The short game is all about controlling distance. It’s a vital area of golf that doesn’t involve being good with your drivers and your irons, as you can simply hit the ball near the fairway, get it near the green, and save a lot of shots. With that in mind, let’s see how we can improve our short game with these simple tips.
The main thing to realize here is that the setup for the short game is far different from the way you set up to a normal shot. You want to generate enough power on a normal shot to drive the golf ball as far as you need it to be. So, the shaft angle of a normal shot is much flatter.
Chipping, on the other hand, doesn’t really rely on power. And you can take advantage of that by getting you to get the shaft angle far more vertical. What this does is get that club working straight back and straight through on a more pendulum style action, increasing shot accuracy all together. You basically have to start the club in a more vertical position when chipping.
The next thing you want to do is stand up a little bit taller (sternum directly in line with the ball), let your arms hang, point the right toe in front of the ball, and lower your left shoulder. This set up helps you create a more descending blow on the ball and that's what we want.
The second tip is about momentum and how you want to swing through the shot. Too many golfers hit a stationary ball and their bodies, therefore, end up staying way too fixed. Everything's very still, in other words.
Now what that does is it gets your wrists being a bit too proactive, making them do most of the work. As a result, your club tends to waft around all over the place. Thus, it’ll be extremely hard to make consistent contact. You want a more stable club head. That way, you can swing backwards and forwards in a more natural manner. So how do you do that?
The first thing you want to do is to allow your arms and your shoulders to consistently move. This’ll make the wrists far more reactive, as opposed to proactive when stationary. It’ll lessen the flicking motion of the wrists, which will be beneficial both on its health and your golf swing.
If you've been struggling with chipping, then the chances are you've been struggling with distance control. With this, it’s imperative to really zero in on the actual strike, rather than control time.
It’s easy for anyone to tell you to get those arms swinging. But the tendency when you get a short shot, is that you’ll be more conscious with hitting the golf ball too hard to the point that you kind of freeze midway through the swing.
With that in mind, don't worry about distance control initially, get the strike first, backwards and forwards. If you put a premium on hitting the golf ball perfectly, your accuracy will go up significantly. Once you become more confident with your strike, then you can allow your shoulders and arms to swing a little bit less—and everything else will fall into place.
So, in summary, these are the three things that you should focus on to improve your short game. The first thing is the setup. You want to take advantage of the fact that we don't need power chipping, so you want to have more of a pendulum action to create more accuracy.
The second thing we wanted to focus on was, we want to try to create a naturally flowing motion through the chip shot. Many golfers emphasize so much on trying to hit the golf ball hard, that they kind of become stationary and stiff. You want to have this natural flow through the hitting area, where the arms continue to keep flowing through the swing.
The third thing—which is kind of linked to the aforementioned tip—involves the striking rhythm. Because a lot of golfers are nervous about how hard they hit the shot, they're concerned about distance control. Sometimes they slow down midway though the swing, often times they speed up. You want to create a very constant rhythm, a nice flow to the shot, no sudden hit or slow down. In other words, you’ll drastically increase your shot accuracy by improving the quality and the rhythm of your strike.