Chunky Soup or Skull City?

How to Cure Your Short Shot Blues

Roben Sutton, PGA Life Member Golf Instructor, Hilton Head National Golf ClubBy Roben Sutton, PGA Life Member Golf Instructor, Hilton Head National Golf Club

All that work on the range with your big stick is paying off. You're finally driving the ball in the fairway consistently, giving yourself chances to hit greens, or maybe leaving yourself short shots to get up-and-down for par.

But all-too-often you walk off with a double-bogey, or worse, and you're kicking yourself. You've chunked a 25-yard shot 10 yards, or skulled a wedge over the green. How can one shot that should be so easy cause so much pain? 

Is it faulty mechanics or fear of failure? Probably both.

Conquering the fear of failure will come with curing the faulty mechanics. Most people use their hands too much, trying to scoop the ball up. Also, most people move too much, particularly sliding, during chip shots. Try putting most of your weight on your front leg with an open stance (even more open the shorter the shot). Most people are also too far away from the ball. Stand close enough to the ball that your arms, hanging naturally at address, hang straight down, within a hands-width or so of your legs so you're not reaching for the ball. In this position, you can swing the club downward through impact, producing solid contact and backspin.

Now comes the hard part, though it should be the easy part. Relax your arms, and your hands. You know why your club probably doesn't return consistently to the ball? The tension in those forearms and hands. Relax them when you hold the club at address. Now keep them relaxed until you finish your swing. Sound easy? Believe me, its not.

Grab a short iron and head to the practice area. Get into the address position described above. Then, using your front hip as the pivot point, swing the club (with your arms, not your hands) smoothly back and through the ball. Start from 10 yards out, then gradually increase the length of the swing without increasing our effort level or grip pressure. As you it more and more good shots, your confidence will go up and your fear of failure will go down.

We all love to crush the big driver or sink the long putt, but it's the short shots in the scoring zone that will make the difference in your next round.

For more on how to turn your short irons into scoring weapons, or greatly improve the other parts of your game, you can contact Roben Sutton at Hilton Head National or directly at (843) 298-5696.



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