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  Category: Articles » Sports & Recreation » Golf » Article

Short Game Secrets That Will Change the Way You Shoot from Inside 50 Yards

By Bobby Eldridge

In the next 15 minutes, I am going to change the way you play your shots from inside 50 yards. If you spend 15 minutes before every round of golf on these four tips, I guarantee you the strokes will fall off your scorecard.

We are going to cover putting, chipping, pitching and bunker shots. Before I get to my four short-game secrets I need to lay a little groundwork first.

From the putting green in front of the clubhouse at Ft. Myers Country Club, where I grew up playing, to the practice putting green at Starfire Golf Club, and all points in between, for 35 years, I have heard the same problem. "I putted so poorly today. If I had putted halfway decent I would have shot my best round ever!"

But…every time I pass the practice putting green where I teach, ALMOST NOBODY is practicing before they tee off. But here's the thing- every single professional golfer spends at least 15 minutes - 1 hour on the practice putting green before they tee off. That's not the tip. I just wanted you to get an idea of the time that it takes to get better.

IMPORTANT TIP: 90% of all putting greens in the world are built low in the front and high in the back. There are two reasons, in case you are wondering.

First, it holds the shots that are coming onto the green and secondly for drainage purposes. The reason I am telling you the greens are built low in the front and high in the back is for you to
understand the idea that the majority of putts hit from the front of the green going to the back are going to be slower than putts hit from the back of the green going towards the front.

Since this is true, when you are facing the green, putts from the right side of the green will have a tendency to break to the left and putts from the left side of the green will have a tendency to break right. With this idea in mind lets move on to my TOP FOUR SHORT GAME SECRETS!

Secret #1: Putting – Focus on Distance not Direction

Do you know why most amateurs three-putt more times on their first nine holes than their last nine holes? By the time they get to the last nine they have the feel of the greens! My colleagues have always agreed that in order to become a great putter you must have the ability to read greens. However, I have always believed you must also have GREAT TOUCH.

I have just given you an incredible tip. You have to develop your touch in order to control your speed. I can not tell you how many times I have asked an amateur golfer after they hit their putt if they thought the putt was going uphill or downhill. Most amateurs reply with, "I completely forgot about the speed!" Most of them struggle more with speed more than direction. So how do you apply this advice?

Always look towards the front of the green so you can decide if you are going uphill or downhill.
Empty your mind of every mechanical thought you have and just stroke the ball. FORGET the mechanics when putting.
Don't ever hit a putt until you have visualized your golf ball going into the hole first. Make it in your mind before you hit it.
Secret #2: Chipping – Keep Your Weight on your Front Foot in the Backswing

A chip shot is a short shot around the green that has minimum airtime and maximum roll time. Another way to describe it is 1/3 air, 2/3 roll. You can use one of the following clubs when chipping: 5-iron, 7-iron or 9-iron. Common complaints that I receive from amateurs about chipping are that they top the ball, hit the ball thin, hit the ground behind the ball, blade the ball over the green or completely shank the ball.

The mis-played shots I just described to you are usually the result of an incorrect set-up. There are three positions in chipping that are the foundation of a successful chip shot. Let's review them:

The golf ball should be positioned in the middle of your stance
Place 75% of your weight on your left foot (right-handed golfers)
The grip end of the golf club points to the middle of your left leg.
Grip down on the golf club to the END of the grip.
The reason you want the golf ball in the middle of your stance is for a more consistent impact. If you place the golf ball too far forward in your stance, you will have a tendency to hit the ball thin, or top the ball and you will pull the ball to the left. If you play the ball too far back in your stance, you will have a tendency to top or shank the ball and push it to the right.

When you place 75% of your weight on your left foot, you are ensuring yourself that you will hit down on the ball and not up. Make sure you keep the weight on your front foot in the back swing.

Gripping down on the golf club will ensure a cleaner more controlled hit at impact. If you are struggling with hitting thin shots or topping your chips, when you move your handle further to the left (across from you left leg), you will allow the clubhead to hit the ball on a descending blow and not ascending.

Secret #3: Pitching – The Clubhead must Stay Low to the Ground After Impact

Choose one of the following clubs when you attempt a pitch shot: pitching wedge, sand wedge or a lob wedge. A pitch shot has maximum air time and minimum roll time. In other words, the golf ball has 2/3 air time and 1/3 roll on its journey to the hole. Just the opposite of a chip shot.

Airtime is very difficult to create if your technique is off even in the slightest. So, if you are tired of topping, sculling, and hitting the ground behind the golf ball when you pitch, this is the pearl for you.

Low Follow-Through = Maximum Airtime

If I had a dollar for every amateur that told me that they are trying to follow-through high after impact so that their pitch shots will go up in the air, I would be set for life.

Most of the time, a high follow-through after impact will force the ball to be hit on the upswing which results in a top, scull or ground-behind shot. If you setup to the golf ball just like you were going to chip, you are halfway there. Remember:

The golf ball should be positioned in the middle of your stance
Place 75% of your weight on your front foot
The grip end of the golf club points to the middle of your front leg.
Place your grip HALFWAY down the grip of the club
The back swing is usually longer than your chip shots. If you keep your weight on your left leg - you DO NOT need to transfer your weight. As the golf club begins to swing down into the ground, make sure you follow thru LOW to the ground after impact. You want to feel as though you chopped the back of the ball with the club head.

Secret #4: Bunker Play – The Backswing is a Full Swing Just Like Your Driver

This tip will help you sleep well the night before a big golf tournament. Your ability to play successfully from the sand weighs heavily on technique and a small amount on strength. If your technique is correct, you do not need to have a lot of strength. The two mistakes that hold amateurs back in the bunker are a line drive hit or leaving the ball in the bunker.

Most of the time they are afraid to swing too hard because they are afraid of the line drive shot. So, you end up swinging so slow that the ball only moves two feet. First and foremost, set up correctly.

The golf ball should be positioned across from you left heel
Place 75% of your weight on your front foot
The grip-end of the golf club points to your BELT BUCKLE.
Do not transfer any weight. Stay on your front leg. What you are trying to do in the bunker is hit the sand not the ball. This setup will ensure that this happens.

The reason you play the ball across from your left heal is so the clubhead will swing DOWN into the sand at impact and not up.

Placing weight on your left foot ensures the clubhead swings down at the bottom of the swing. Placing the handle of the club across from your belt buckle allows the bounce on the bottom of the clubhead to impact the sand at the correct angle.

I promised you in the first sentence, these four short game tips that would change the way you played from inside 50 yards. Make yourself a promise to spend 15 minutes before every round this year practicing your short game and you WILL watch your scores fall.

Again, my name is Bobby Eldridge and I am the Head Professional at My one and only goal is to make you a better golfer this season.
About the Author
Bobby Eldridge is the Head Instructor for the PurePont Golf Academy where he teaches "The Simple Golf Swing" theory. You can check out PurePoint Golf instructional DVDs at

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