|SHORT GAME SHOT||COMMENT||ON-LINE TIPS|
|Pitch||General term for a ball that flies high and has little roll||The Golf Channel's "Academy"-- Golf Tips [Short Game]|
|Full pitch shot||Full swing with lob, sand or pitching wedge.||The Golf Channel's "Academy"-- Golf Tips [Short Game]|
|Partial pitch shot||Partial swing with wedge; distance depends largely on length of back swing and follow through. One of the most difficult shots in golf.||The Golf Channel's "Academy"-- Golf Tips [Short Game]|
|Lob shot||Partial swing with wedge; ball goes high and short distance, with little or no roll. Useful when your ball is near the green and there is a hazard in the way.||The Golf Channel's "Academy"-- World of Golf-- Golf Tips [Short Game]|
|Chip shot||Used within yards of the green, with no intervening hazard; ball in air 1/2 or less of the total distance and rolls the rest of the way. Can use any iron, depending on distance you want the ball to roll.||The Golf Channel's "Academy"-- Golf Tips [Short Game]|
|Sand shot around the green||Usually with sand wedge; always hit sand first, so that ball leaves bunker along with the sand.||The Golf Channel's "Academy"-- Ben Crenshaw Tips-- Golf Tips [Short Game]|
|Putt||See Step 7||The 19th Hole-- Ben Crenshaw Tips-- The Golf Channel's "Academy"-- Golf Tips [Short Game]|
Golf pros and top amateurs have always understood the importance of the short game. That's how they win tournaments. All pros and top amateurs can drive the ball well, even if not long. Thus they hit a large percentage of "greens in regulation." And when they don't hit greens, they come awfully close -- usually ending up in a bunker or near by grass. The difference between winning and losing, in most cases, is the short game (including putting). Putting is so special I have devoted Step 7 to it.
Hackers and high handicappers have rarely grasped the importance of the short game, partly because it is seldom taught or emphasized to them. I speak from experience and observation. In the first few years I was so fixated on "hitting the ball," particularly off the tee, that I seldom practiced the short game on driving ranges, and no instructor really emphasized it. Out of three week-long golf schools we attended, the majority of the time was spent on the full swing -- and nobody complained. High handicappers want to learn to hit the ball long and straight (and who can blame us?).
In the golf schools practically all of the short game shots were covered, of course. But there are so many different shots (see Table above) that one can't cover them reasonably in a week's instruction. Also, only practice will make a short shot repeatable, and practice is what you do after golf school (or after an individual lesson).
We have also been told by teachers that "all swings are the same; learn the full swing and you've learned the others." To which I would now reply: "yea, if you started playing at age 8 and hit a zillion golf balls." The fact is, the short game is different than the full swing: in feel, in finesse, in tempo, in stance, in practicaly everything. The fact is, the short game must be approached as a separate discipline in teaching golf.
This is now widely recognized, and represents a subtle shift in teaching emphasis. There is a spate of new books devoted to the short game (see Golf Bibliography). Now in any general instruction book, you will find short game emphasis as well, as the following quotes attest:
Break 100 Now! From Hacker to Golfer in Just 90 days, by Mike Adams and T.J. Tomasi
"What makes the short game so simple? We didn't say it was simple: we just said it was simpler than a lot of other things in golf. However, the short game is an ideal place to begin the renovation of your game, because it is the area in which you will most quickly and readily observe positive changes in your game. More specifically, you'll start to see some lower numbers in a hurry."
Golf for Women, by Kathy Whitworth
"Although women do not have as much strength as men in their upper bodies, arms, or hands, they can still play with a lot of feel around the green. Women who are good at chip shots and pitch shots can play and score well. I'm a firm believer that if the average player uses the right technique and the right fundamentals, she can learn these shots."
The Elements of Scoring : A Master's Guide to the Art of Scoring Your Best
When You're Not Playing Your Best, by Raymond Floyd
"For the high handicapper, improving the short game is the quickest and easiest way to cut strokes from his game. It's the place you can turn three shots into two. For any player, it's the key to being a scorer."