Scoring better in golf is the most fulfilling goal that we can consistently achieve. Simply said, it will make you want to play more golf, it will give you that boost of confidence every time you prepare for a shot, and, will give you that certain feel of self-satisfaction and gratification after each shot. Eventually, it all adds up and it makes you really feel good after the round.
Enhancing Your Short Game Skills
One key factor to score well is to enhance your short game skills. This one key is the most dominant part of the game. It is composed of the following shots:
- Chipping – 6, 7 and 8 irons are recommended
- Pitching – Pitching Wedge, Gap Wedge (52 degrees), Sand Wedge (56 degrees)
- Greenside bunker – Sand Wedge (56 degrees), Lob Wedge (60 degrees)
- Full swings for 7, 8, 9, Pitching Wedge, Gap Wedge, Sand Wedge
The points that I have mentioned above comprises of 70 to 80 per cent of the round. Whether it’s a 9, 18 or a 36 hole course, having each hole will be different in every golf course, especially with the varying conditions. There is never the same shot ever, but similar in nature. You may have a flat lie, uphill lie, downhill lie, side hill lie and/or several other combinations. You can possibly have a wet or dry condition, windy and sunny, windy and raining. Whatever the condition may be, your short game skills must be given more emphasis and will always come out handy.
Prioritize Your Putting
It is most crucial to give priority into your putting game. A good average number of putting strokes per hole is 2 (two) strokes. When you play 18 holes, and multiply it by 2 strokes, you’ll get 36 strokes. Professional players can manage to maintain a 1.5 putt average per hole. Rule of the thumb for putting is not to go over 2 strokes. Mind you, this is putting alone!
Let Your Chip Shots Roll
A combination of a chip shot and a putting stroke must also be 2 strokes. Putting and chipping are very similar. A chip shot can be from the fringe or right before the green. The intention is to get it over the fringe and let it roll. The concept of a chip shot is to roll the ball more rather than make it fly. The rule of the thumb for a chipping and putting stroke combination is not to go over 2 strokes.
Pitch it Higher
Anything farther than this perimeter, I consider as a pitch shot. The concept of a pitch shot is to make the ball fly more, rather than roll. A more lofted wedge makes the ball flight higher and produces more back spin. It is the exact opposite of a chip shot. It is ideal to aim for a one pitch and one putt stroke combination. But, a one pitch and two putt stroke combination is a good average.
Get Out of the Bunker
The greenside bunker shots are very psychological. Treat it like a pitch shot and it will work like magic. Of course, there are some slight adjustments on the set-up, but the stroke stays the same. Just put the ball on the green and make an average of 2 putts.
Master the Short Irons
The short irons include all the wedges, 9, 8 and 7 irons. Each has an average distance but it will always depend on the player’s tempo, flexibility, strength and height. It will be an advantage to know what to practice, to learn the mechanics, to formulate your thoughts, and understand the mental and psychological side of the game.
Give importance to your short game skills and your scores will drop dramatically. You need to understand though that you must practice diligently. Give it time and enjoy the processes, as there are plenty of factors involved. So, for any questions, please do not hesitate to ask me, or your respective “coaches”.