4 Ways to Improve Your Short Game Strikes
Back To Basics
For many golfers, finding a consistently clean contact on short, delicate chip shots feels almost impossible. With so many moving parts in their technique, things can easily breakdown and the results can be erratic at best. If you fall onto this category go back top basics and adopt a putting technique. Use a less lofted club (an 8-iron is ideal) and using your putting grip. Stand to the ball as if you are holding your putter – closer to the ball and with a narrower stance. The heel of the club will be up a little more than usual. Now make a smooth, simple putting stroke. These adjustments will help ‘deaden’ the strike allowing you to be more confident with the stroke. The ball should pop up into the air before rolling out towards the hole like a putt.
Related: How to control your greenside spin
In my experience, the one thing golfers who struggle with their chipping have in common is speed. In particular, they rush back to the ball from the top of the backswing. Often this comes from the anxiety that comes from thinking too much about the technicalities of the chipping technique. Adopting a less complicated, putting method will certainly help. At address, lighten your grip and feel the tension evaporating from your fingers. In practice, hit shots saying ‘one and’ to the top of the back swing and ‘two’ through the downswing. This will give you the feel for the sort of gentle acceleration you should be looking for.
These two photographs illustrate the difference between a more complicated, higher tariff chipping technique and the simpler, more reliable option you should try. Avoid a long backswing in which your wrists hinge excessively. This creates speed that you then need to be able to control on the way down – if you have been struggling with your short game, my bet is that it is this element that’s hurting you. Instead, with your putter grip, keep your wrists firm and the backswing a little shorter. This will give you a much more controllable speed.
Related: Step-by-step guide to pitching
Do not forget that your hybrid is a great chipping option. The technique is the same – adopt your putter grip and stance and let the momentum for the stroke come from the rocking of your shoulders. This shot does take some getting used to – the sweetspot of the hybrid is hotter than an iron and the ball does spring off the face. Head to the practice green and spend some time developing your feel while keeping the technique as simple as possible. This shot could really help you on the course.
John Jacobs, Head professional, Cumberwell Park
Shot on location at Las Colinas Golf & Country Club, Spain
Photography: Kevin Murray