address. Use a full wrist cock on your backswing, keeping your hands slightly behind the ball through impact.
Mastering this shot takes a lot of practice, so don't get discouraged; the more you practice it, the more proficient you will become at it.
For the medium-trajectory pitch shot, play the ball toward the middle of your stance, and place your hands directly over the ball.
Use your hands and wrists a little bit as you take the club away from the ball. On the downswing, let the hands and arms swing the clubhead under the ball upon impact. (Always allow the loft of the clubhead to get the ball into the air never trying to lift the ball off the ground.)
Finally just let the hands and arms follow through.
For the low pitch shot, play the ball back in your stance (off your back toe), and place your hands slightly forward at address.
Use very little wrist action on the take-a-way, keeping the clubhead low to the ground on the backswing as well as the follow through. Again, always let the loft of the clubface get the ball into the air for you.
February 10, 2010
Les Miller was a longtime Golf Writers of America member who covered 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 gave him a unique background and ability to help golfers increase their enjoyment of the game.