Saving Strokes with Your Short Game

Todd Casabella - Mike Bender Golf Academy

Many strokes can be saved in the short game. When you miss a green your ability to save par is an obvious benefit to your score. But there's more to a good short game than. It provides confidence to attack the golf course. If your confident you can get up and down from anywhere, you can play aggressive.

At the Mike Bender Golf Academy we teach four basic short game shots: low, medium, high and flop. The shot you select to play depends on many factors, the most basic three being the lie of the ball, the landing spot on the green and the amount of roll. Once you have assessed these factors you pick the club and the type of shot.

Most golfers only focus on one of the three factors, the amount of roll. They don't put nearly enough focus on where they will land the ball. They usually pull their favorite club, adjust for the lie (If they know how. That's a future lesson.) focus on the flagstick, and let the ball land wherever it may. But the best players focus on where they land the ball and how much roll is needed for it to stop by the flagstick.

A drill we use at the Academy to practice our feel for the landing spot is the ladder drill. Empty your shag bag of practice balls. You will need five alignment sticks, or the longest irons in your bag. The first stick should be three or four paces from your pile of balls. Each stick is then placed two paces apart in a straight line from your pile creating the visual of a ladder. Hit between the first rung of the ladder. Once you get two in a row, move to the next rung. Go up and down the ladder varying the trajectory of the shots until you have hit all of your balls. If your hitting balls on a green and want to see the rollout, land the balls to the side of the ladder. Practice this drill a few times a week.

Todd Casabella
Mike Bender Golf Academy

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