When was the last time you practiced your short game? When was the last time you practiced your short game effectively? Trust me there’s a huge difference.
I taught a lesson recently to a golfer who had been a member here for over 5 years and admitted that he had never used the chipping green! After showing him where the practice green was(!), we started working on his pitching!
This golfer was really struggling with his confidence around the greens. The technique needed some minor tweaks but was generally pretty sound. I felt the problem was mainly with his approach to his short shots. He described how he would immediately admit defeat when he missed a green, knowing that he would have no chance of chipping the ball close enough to have a chance of holing his par putt, especially during competiton play and when under any type of pressure. Alarm bells began to ring in my head, this player’s confidence was low and it needed building up. We hit 30-40 shots, looking at the technique needed for each shot but mainly focusing on how he wanted the ball to land and roll out to the hole. I asked the player to focus on his target and only his target. Out of the shots we hit the vast majority were inside 10 feet, a couple were long and a couple short, only one shot was mishit completely. After looking at this shot pattern it was clear that this player had a great short game, he just needed to practice it more to instill in his head the fact that, with confidence and by focusing on his target there was a great chance of executing the shot well.
The golfer was happy, I could see by his body language and the way he continued to hit these shots that he was getting more and more ‘cocky’ with each strike- adding more loft and flicking flop shots up in the air with a nice bit of spin! As I said before though, the confidence ‘issue’ became more evident when under the cosh- coming down the back 9 in a tight club match, monthly medal or even playing his friends for a friendly £5 bet!
We needed to add more pressure to the situation to get close to recreating a ‘real game’ situation. This is where it got interesting- I made a game with my student. We would have a closest to the pin competition- with a little twist. For every ball that I got closer to the flag than my student I would get £1 added on to the lesson price, for every shot he got closer than me he would get £2 taken off the lesson price. He was up for it and we chose a few different shots to play. This was where I could learn more about the player’s game, I could see the player tense up- he got more cautious in his approach, he reverted back to his old technique, tension crept in to his set up. He knifed his first shot through the green. 1-0. We went to the bunker where a similar thing happened, the player forgot his target- he lost his timing and there was little to no rhythm to his routine.
Now, as I’m hoping you all know, I’m not a mean guy and the idea of adding this pressure was not to add another £10 to the lesson! It was for me to see what happens in a real game situation. This was so valuable to me as a teacher. We were then able to focus on real improvements to the set up, routine and working on seeing the target and letting the short game ‘flow’. You need to learn to love your short game and the approach you take to it. You need to look forward to feeling nervous over a chip shot or 6 foot putt. You need to practice with real pressure on your shoulders.
By adding another dimension to your short game- you can learn to love the chance of showing off around the greens. Think of it as your chance to show how much better you are than the other guys or girls in your group. Be cocky, be a show off and love your short game.
Short game lessons available with Chris right now! Why not book with a friend and save yourself some money? Test yourself against your playing partners by booking a group lesson! £40 for 4 people for 1 hour’s tuition on the pitching green!