‘Drive for show, putt for dough’. It is a classic one-liner that every golf fanatic has heard at least once in their life, maybe more if your putting game is not up to par. This one-liner is subconsciously telling us that putting can help you win or lose a golf match. Putting, along with chipping and the use of your short irons are considered by many to be the most important part of a golfer’s game. The better your short game, the better your score will be. No questions asked. How do you improve your short game? Practice, repetition and more practice.
Putting: There are hundreds of ways to practice your short game, the easiest being going on the practice green. There are thousands of drills you can go through that can keep you on the green for hours at a time. A classic one is to place 8 tees in a circle about three feet away from the hole, make every putt in one rotation around the circle and then move the tees out one foot. Repeat this until you’re making 10 or even 12-foot putts. This putting drill for short putts will hone your skills quickly if you do it enough. Another great putting drill you can do with a friend is playing H-O-R-S-E. Just like the basketball game, you and your partner can switch off choosing putts to try and make, you don’t make it on your partner’s choice and you get a letter.
Chipping: This may be an even more important part of your short game if you are not the longest or most accurate hitter. Getting your ball close to the hole from anywhere off the green is important, but the closer you get the easier it will be for you to get ‘up and down’. Just like putting, the number of drills you can run with chipping are in the hundreds. Invest in a shag bag, a bag of old golf balls you find around the golf course or anywhere for that matter and use that when practicing chipping. Set yourself up on the practice green, choose a hole and hit at it from the short grass, long grass and sand bunker if it is available to you! You can also play H-O-R-S-E with chipping.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could practice something once or twice and be masters of it? Unfortunately, this isn’t the case and just like any sport, golf may take more repetition than any to master. The more you practice, the better golfer you will become. Try setting aside thirty minutes before your tee-time to practice your short game or go out on the weekends and putt for one hour. Set a goal while you are practicing and try to reach that goal, like making 100 three-foot putts in a row or chipping within five feet of the hole 100 times.
Don’t just practice to say you did, practice with a purpose. What are you trying to improve? How are you improving it? Really think about why you are practicing and get mentally focused in on what it is you are practicing. Go back to the A Golf State of Mind post and you’ll remember golf is more mental than physical. The more times you practice a shot, the more confident you will feel. Feeling confident about every shot you hit goes back to how much you have practiced that shot.
Want to have an amazing golf game? Start with the short game. Run drills for a few hours a week and you should see improvement in no time. Remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your putting or chipping skills. Choosing to focus on your short game during your practice sessions will ensure you to be an overall better golfer and help you to win that match.