6 Steps to Improve Your Short Game

Working on your short game? Try these tricks of the trade in action.

1. With an open set up, cut across the ball

Drop a short pitch gently in the fringe. You should be able to slide your club under the ball. Use a 60-degree maximum club stance. This will allow your club to slide through the grass. Try hinging the club up, and swing down with your stance. Keep in mind that a square setup leads to a steeper swing. If your clubface is angled to the right, you’ll be able to swing along the target line. Now pick your shot and swing.

2. Take advantage of the bounce on pitches

If you’re trying to get a pitch shot close to your target, it’s always a good idea to use the bounce that comes with your shot. It will help your shots float through the grass. Make sure your hands are in line with the clubhead you’re using. If you press your hands forward as you would a chip shot, there’s much less of a chance the club will get stuck in the grass.

3. Slide the clubface under the ball for accurate flop shots

Have your clubhead pass the shaft at impact, and pointed right at the target, which adds more loft. Then grip the club from there. If you weaken your grip with your hands rotating toward the target, it will soften your shot.

4. One-lever swing rolling shot

If you can, get the ball rolling with the longest club that can carry a fringe (a 7-iron, for example), then run it up the slope. If you have to take a downhill shot, an even longer club is advised. Start with an open stance. Then put more pressure on your front foot. Keep your backswing short and follow through. By using a longer club with this technique, you’re allowing yourself to make a much simpler swing.

5. The bump and run

For this shot, you’ll want to hinge your wrists during the backswing, and maintain that stance until the finish. The idea is to bounce the ball short of the green and roll it to the hole. It helps if you set the ball back with the shaft leaning forward, which reduces the loft on the shot. Pivot your body toward the target as your arms swing through.

6. Pay attention to your left arm when chipping

Remember that the left arm controls your chipping stroke. Two key moves to consider when you’re chipping: Keep your head still by looking at a dimple on the back of the ball. Then, hit that dimple with the center of the clubface. Secondly, let the left hand and arm start the backswing, and hinge the wrists slightly. On the downswing, allow the left arm to lead the clubhead into the ball.

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