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Alter your practice approach for a better short game

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“[Daly] is a needle mover. We need that out here. We need somebody that people want to come out and watch. They don’t want to come out and watch me. I understand that.” – on his reaction to John Daly's PGA Tour Champions debut  - 

The Valspar Championship at the Copperhead Course in Innisbrook Resort proved to be yet another challenge for the best players in the world.

John Senden was the victor by way of a one-shot win over Kevin Na on Sunday, as he picked up his first win on Tour since 2006.

With the conditions playing tough, Senden relied on some short-game mastery to close out the tournament and earn the victory. Key up-and-downs, chipping in and making putts all helped put Senden over the top.

It’s no secret that if you want to lower your scores the short game is the place to start. Being able to wedge it close to the hole after missing the green can save valuable pars and reduce wasting shots around the green.

The problem is that most golfers don’t practice their short game at all, or when they do they don’t practice it very effectively.

Here are a few tips to make sure you are getting the most from your short-game practice:

• Short game is all about feel. Practice developing feel by moving around and trying different shots in a short-game practice area. Avoid the temptation to unload a pile of golf balls from one location to one target. If you’re limited to a confined location, try the ladder drill in the short game area. The goal is to land several balls in a defined area by making each shot land just past the previous. If you mess up, start over.

• Play the “up and down” game when you practice. Take nine golf balls (or more if you have time and space) and spread them around the practice green in various locations. The goal is to get each ball in the hole in two strokes or less. But instead of hitting all the balls on the green and then making the putts, play each ball out one at a time to simulate a real round of golf. Challenge yourself by keeping score and try to break your personal record.

• Create competition whenever you can. Drag your golf buddy out to the short-game area and challenge them to the “up and down” game or the ladder drill. Anytime you can incorporate competition in your practice you will benefit greatly on the course.

For more tips from Golf Channel to help you improve your short game, click here.