Short Game Practice Fun

If any golfer is honest with him or herself, he or she would admit that it is the short game that tacks strokes onto their score.  Yet it’s probably what he or she practices the least, right?  I’m speaking in generalities here and clearly I don’t mean to imply there are no exceptions. I’m just saying what is generally true from what I’ve observed.

At the driving range, time and again I see guys, and it is pretty much just men, get out a wedge, maybe a seven iron, hit one or two and then boom – out comes the driver for 50 more balls.  Cracks me up.  I hit driver the least in practice and in my game, it’s turning out to be one of my more consistent shots.  I’ve battled through my righties and slices and I’m starting to stripe my tee shots more times than not.

But it’s all in the short game.  I’ll just speak for myself here: it’s all in the short game – all the extra strokes.  I’ve got another match play round coming up next Wednesday against a much tougher opponent and I’ve seen her chip.  She chips for one-putts and I have to be ready to answer to that.

So I’ve been spending more time on the practice green at my course.  It’s an oval shaped green with two flags and a slight break, bordered on the front and side by about 80 or so yards of fairway cut grass and best of all, it is tucked away off the sixth hole in a location where not a lot of people practice on it.  Only residents of the surrounding neighborhood and club members have access but hardly anyone uses it.  I love it because I have the place to myself!

How To REALLY Improve My Short Game

Hitting pitch after pitch, chip after chip, putt after putt doesn’t, I’ve discovered, do much for my game.  I get into a robotic zone and lose focus.  It just doesn’t mean anything.  I can hit 40 good shots in a row in practice and then out on the course when it counts, I blow it.  Everything has to have consequences when I’m practicing – especially in the short game.

I devised a fun little game to make chipping and putting not only more fun but beneficial to my growth as a golfer.  By no means do I claim that this is an original idea.  I’ve read and heard all kinds of descriptions of similar variations on the same theme.  In addition, this particular game is such that you can only play when you pretty much have a green to yourself.  So not everyone is going to have this luxury.

I pitch nine balls out in different directions around the green and decide which flag I’m going to for the front nine and which for back nine.  Each ball pitched out is a lie wherever it lands, and I always put one in the sand trap.  I give myself a pitch or chip on and two putts for par.  (When I get better, I’ll change it to only one putt for par but I’m not consistently getting close enough for that yet).

I can’t tell you how fun this is!  Yes it’s tiresome pitching or chipping on, walking to the green, laying my pitching or sand wedge down, picking up my putter then going to where the ball is – but it is totally worth it.  After I hole it, I have a location to lag putt the ‘played’ balls toward and that way I keep count of how many holes I’ve played.  It’s great for lag putt practice too!  I can already see improvement – especially in my chipping which is where I needed it most.

Using this ‘game’ I can play 18 holes in about 20 to 30 minutes!

~Jillian

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