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Data publikacji: 08.09.2011

Greenside Experimentation


Brian Messing

WE ALL NEED SHORT GAME. Without a short game, our chances of getting up and down, or saving par, or chipping in on a regular basis would be slim and none. The good news is that with a bit of imagination, and some regular practice, getting up and down has never been so easy these days. But the key to a better short game isn’t just imagination and practice, but experimentation. When an amateur misses a green, more often than not he grabs his 60-degree lob wedge, or his sand wedge, wobbles over to his ball, and stabs at his ball in an effort to get it on the green. This course of play usually ends up with duffed shots, or thin shots that rarely end up on the green let alone in position with a chance to save par. Despite the poor result this action garners, most amateurs continue to resort to their highest lofted club when faced with a greenside chip. It’s time to stop the madness, and consider some much simpler and effective options.  Rather than grabbing the L-wedge, let’s consider some other options.

Of course lie will dictate our shot selection. Let’s say that the ball is sitting well, and that we are faced with a greenside chip that forces us to carry the ball over ten feet of rough/fringe, to a pin that is twenty feet on the green. Option number one: the Texas wedge, also know as the putter. Getting the ball rolling on the ground as quickly as possible is the safest of all plays. Yes, the putter isn’t exactly the sexiest of choices in this situation, but most probably will garner the best results day in and day out. When using the Texas wedge, very little can go wrong; 99% of the time the ball will end up on the green, which cannot be said when using the L wedge. Not only will the ball end up on the green, but we will also get a better understanding for the pace and line of our next shot by having already seen the ball rolling toward the flag. So put your ego aside, and do not be afraid to use the putter when the situation allows.

Another option to consider: hybrid or fairway metal. Tiger Woods and other Tour players have been playing this shot for almost a decade, and if it works for him, it will work for you because like the putter, very little can go wrong. The key to playing this shot is to set up as if you are stroking a putt. This means ball position middle or slightly left of center, hands placed lower on the handle for better control, and to use a putting motion to deliver the club to the ball. The fifteen or nineteen degrees of loft on the club will skip the ball over the rough/fringe area, therefore maintaining it’s intended line, and produce safe and predictable results. Obviously, the key is to practice this shot before putting it in play.

Another option is to use a short iron, like a seven or eight iron. Again, the little amount of loft will carry the ball over the fringe area, and produce an outcome very similar to a putt when it rolls out on the green. The trick to the shot is to pick a nice flat landing area, to reduce the ball’s chances of taking a back kick in the wrong direction. It’s no secret that the key to better scores, it a better short game.

It’s my opinion that the key to a better short game, is to know the percentages when playing certain shots from around the green meaning that we should always consider several options before playing, and choose the one with the highest percentage of getting us closer to the hole, and closer to saving par. It’s not how, but how many, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different clubs in your practice time, and put your new skills in play. Before you know it, your friends will be commending you on your creativity, and your handicap will be thanking you as well.


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