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Short Game: The Value of Distance Control

October 20, 2011

I recently wrote an article for PGA Magazine about distance control with your wedges – see below for the full version of the article.


The importance of teaching students the value of distance control around the green:
One of the most important aspects of the game we all love is creating a consistent low point and compressing the golf ball, as this helps golfers maximize control and distance of their golf shots. We know the short game is more about touch and feel than the long game, but the way the club works through the hitting area is virtually the same. To help my clients understand impact, I teach them forward shaft lean and the importance of compressing the ball through chipping, then pitching and finally punch shots. The first drill I use is chipping balls with the non-target hand until they get the handle of the club moving past the ball before the club head in order to create crisp contact. Then I ask them to switch hands and do the same with the target hand. Only once they are making solid chip shots with both hands on the club will we progress into pitching, and even then single-handed drills are effective to help build a more solid and repeatable impact position. Finally, I like to test the improved short game technique with short punch shots that incorporate hitting golf balls with a 7-iron under a five-foot target that’s placed 15 feet in front of the hitting area. Only when all three of these skills are mastered will we move on to other areas of the swing.

The business impact of teaching students the value of distance control around the green:
I have found that my clients’ all-around games improve quicker by teaching chip, pitch punch before other aspects of the swing. The client’s ability to control ball flight around the greens improves due to better contact. The increase in more predictable contact also allows clients to hit chip and pitch shots closer to the hole, leading to shorter putts and lower scores. Clients see instant improvement in their games by adopting the chip, pitch, punch mentality, which allows our relationship to grow and increases the likelihood of repeat business and referrals.

As always please feel free to leave comments.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Rick Palmer permalink
    October 23, 2011 6:59 AM

    I have just tried this for about 40 minutes and was amazed at how much better I was doing. Love the tip and appreciated you sharing it.

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