Blog Post

Shave shots of your score

I have long been a believer that you need to be hot around the greens to seriously consider being a low single figure handicap golfer.


In truth I actually believe that if you want to lower your handicap from any level then you should learn how to get the ball into the hole in the fewest number of shots possible.


I have already written about how to practice and improve your putting. Now I want to talk about how you can improve your chipping and become a demon around the green, to the point where you feel as though you can hole any chip shot.


As with putting, chipping is also very personal. You have to feel it, enjoy it, relish in the challenge that you will face with each and every chip.


But the biggest and most important factor to becoming a fantastic chipper is having imagination. Imagination is key so that you can see the shot, feel the shot and produce the shot.


Imagination comes from experience, but it also comes from being fearless, not getting worried about the possible outcomes if you do not play it as well you can.

That experience and fearlessness comes from spending hours and hours practicing in real life circumstances.


The biggest mistake I see from my clients is this; Play 20 balls from the same perfect spot to the same hole over and over and over again. This practice method is great for learning how to make the swing, make your movement repetitive. But it is not going to build your imagination for a shot, you will be a very good player from the perfect lies, but you will not be able to replicate your abilities when you hit it way off line.


My suggestion to you is this; each time that you go to the practice green take just 10 balls. Find a spot around the green and throw the balls over your head away from the green. Play those balls from where they rest, regardless of where they finish. Now this is the kicker, you mark the position of each ball and do not stop practicing from the same 10 spots until you can get each ball up and down. 10 balls after one and other.


Practicing like this will help you to improve your imagination. As you work through the balls you will find new ways to play them. You will build your confidence and your imagination with each and every shot.


Make sure that you do not fall into one of the biggest traps to becoming a good short game player. This trap is only becoming proficient with just one or two clubs. To have the imagination and arsenal of shots required is massive and limiting yourself to just one or two clubs reduces your chances of hitting the ball close, from any situation.


The above is directed more towards the low handicapper looking to reach the next level, for those of you reading this wanting to learn something to improve your chipping then the best bit of advice I can give is you to understand the landing zone.


The landing zone is a point on the first portion of the green between you and the hole. It is important to know where you want to try and land the ball because the area on the green that the ball lands will determine how the ball will react.


To give you an example, if you land your ball on a left to right slope the ball will bounce more to the right rather than straight on. This will alter the line that the ball will take on its way to the hole. So knowing where you want to land your ball is paramount to becoming a better short game player.


To practice this place a towel on the green, with various clubs try to land the ball on the towel and watch how the ball reacts with each club. The lower the loft, the further the ball will run. Meaning that with the same swing you can achieve as many distances as you have clubs in your bag.


Until next time,

The Golf Swing Doctor




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