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Golf lessons: short game

6 December 2012

Over his years of training out on the golf course Dave Stockton has shown that seeing your short game differently is one of the quickest ways to knock strokes off your handicap. With his sons he teaches just 2 simple strokes that can work in any situation and whether amateur or pro golfer, can improve your short play.

Low chip shot:

  • Address
    The feet are close together and turned 45 degrees toward the target, and the weight is mostly on the lead foot. The ball position is under the right armpit, and the body posture is tall.
  • Backswing
    Pull the club straight back from the target with the back of the right hand, and feel the right wrist give slightly–not fully hinge. The hands stay low and quiet going back.
  • Impact
    Just as in putting, the back of the left hand leads the club toward the target. The arms are an extension of the golf club, and there’s no hit or lift in the stroke. The ball just gets in the way.
  • Finish
    Angling the feet toward the hole makes it easier to create a slight lower-body pivot in the downswing. The upper body stays quiet and is pulled through by the pivot, and the club finishes low.

High Pitch Shot:

  • Address
    Feet are angled as with the low chip, but the stance is slightly wider, the knees have more flex, and the ball is just inside the shirt logo. The weight is forward, the shaft straight up and the face open.
  • Backswing
    Feel as if you’re taking the club away with the thumb and index finger of the right hand, and let the clubhead’s weight pull the right wrist into a full hinge. The weight is mostly on the front foot.
  • Impact
    Pivot through impact, and keep the right hand moving palm up at the target while the left hand stops at its address position. It should feel like a 75-percent version of your full swing.
  • Finish
    Sling the clubhead on a vertical plane directly in front of the chest, and ride the momentum to a full finish. The club finishes high and in front, not pulled around and down near the left hip.

Adapted from Unconscious Scoring: Dave Stockton’s Guide to Saving Shots Around the Green by Dave Stockton with Matthew Rudy. Copyright © 2012 by Dave Stockton. Original reference Golf Digest.