Golf is one of the greatest and most relaxing sports that man has invented. There are few things more enjoyable than spending a day at the course with your friends and catching up over 18 holes. Unfortunately, when things go wrong, golf can also be one of the most frustrating experiences in the world.
Few things are more frustrating than getting stuck in a bunker or just seeming unable to make your way to the putting green. This is where the short game comes in.
While you may feel entirely proficient when it comes to driving and putting, what about your short game? While many players tend to focus most of their efforts in practice on putting and improving their swing at the driving range, few take the effort to put the same amount of work into their short game.
This may be due to the highly situational nature of your short game, but there are times on the course where we guarantee that you will wish you had put just a little more effort into practicing it.
The short game is generally where most beginner golf players make most of their mistakes, but it is also easy for a veteran to get caught up in the vicious cycle of failing regarding short game. Both chipping and escaping from hazards are part of your short game, and while these two parts of the game are some of the toughest to master, they are also incredibly satisfying to pull off.
We will go over some of the more important tips to ensuring that your short game is as good as it can be.
When most beginner players end up getting trapped in a bunker, their immediate reaction is to panic. This is the worst thing you can do as you will tense up and it will ruin your swing more than the sand could ever hope to.
The key to making your way out of a bunker and getting back on course is to simply maintain the fluidity of your swing, as if you were just chipping normally. While your stance will obviously have to account for the instability of the sand, it is not quite such a big difference. It is also important to keep your hands soft while you are taking your swing, allowing your club to make natural contact with the golf ball.
While many players choose to focus on their driving, thinking that as long as they can drive well, they will have no reason to end up in a hazard, it helps to always be prepared. Perhaps a sudden gust of wind may blow your ball off course into a bunker. Perhaps you pulled your swing at the last moment.
Regardless of the reason, you will eventually end up in a hazard if you play any meaningful amount of golf, so it helps to be ready in case the worst occurs.
In the next part of our golf instruction guide, we will go over how to make the most out of your chipping opportunities. While chipping is generally not as difficult as getting out of sand bunkers, you will find that good chipping is almost an art form. The best golfers are defined not by their driving, but by their short game and their putting above all else.
Chipping is no exception to this rule, and with proper practice and effort, you can easily improve your chipping to the point that your friends will have a hard time beating you. The first of our chipping tips is to always maintain the position of your arms through the motion of your swing.
While this is natural to do during any swing, we tend to notice that beginners hinge their arms too much while making a chip shot and generally do not make solid enough contact.
You want to hinge your wrists instead of your arms when you are hitting a chip shot as this allows you to transfer the momentum of your swing to the ball without jarring your wrists. To chip effectively, you must get the head of your club underneath the ball.
The most important of the short game tips we can give you in these situations is to ensure that the head and shaft of your club are aligned at the instant just before you hit the ball.
Once the ball is hit, the head of your club should be angled in front of the shaft, like a pendulum motion. This ensures that you will get plenty of loft in your chip shots. This is one of the more important aspects of a chip shot as a ball without enough loft will simply impact the ground in front of it and result in a wasted stroke.
Out of all of our golf chipping tips and short game advice, it is important to remember that the point of golf is to have fun. While it can get frustrating when a game isn't going your way, it always helps to remember why you are out on the golf course in the first place. Enjoy your day and try not to let the game get to you.
You can always improve your set of golfing skills over time, but letting yourself get aggravated with the game is just a way of cheating yourself out of enjoying golf. Since golf has such a steep learning curve, it is important not to let yourself get discouraged and to bear with the game.
We hope that our tips on improving your short game have helped you understand what you may be able to change up in your play style. While it certainly takes practice, making use of this advice is a great first step in the right direction.