Most players are trying to find the one perfect way to chip or pitch the ball close to the hole and that can get real boring real fast. If this is true, then it’s no wonder that most players don’t spend very much time working on the small game around the green. Here’s the solution:
Stop “practicing” around the green and start experimenting instead.
Before you start experimenting, be aware of the following general concepts:
- If you don’t REALLY KNOW the difference between a true chip shot and a true pitch shot you’re already stuck. Learn the difference.
- There are hundreds of technique variations with JUST ONE CLUB.
- Every small adjustment will profoundly impact what the ball does after you hit it.
Here are some of the most simple variations that you could experiment with TODAY:
- Choke down on grip
- Open the face
- Close the face
- Ball back/forward
- Heel up/down
- Strike ball towards the toe
- Strike ball towards the heel
I’m no mathematician but it looks to me like there are 343 general combinations of the short list above. As you continue adding and subtracting variations, the shot possibilities shots become mind-numbing! Now consider that masters of the short game can CREATE THE BEST COMBINATIONS for whatever shot they are faced with.
Over the years, I have seen countless students embrace and successfully implement the ideas presented here. I have also seen students who dismiss (for a variety of reasons) variance and creativity in favor of a more methodical/mechanical approach. Of course, it’s always the players’ right and responsibility to choose what – analytically and physically – works best for them.
For me, I prefer the fun and joy of making up stuff to see what happens and adding the best stuff to my arsenal of shots. Then, during play on the course, it’s very rewarding to be looking over a shot and have that “ahhh, I know exactly what to do here” moment.
The reality? Look, we all know that in golf there is no technique, knowledge, or thought that makes us impervious to the whims of the golf gods. Even masters mess up sometimes. But, isn’t it better to know exactly what to do and fail than to be standing over the ball without a clue?