Martin's Blog: Tips for improving your short game


CHAPTER 32: Short Game Special
Here are five tricky shots that you’ll face around the greens and how you can execute these shots more successfully:

1. Out of the rough - Far pin: When facing a long chip shot out of the rough with plenty of green to work with, I prefer to use the cock-and-pop technique. Play the ball way back in your stance with your weight forward, don’t have much arm action but cock the wrists sharply, then pop them steep into the ball with barely any follow through. This will get the ball on the ground quick with a lot of roll.

2. Out of the rough - Near pin: When facing a short chip out of the rough with very little green to work with the cock-and-pop technique works well for high handicappers, but I prefer to play it like a bunker shot. Play the ball forward in your stance with the clubface open, try to slide the club under the ball at impact and let the trail hand come off the club in the follow through.

3. Putter out of the rough: This is a unique shot that works only if you’re just off the green, but if the ball is buried it’s highly effective. Play the ball well back in your stance, have about 10-15 degrees of forward shaft lean at address and drive the putter head down sharply into the ball. The ball should pop up with a ton of topspin and roll. This shot requires a lot of practice but works for both near and far pins.

4. Ball above your feet in the rough: On short pitch shots with the ball above your feet most people have a tendency to pull it quite a bit left. When using a lofted club with the ball above your feet you need to aim quite a bit right at address. Play it similar to a normal pitch shot but the ball should come out left toward your target.

5. Hybrid from the fairway: Some people will use a mid-iron or a putter from the fairway when they’re not too far off the green, but I prefer a hybrid. Because of the low center of gravity the ball will skip up off the ground and roll out better than it will when using a putter. Hold the hybrid with a putting grip, choke down on the club a bit and swing with little to no leg action. The ball should roll up to the pin beautifully.

Popular golf instruction tips:  Short GameWedge PlayChipping Pitching

Martin’s Library: “The Art of Scoring” by Stan Utley

In this video segment, Martin takes a look at what he views as some of the best tips from Stan Utley’s book “The Art of Scoring,” which is loaded with great advice. Watch Video

Next week’s show: Chapter 33: Long Game Special, Wednesday 7PM ET

• 'I’ll take you out on the course at Ibis Golf & Country Club for a Long Game Special and give you tips and drills for the key shots I can't teach in-studio, such as playing from the rough, uneven lies and fairway bunkers. I’ll also share two ways for playing one of golf's most difficult trouble shots, and Holly Sonders will assist with the instruction.

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