Try these drills (used by Tour players) to start honing your short game and making more up and downs this season.
1. One club, Two distances
In order to become a genius from 100 yards and in (the scoring zone), you need to develop your feel.
. A great way to practice feel is to hit the same club several distances (you can try this with your long game too). With this drill the aim is to make it instinctive how far the pin is away from you (from within 100 yards), something you’ll need to do to get to low single figures.
- Start at 125 yards and hit one ball to the target
- Then move to 115 and use the same club to hit to that same target
- Continue to move to 105 and change to whatever club you hit from this distance
- Then Move to to 95 and hit the same club as you did from 105
- Move to 85 and hit whatever club you would from this distance
- Finish by hitting your 85 yard club from the 75 yard position.
So…you’ll have played from 6 distances and used your 3 wedges twice each, to 2 different distances.
Some players choke down on the club and change their ball position for distance control and others use swing length and tempo. Experiment with both and see what works for you. You can also repeat this drill and create more distances by using 5 yard increments.
2. Real Short Game Practice
One of the first things I talk to amateurs about when I take on a new student is how they practice. More often than not, a fundamental change is necessary. I try to instill the “practice as you play” philosophy. What this means is that you simulate the golf course as much as you can.
One great short game drill is to take 20 balls and drop them around the practice green from different lies and positions. For each shot, you go through your routine just as you would on the golf course and imagine you are playing in a competition on whatever golf course you normally play (or perhaps where your next competition may be). If the ball comes to rest outside of gimme range (2ft), go through your pre-putt routine, just as you would on the course or in a competition and try to hole the putt.
When you’ve made the up and down, move onto the next ball until you’ve holed all 20. This exercise might take 40-50 minutes to perform, but it makes practice very meaningful.
What this does is:
- Practice your routine – getting your process the same and focusing on it should be consistent no matter what the shot or situation
- Work on your imagination and visualization
- Simulate pressure while you practice
- Makes practice fun, playing from different lies and trying different shots
- Gives every shot a purpose, instead of being just another practice ball
Pictures: Getty Images.
Thanks for reading – A Great Short Game leads to Strong Mental Toughness!
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