Golf is a difficult game!
It is even more difficult when we can’t hit simple pitches or chip shots and struggle with putting.
There are many different reasons why someone might have a poor short game.
(Reasons and Solutions below)
The good news is that it doesn’t take great athletic ability, a ton of strength or size and you can become proficient with the short game with some basic technique and some time invested around the practicing green.
From the time I was a 10 year old playing golf, the short game has been something I enjoy working on and I also see the benefits pay off. Saving par when you miss a great in regulation often feels great and gives you a positive outlook headed to the next hole.
Why Is My Short Game So Bad in Golf?
The most common reasons for a bad short game include: lack of practice, poor technique, poor intention, wrong club selection or too much speed due to excessive wrist hinge.
#1 Lack of Practice
To get good at anything, it takes practice. This is especially true in the game of golf. Most people can’t show up to the golf course and be “naturals” like it can happen in other sports. There is a certain level of knowledge and practice that it takes to at least be proficient at the game (break 90) and even more time to be skilled at the game (break 80). There are few golfers that actual every shoot par or better (as little as 1% of golfers).
The great news is that some time around the practice green can produce some quick results in your game improvement journey. Nobody wants to continue to be the worst golfer in the group or never show signs of improvement!
Solution: Use a variety of practice games and drills around the practice green to keep it interested.
- Here are some practice games you can use with all of your practice sessions!
- 11 Golf Drills for Chipping
#2 Poor Technique
The chipping motion does not need to be complicated. For many of the most simple shots, it can be an extended putting stroke. The golfer doesn’t need to use a significant wrist hinge as speed is not a necessity to hit short game shots and in fact can be a major determent in your journey to play your best golf.
The biggest faults are typically too long of a backswing, too quick of a transition or fear or hitting the ball too far or too short. Find your simple motion, work it back and through and stay patient through the shot.
If you are struggling, try to focus on a target and make a more natural motion to get the ball headed in the right direction.
Solution: Find your simple motion. If you are still struggling, check out the posts below!
#3 Poor Intention
Too many golfers are trying to hit the ball too high and fly it to the hole vs getting the ball on the green and allowing it to head out. Until you become skilled at the short game, keep it simple and get the ball on the green with a chance to make the putt.
You don’t need to hit hero shots rarely on your game improvement journey, instead hit the boring shot, give yourself a chance and watch your opportunities for par putts get better and better.
Solution: Keep it simple! Don’t overcomplicate the process. Clean contact, leads to quality distance control and leaves you within a 10-15 foot circle on most chip shots!
#4 Wrong Club Selection
Too many golfers do not have a quality sand wedge or lob wedge that they can hit a high percentage of their shots around the green with. Old wisdom might have told you to hit the pitching wedge, but I am going to tell you to use a sand wedge or lob wedge. The reason being is that greens are faster and firmer than ever.
Not having enough loft leads to many other issues such as the ball running off the green and the golfer needing great precision to execute the shot. Loft is your friend, just don’t get carried away with trying to hit every shot as a flop shot. Instead, utilize the loft and even deloft the club at times, but leave enough to give yourself a chance!
Solution: Learn more below about the best option for your game!
#5 Too Much Speed or Excessive Wrist Hinge
I would recommend checking out professional golfers like Jason Day or Steve Stricker. They have simple and easy to replicate chipping motion that can get you headed in the right direction. Excessive wrist hinge or using the leading edge like Phil Mickelson can lead to a disaster for many amateurs. Instead, keep it simple, you do not need much speed and get the ball onto the green.
Solution: Use a simple arm and body movement and eliminate the wrist hinging from your most basic chip shots.
Next Steps: Head to the Practice Green
Let’s go! Are we finally ready to have a decent short game! The bottom line is that it takes practice. The good news is that it doesn’t take great physical attributes to be a great short game player. Instead, it takes time and dedication to building a system that works for you.
Something that will stand strong under the pressure of a tournament round of a chip that might help you win even the smaller dollar amounts in a fun bet with your playing partners!
My Secret To Golf Improvement
Let’s face it, in order to get really good at golf, we must practice frequently. About five years ago, I made the leap and invested in a golf simulator build for my garage. I went with a SkyTrak Launch Monitor and the TGC software and can now play over 100,000 courses including Augusta, Pebble Beach, Bethpage Black, Whistling Straits. St. Andrews and many other of the top 100 courses in the world.
This golf simulator setup, which is more affordable that you might imagine, has been a game changer. I can now play golf everyday of the year regardless of rain, snow, cold weather or time of day. I can practice or play rounds of golf. I can stand in the 11th fairway at Augusta and with the auto-rewind feature I am able to practice my approach shots from various differences.
It is worth checking out through Rain or Shine Golf as they offer some incredible packages along with financing offers that are difficult to beat.
Some direct links to Rain or Shine Golf for pricing and financing: