2008-02-15 / Sports

Golf Instruction- Fundamentals Of The Short Game

By Joel Garyn

(Garyn is a USGTF Golf Professional. You can contact him for lessons at 347-404-3751.)

Land the Ball in the Right Spot

Use the 25% Rule-Whenever there's lots of green between you and the hole, get the ball rolling as soon as you can.

Chip the ball onto the green and send it toward the cup like it's a putt. It's easier to make solid contact with the short swing you'll need, and your distance control will be a lot better too.

How to Pick the Right Chip Club

A sand wedge chip will roll the same distance as it flies (1:1Ratio); A 9 iron wedge chip will roll twice as far as it flies (1:2); A 9 iron is 1:3 and so on.

Based on the 25% rule, if there's 40 feet between you and the pin, a 9 iron shot needs 10 feet of carry and 30 feet of roll.

If you chip, picture the green divided into four sections, zone 1 is closet to you. Zone 2 and 3 are in the middle, and zone 4 is the farthest away. No matter where the hole is located, always land the ball in zone 1 and make the ball role to the hole.

What club would do that job? If the ball lies just off the green use the system:

Finish in zone -1- sand or lob wedge. Roll to Zone 2: 9 iron or pitching wedge. Roll to zone 3: 8 or 9 iron. Roll to zone 4: 7 or 8 iron

Remember to keep your weight on your front foot throughout the stroke.

Practice by chipping with a small plastic bottle under your left foot to remind you to set your weight forward and keep it there, or raise your rear foot heel slightly off the ground at address.

Next week we will discuss the proper techniques for pitching from 50 yards to different flag positions.


A major factor in hitting consistent chip shots is for the hands to lead the clubface through impact.

The vast majority of thinned or fluffed chip shots occur when the clubhead overtakes the hands and is, therefore traveling on the upswing, rather than delivering a descending blow at impact.

The first thing to do at set up is to move the majority of your weight (approx.70-30) onto the left foot. The ball is played towards the backs of the stance, and the hands go ahead of the ball.

The chip shot can now be played with the correct downward strike. You should NOT be trying to slide the clubface under the ball, or scoop the ball into the air.

The key now is to make sure that you keep the hands ahead of the ball and not allow your wrists to dominate the shot. Players who get "wrisky" at impact run the risk of thinning it clean through the green or chunking it a few inches.

One swing-thought that can prevent this; Imagine there is a straight line up from the ball.

Set your hands ahead of it and then simply concentrate on getting the grip and shaft past the line before the clubhead when you strike the ball.

If you have any questions please email me at itchgolf@aol.com or call (917) 404-3751. Have a great week.

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