Making Solid Contact in the Short Game
Brian Skena, Certified Personal Coach, GolfTEC North Scottsdale
In order to develop touch around the greens you must start with consistent contact. Making solid contact with the ball first and the ground second is the first step in developing short game shots that will fly a reliable distance with a consistent trajectory.
The two most common misses in the short game are hitting fat (ground first) or hitting thin (leading edge of the club making contact high on the ball). These are in fact the same miss! Both fat and thin shots occur because the angle of attack into the ball is too shallow and the swing arc bottoms out before the ball.
|If you’re experiencing these misses a good place to start would be checking your ball position. In a basic pitch you’ll want to locate the ball in the center of your stance equidistant between the ankles.||In a basic chip the ball position will be just inside your rear ankle.|
Assuming appropriate ball position, if you’re still experiencing fats and thins you’ll now
need to identify the physical fault that’s causing the club to shallow out before the ball.
Our angle of attack can become shallow through one or more of these three
primary physical faults:
|a. weight hanging back on the rear foot||b. casting or flipping the club with the wrists|
|c. a swing path that is too far inside out.|
Identifying the physical faults you exhibit will allow you to zero in on the fix.
- Ensure your weight remains on the front side during short game shots, weight only transfers to the rear foot during your power swings and these are finesse swings.
- Work with a “Punisher Club” to get the handle leading through impact. You can hold an alignment stick in line with your grip so the stick is positioned to your left side at address. If you flip your hands through impact, the “Punisher” will hit you in your rips reminding you to keep the handle leading through impact.
- Lay a club along the target line from a ball. The club should be approx 1-2” from the ball, with the ball centered on the shaft of the club on the group. The grip end should be along your swing path. Practice taking swings without hitting the club on the ground.
What about deceleration you ask? Can’t that also be a cause of thins and fats? Deceleration is more likely linked to fear. Fear that you’ll hit your next short game shot fat or thin, fear that you’re going to hit it too far, or fear that you won’t hit it far enough. When you learn to make solid contact and develop your touch, the fear will dissipate, leaving you with nothing but confidence around the greens.
Brian Skena, PGA
Certified Personal Coach with GolfTEC, N. Scottsdale