We would all love to see our approach shots land safely on the green. However, even the top professional players fail to hit every green so it is little wonder amateurs find themselves with short shots to the green.
The importance of having a good short game cannot be underestimated. It can be the difference between walking away from a hole with a par or something worse. What are the shots you need to master in order to have a good short game?
Perhaps the most important short game shot is the pitch. The pitch shot is essentially much like taking a full swing shot only the distance the ball travels is a lot shorter. The only difference between a pitch shot and a standard iron shot is the takeaway and you will only to take the club back until it is parallel with the ground. The rest of the shot remains similar.
When the ball is on the fairway, it is possible to get good height on a pitch shot and keep the ball under control. You can play a pitch shot from between 40 and 50 yards from the green.
If you are close to the green but putting is not an option, this is where you can turn to the chip shot. The chip shot involves keeping the ball low and allowing it to role towards the hole. You can play this shot when the ball is on or close to the fringe of the green but the grass makes it difficult to control or there is an obstacle between the ball and the green.
You should not use the most lofted club to play this shot, as you want to keep the ball low. Something like a 7 iron is fine but you can practice using this club plus the 8 and 9 iron. Doing this will give you a feel of height and distance with each club. Being able to control the distance of the chip shot is the most important factor.
The third and final short game shot you need to master is from the bunker. In most cases, greens are protected by bunkers so there will come a time when you need to play a short shot out of a bunker and onto the putting surface.
To play this shot you can use the sand wedge, which has been designed to make hitting the ball out the bunker easier. The club will slide through the sand without getting stuck. To play the bunker shot successfully, you will need to keep the club face open and be prepared to swing the club at a good speed.
As you do not want the ball to travel a long way, it is tempting to play the shot tentatively. If you do that, the ball will not get out of the bunker. You must commit to the shot and strike the sand before the ball to escape. How far ahead of the ball you strike the sand is determined by the distance you want the ball to travel.