Short Game Drills


Preparing for the Season


March 2009



The importance of the short game in golf is severely underrated. During a normal round of golf there will be at least ten opportunities to get up and down from inside 100 yards. If you are at the PGA TOUR level, the average conversion rate to get up and down (to hit the ball on the green and make a one-putt) is 60% for the top players in the world playing their best. For an amateur to reach their playing potential, they should look for the answer in the short game.


The best way to prepare the short game for the upcoming season and keep it sharp during the year is to follow a routine that is proven to produce lower scores. Since every golf hole ends up with a putt, devote 50% of the short game practice to the following putting, chipping, and pitching drills.


Putting Drills

Drill #1: Putt 40, 50, and 60-foot putts until you have made two putts or less from those distances 20 times in a row.


Drill #2: Putt eight-footers with the right hand only until you make three in a row. This will improve your ability to get the ball on line.


Drill #3: Putt with the eyes closed from all distances until ten balls are holed. This will develop speed control and build confidence.


Drill #4: Compete on the putting green with other golfers to simulate pressure. Keep score and remember the best way to become a better putter is to spend time with good putters.


Chipping Drills


Drill # 1: Drop balls in different locations.  Chip with a 6-iron until you hole out three shots.   Repeat this drill with an 8-iron and a pitching wedge.  I call this the Three with Three Chipping Drill.


Drill #2: Practice chipping with a 9-iron using a ten finger grip until holing one ball out. This grip will produce the proper motion of the hands, arms, and club to create better ball contact on all chip shots.


Drill #3: Chip with a 3-iron to develop feel and the ability to control speed consistently.


Pitching Drills


Drill # 1: Practice with a sand wedge and play the ball forward in the stance, then in the middle of the stance, then in the back of the stance.  This develops trajectory control which is essential for being able to fly the ball the correct distance in the air on pitch shots.


Drill #2: Practice pitching with a ten finger grip, as with chipping this maintains the triangle during the swing as well as allows for the proper use of the bounce of the club at impact.


Drill #3: Toss balls underhanded from different locations to learn the trajectory that is required to fly and land the ball to produce the correct amount of roll needed on each shot.


Drill #4: Practice greenside bunker shots with a pitching wedge and then a sand wedge. The pitching wedge from the sand allows the player to properly execute the motion with less loft, making it harder to stop the ball. It will then be much easier to stop the ball with the sand wedge.


These drills are time consuming and I recommend spending no more than 90 minutes per session, two to three times per week. You will be amazed how your scores immediately improve. My new book, Golf Tips from the Tour: Pocket Pro, Tour Proven Secrets Revealed is a great guide to a consistent practice routine and a sure way to improve your golf score!