Short Game Options & Preference
By Terry Koehler, The Wedge Guy
Terry Koehler has been in the golf industry for over 30 years and currently spends his days as the President of EIDOLON Golf, a small premium wedge company in Victoria, Texas. He's been blogging for over 3 years and has written hundreds of articles ranging from golf tips to equipment issues. His blog will appear on ClubSG twice per week. You can reach Terry to have your golf questions answered at email@example.com.
I find the short game to be fascinating for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the broad variety of ways you can approach it as a golfer. There’s pretty much only one way to hit good drives, solid irons shots, etc., but if you play enough golf, with enough different players, you can see a number of ways to approach the short game and scoring that work.
Today’s topic is in response to an email from Hugo, who wrote:
With technique and equipment, I’ve seen a trend on tour golfers on concentrating on their short game more and more, replacing long clubs with wedges. As I’m not a long hitter, I’ve tried to do the same in order to save some long pars (approach/put situations). I see several golfers chipping or flopping from just outside the green, however instead of using a wedge, I find it easier to bump and roll the ball (usually with a 9 iron),and I’m becoming pretty accurate with it. What’s your preference on the “just outside the green” game?Well, Hugo, my preference is to treat each shot as a stand-alone, one of a kind opportunity to score. I know players who turn to the flop shot most often, or bump and roll with an 8- or 9-iron every chance they get. But in my observation, those golfers who are most consistent in greenside scoring are the ones with the broadest and most versatile arsenal of shots they KNOW how to execute.
A round of golf will present you with a wide variety of challenges around the greens, and limiting yourself to just one type of scoring shot greatly limits your ability to adapt to what is before you. I’ve written before that you need to know at least three basic short game shots – the simple chip, the basic pitch and the soft lob. Then you can select different clubs with each to give yourself a virtual arsenal of scoring options when you miss a green.
I recommend that you learn the simple chip with a lower-lofted iron, 7 or 8. That club will give you about 2/3 roll to 1/3 carry on a normal speed green. On faster greens you can hit that shot with a pitch or gap wedge and keep that ratio. On slower greens or where you have a very large piece of green to cover, you can hit the same shot with a 5- or 6-iron to lengthen the rollout distance.
The basic pitch is most often hit with a pitching wedge or gap wedge, and will change the carry/roll ratio to more like 1/1 or 2/1. You can alter that by hitting the basic pitch with a lower lofted short iron or a higher lofted wedge to alter that to fit the situation.
And finally, the soft lob shot is usually executed with your sand or lob wedge, and is designed to give you about ¾ carry and ¼ roll, more or less depending on the green and its slope and speed.
There are many good places to find solid techniques by which to execute these basic shots, including some of my past articles here. Spend some time this offseason practicing them at home with “Almost Golf Balls” or into a hitting net, and your short game will come alive quicker this spring than in the past.
Thanks for sending in your email, and congratulations on winning a FREE EIDOLON V-SOLE wedge. I encourage all of you to do the same. I have to give one away every Tuesday, so why not give yourself a chance?
* The Wedge Guy's views and opinions are his own do not necessarily reflect those of SkyGolf.
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