Re: Secret To Your Scrambling?IMO, It's never imagination, it's 'visualization.' Imagining implies seeing something fictional, something unreal. You can't make a golf ball change direction, jump over obstacles, and make turns. When you hit it, it goes in the air for some period of time, comes back down, then rolls some. Simple as that. You simply need to visualize how that will happen.
I consider myself a very good scrambler, and it's a recent improvement, so I'll explain how I think I've accomplished that.
1) You have to pick the best shot you can FOR the situation. Not every shot can be hit close. When you have the green light situation, yeah, try to make it, but if it's not there, it's not there. Make the best shot you can, and take pride in the execution of THAT shot, whatever it is, and have confidence that you'll make the best NEXT shot after that.
2) Simplify the shot. While scrambling always involves a distance control aspect, it's not like that distance is out of anyone's reach (everyone can manage to chip a sand wedge 20 yds, e.g.). No matter the lie, you focus on contacting the ball first with the clubface pointed on your desired line. Sometimes the lie will make it impossible and you'll have to hit some grass first, but you still focus on it. When you trust this, the fear of the chunk or blade goes away. For some shots, it can literally be as simple as just touching the ball with the club (e.g., an 8-iron fringe bump and run).
3) Confidence, confidence. It can almost be cart before the horse, but you need confidence, not only for the current shot, but for the next. For example, say you have a difficult flop over a trap and the green slopes away. You're NOT going to put it close, realistically. The BEST you can do may be a 20-foot comebacker. You need to, a) realize a flop leaving that 20-foot comebacker is the best you can do, b) execute it properly; don't trust it, and you could end up in the bunker or with a 50-foot comebacker, c) trust that you can make that next putt for the up-down.
Confidence in the scrambling game can subsequently improve your iron game. When you feel confident in your chipping and putting, you will no longer feel pressured to pepper the pin (which, be honest, do you ever?). A solid iron to the fat of the green will be ok when you believe you can make the long putt, or do no worse than two-putt. When you're terrified of the sand, or scared to three-putt, you'll choke that approach shot trying to be perfect, and you'll end up far from it.