“I would say that most great players first become good at getting the ball in the hole, at the short game. They later they refine their full swings.” Dr. Bob Rotella in Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect
The other side of this that is not being said? “I would say that most of the struggling players out there are not good at getting the ball in the hole, their short game sucks and that they spend ALL their time refining their long game.” – Catherine Behan
Where do you fall on the spectrum? I met a young golf professional recently who reported that one of her colleagues on the LPGA tour who practices her short game FIVE TO SIX HOURS A DAY. Imagine that. Of course, she is making her living in golf and is depending on her skills to feed her family. Not many amateur players have that kind of pressure on their shoulders.
And yet, have you noticed how distraught certain players … maybe even you … get when the doggone ball won’t do what you want it to do? I once saw a male friend of mine literally beat his golf umbrella to death on the fairway after a missed shot. His practice routine? Ten to twelve quick swings on the range before running to the first tee.
If you are serious about lowering your score, take a lesson from the pros and carve out a different sort of practice routine than you are used to. I know it seems weird but, put your long clubs back in the bag and spend at lease one full practice session a week on your short game. Here is an example of how to create a practice session that will get results:
1. Start with your putting: Place five balls around the hole at the 2 to 2 1/2 foot length. Make all five and then move the circle out another foot or so. Decide that you will create a new sense of confidence on putts within 4 feet. Making yourself make all five putts before you advance puts just enough pressure on you to absorb your practice time and make it stick!
2. Chip with unusual clubs: Practicing chipping is always fruitful! Take your eight iron and your lob wedge and watch how differently the ball behaves when it lands and rolls. Once you experience great success with your stroke, then try chipping with your three wood. Then, put your ball right up next to the fringe and belly the shot with your sand wedge. Mix it up and make it fun. Do you think Tiger Woods is lucky with his short game? I think not! He sets up crazy shots and sticks with it until he has a shot to solve the problem
3. Challenge a buddy to chip and putt for money or lunch: My adorable hubby and I have the BEST putting and chipping contests. We frequently practice INSTEAD of playing golf. I think that is a big key about how strong both of our games are. We have such a great time together and he loves teaching me new shots around the green. When you create FUN and COMPETITION in your practice routine, you will be astounded at how your score will drop!
If playing professionals DEPEND on their ability to get the ball in the hole, wouldn’t it behoove you to put a little time into that part of YOUR game? If you catch yourself complaining about your score … choose to do something about it! Practice really does pay off. You know that is true so why are you not taking action?