What is the Key to Developing a Short Game?

Ask around to any group of golf pros and they will likely tell you that the short game is far more important than the long game. Sure, it is fun to blast a long drive off the tee or hit a long iron close to the hole - but the short game is where things really get serious. If you are able to chip the ball close to the hole, and make plenty of your putts, you will be able to hold your own on the course. For proof of how important the short game is, watch golf on TV sometimes and try to find a player with a bad short game - you are likely to be looking for a while.

Below are three keys to developing a good short game that can help you to lower your handicap.

  • Practice, practice, practice. You aren't going to have a good short game without putting in the time - it's just that simple. Even if you have a natural talent for the short game, you will still need to work on your technique, improve at reading greens, and just gather experience. When you head to the golf course for a practice session, make sure at least half of your time is spent on the short game.
  • Pay attention to the clues. It is important when playing short shots around, or on, the green, to pay attention to the clues that the grass is giving you. Look closely at your lie, and look at the grass on the green itself. Over time, you will start to understand how the grass affects your golf ball, and what kind of shots work best in what conditions. This isn't a skill that can be taught, and it will only be gained through experience and trial and error.
  • Be patient. Even the best putters miss some of their putts, and even the best chippers hit a bad one from time to time. Don't let the occasional poor shot cause you to lose confidence in what you are doing. Instead, stay patient and trust that the time you have spent practicing your short game will pay off in the long run. The more you work on your short game, and the more experience you get hitting different shots on the course, the better the results are likely to be.