Building Variety in the Short Game

Do you have enough variety in your short game? Variety meaning the ability to choose almost any shot you can imagine and pull it off with confidence. Here are a few tips on how to shave strokes around the greens. Follow these steps and you’ll notice a drop in your scores!

Rule #1
  • If you don’t have a good chance of getting it close, just make sure you get the ball on the putting surface!
    • The last thing you want is to try a risky shot, end up short, or missing the green, forcing yourself to get up and down on the next attempt to save bogey.
    • Play the high percentage shot. Would you rather have a six to ten footer for par save, or try a shot you haven’t practiced and risk having to hit another chip from the rough or another bunker shot.
Rule #2
  • If you have an opportunity to putt the ball, PUTT IT!
    • Your worst putt will always be better than your worst chip. This goes back to rule #1, you are rarely ever going to miss the green if you have an opportunity to putt from off of the green.
    • Does this mean use the putter in the rough? If you don’t have confidence in your chipping, and there isn’t a substantial amount of rough to negotiate, then YES, give your putter a try.
      • Technique: Feet close together, ball a little further back in your stance, and instead of making a normal putting stroke, hit down slightly on the ball to pop it up and get it rolling.
Rule #3
  • If there is something you have to get the ball over to get it on the green, make that your number 1 focus.
    • Let’s say you have a lot of rough to carry, or a deep/long bunker. Focus on a landing spot on the green and ELIMINATE THE WORDS, “I don’t want to leave this short.” Rather, use the phrase, “I want my ball to land there, so I have a putt at it.”
    • Pick a specific landing spot that will give you an opportunity at a par save on the green, even if it is a fifteen to twenty footer. That’s better than another tough chip or another bunker shot.

Use these three rules as best and as often as you can to take the big numbers out of play and eliminate the doubles and the triples after being next to the green in regulation.

Micheal Midgette, PGA

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