[Video] Improve your short game with these 3 tough shots

Since the installation of my amazing putting green I wander outside at around 4.30pm each day for some golf practice. And almost always I take my 60 degree lobby and do some short game practice. This is an area of the game that I definitely neglected, and if I had my time again I’d spend more time chipping and pitching.

And I don’t practice the easy shots. I always go for the hard stuff, believing that if I can get any sort of mastery with the tough shots, the easy ones will become, well, easy. It also makes the practice fun and challenging. A few minutes turns into an hour and I’m regularly still trying stuff and experimenting as it gets dark. Here are three shots you should practice to see your short game improve. See the video below for the full story:

The short chip: This looks easy but it isn’t. You need to be precise and make perfect contact to get a result. If you hit the ball fat, even a tiny bit, it won’t get onto the green. In fact, you probably won’t move the ball. If you hit it thin, it will go way past the hole. So it’s an awesome shot to hone you chipping technique and really push you. When you can hit these tiny chips well, you’ll find it easier with the more standard length shots.

More: If you were on the golf course you may not chip if you were so close to the green. Chances are you’d putt the ball from the fringe and move on. But the point of this exercise is to push and force yourself to learn better chipping skills.

Short, high lob shot: I love this shot. After finishing most days I have divots strewn all over the place. I have deliberately left the grass at the back of my green long, further adding to the difficulty. My goal here is to get the ball up quickly, get it to fly the mound and then stop as quickly as possible. It’s a tough shot and it will require some practice to get it right. But when the shot comes off, it really is an impressive one.

More: Again, the goal here isn’t to use this shot all the time. In many instances, when you’re on the golf course, a standard chip and run will work better. The lob is a high risk shot, but if you want to improve you need to push yourself harder and further. And when you can successfully hit this shot, almost all the others will seem easy in comparison.

Bunker shot under the lip: This is another favourite. When my green and bunker were getting installed I requested a decent lip on the bunker and a hole location close to the edge. The installer’s son was worried I wouldn’t be able to stop the ball with such a tight pin position, but this is what I wanted as a serious challenge. A standard shot from a bunker is quite easy – really, it is.

But when you’re under the lip, things get harder. You need to make proper contact with the sand and ensure you get enough loft on the ball. Another thing: many golfers get worried about banging the club into the face of the bunker. Don’t. Let the club smack into the face and don’t stress about it. And like the other shots, when you can hit a high, soft and short bunker shot, you’ll find all the other “easier” shots much easier.

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