Short game

Andy Roberts's picture
Mon, 30 Jan 2017

6. Work on your short game

I cannot stress this point enough.

The short game (shots from within 100 yards of the flag) is the single-most important aspect of your game. Your wedge will be the club you turn to most outside of your putter, and it will typically make a 4 to 5 stroke difference in your game every single round.


Every time I go to the driving range, I set aside at least 15 minutes to practice greenplay (anything within 15 yards of the pin. I also take time to practice with my wedge at distances between 50 and 100 yards.

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The point of practicing your short game is that it allows you to make mistakes during your drive or fairway play without it costing you on your scorecard. Even if you miss the green by 30 yards, a good wedge shot will let you tap home a par on most holes.


The best players in the world can generally hit a 5-foot target from anywhere within 100 yards. You don’t have to be that good. However, a fun little game is to practice hitting your target within a 10th of the distance you are shooting.

For example, if you are aiming at a target 100 yards away, aim to be within 10 yards of it. If it is 50 yards away, try to get to within 5 yards of it. By narrowing down your target in this way, you will get a feel for the power required for different distances from the pin.

In addition, learning to hit into an area rather than at a specific target will serve you well when you take to the course, since the best shot is rarely directly at the pin.

Pro Tip:

Be patient. Your short game is going to be the single-most challenging aspect of your game to practice.

Unlike driving and fairway irons, which are based on technique, your short game will require you to learn the “feel” of each shot.

This can only happen through experience, so don’t feel discouraged when it takes you longer to learn than how to hit your drives straight. The worst mistake you can make as a developing golfer is to neglect your short game.

Remember the old golf adage: Drive for show, putt for dough.

Use at least half of your time on the range practicing shots of 100 yards or less. Your scorecard will thank you for it.


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