Recently I have asked quite a few golfers what they believe is the most important part of a good short game. Most say that the answer is creativity, and I have to say that I definitely agree.
You may face many different situations around the green; each one is new and challenging and no single shot or technique will suffice. Instead of just giving you a new technique, I want to open your mind to being more creative and show you benefits this will have for your game.
What I often see with golfers around the green is that they position the ball back in the stance and place their hands in front of the club head, which delofts the club and leads to powerful shots that come off the face quickly. This is great for some shots around the green, but not so ideal for others. My challenge for you is to try to hit some higher shots from around the putting surface, and monitor the results.
If your ball flight is low with deep divots and the club head is digging down into the turf, you won’t be comfortable with some shots. It’s often said that you should try to use the bounce of the club, which will allow you to hit higher shots without digging.
But what is this “bounce?”
Think of the efficient action of a speedboat gliding through the waves. Then think about what would happen if that boat nosedived into the water. Just like a speedboat uses its bottom curvature to glide through the water, golfers should use the curvature of the soles of their wedges to allow the clubs to glide through the turf.
Imagine a ball sitting on a putting green. If you place your hands in front of the club, the sharp leading edge (the most forward part of the club) is now pointing into the ground. This is a recipe for deep divots, low shots and the lowest margin for error in terms of contact.
Here’s what I mean by lowest margin of error: If contact is one inch behind the ball, the sharp edge will dig in and the result will not be pretty. If the club is played in a more neutral position, however, and the strike is one inch behind the ball again, the result is a lot more manageable. Instead of the leading edge digging, the bounce will come into play, which will keep the club from digging as much and increase margin of error.
The next time you are around a green at your club, place your left hand behind your back and grip onto the club with just your right hand. Make a few swings trying to just graze the ground with the club as if you were playing a shot from on the green. Of course, taking a divot would not go down too well with the green keepers of the course, so the only way to avoid this is to use the bounce of the club, which right-hand only swings will help you feel.
This advice is NOT for everyone though. If you currently have a bit of a “scoopy” chipping action, this is not for you. However, I would encourage all golfers to experiment with hitting all kinds of shots around the green. The feeling of hitting a low shot is often enough for a “scoopy” impact position golfer to add another shot to their locker.
Now go and increase your creativity!