Are you struggling to find consistency with your piching and chipping? Short game is a difficult area to master, but you may be setting up to the shot completely wrong. Check out this short game masterclass from Class AA PGA Professional James Whittemore of Wellingborough Golf Club, Northamptonshire.
In the second video of the new GolfMagic instruction series, James explains where a lot of amateur golfers go wrong around the greens and how you can improve your technique to start getting the ball a lot closer to the hole with a wedge in your hand...
JAMES' TOP SHORT GAME TIPS
1) PITCHING: When playing pitch shot from around the 30-yard mark, it's a personal choice which wedge you go with, but it's important to pick something with a good amount of loft, which is why personally I like to go with a 56 degree. A few common techniques that I think are a bit of a myth and actually cause a lot more bad shots than good ones, is having the ball back in the stance. Putting the ball right at your back foot when trying to play this type of shot can cause the leading edge of the club to just get stuck in the ground, meaning you simply chunk it a few yards in front of you. I like to stand with a fairly narrow stance with the ball more towards the middle, with about 70% of my weight on my leading foot and I grip down on the club a little bit. Something that helps create a smooth stroke is thinking to repeat the same distance on your follow through as you have made in your backswing. Momentum may cause you to go a little further but that's okay, this is more for the feel and will help maintain a good rhythm. Your arms and chest should stay connected in an upside down triangle and this shape should be maintained throughout the shot. A lot of bad shots are caused by getting a bit 'armsy' where golfers stop moving their body and just swing with the arms. Maintain that shape, keep that triangle connected and your chest should be facing towards the target at the end of your follow thorugh.
2) CHIPPING: A lot of people get confused between a pitch shot and a chip shot. The main difference is with the set up. With a pitch shot, you're looking to get the ball in the air and typically it's from a little further away, using the technique I just explained. With a chip shot, it's about keeping the ball a little lower and allowing it to chase towards the pin. We want to stand closer to the ball, picking the club up slightly so that the heel is off the ground and the toe is closer to the ground. We still want to stay connected and move our chest through the shot, as we do with the pitch shot, but because of our set up we are limiting the backswing which helps us to keep it lower.
3) FLOP: This is a great shot to have in the locker but a difficult one to execute. The lie dictates whether we can play the flop shot as you need a pretty good lie to get the club underneath the ball. Take your most lofted club in the bag, that part is crucial. In the set up, we need to stand with our feet aiming left of our target, but to make sure the ball doesn't go that way, we need to open the face. To pull off the flop shot you need to commit to the shot and swing across your feet line, meaning you're cutting across the ball and straight underneath it.
Stay tuned for more great tips from James Whittemore in his new instruction series for GolfMagic throughout September.