I feel a surge of confidence about being able to get it close. I feel that the shot I'm about to hit is going to be a short putt away. I love to consider the concept that I'm trying for and Up-and-Down from here. I've got this. I've put in my range time, and this one's mine.
IF you don't have all these emotions standing over the ball from this distance, you might want to keep reading. There are a few strategies I use to will that ball TIGHT. Anything that improves your game dramatically is worth repeating until it's time to pivot for the next new idea, right?
ATTACK THE PIN! One thing golfers do from this distance is hit behind the ball, leaving a massive divot about 3 feet beyond your ball. When we decellerate, we break our wrists early. Fear makes people steer away from traps, but most golfers can carry the ball 100 yards, so FLY THAT SUCKER! I just heard from my retired neighbor about overcoming her fear of traps and when she actually knocked it right over, she felt ELATED! That is the JUICE of golf - that moment when you know you've beaten that fearful corner! Now to the next...
TAKE ENOUGH CLUB. GET IT UP THERE! People hit their sand wedge different distances. Ego is a KILLER, so get over it! If you hit a lob wedge there, great! If it's your 8-iron, awesome! Do you know what you hit 100 yards? 90? 80? Golfers are tremendous at coming up short, time and time again. The key is to check your ego at the door and let your score speak for you at the end of the day! Mike Reid was famous in the late 80's and early 90's for hitting all his clubs shorter than the other pros but he made up for it by being extremely accurate. His nickname was "Radar" -
What is our worst club? Our ego! Take good notes on your next round. How many approaches were you short? How many long? Let the data guide you.
KNOW YOUR YARDAGES ON HALF-SWINGS! From about 60 yards to 20 yards, the problems are MANY. We are thinning shots and rocketing them past the green. We are chunking shots. We say hello to the shankopotamus, and wish we had bacon to go with that fried egg bunker lie.
The way around the guesswork is to simply take one club to the range and hit it for a whole bucket with half-swings. Iterations will help you OWN shots, but repetition is the mother of skill, so sweat a little for this game that brings you so much joy! I recommend asking someone next to you at the range to grab a quick video of your attempts so you can see if you are really doing a half or a 3/4....it's crucial knowledge!! Remember, attack every shot so you can get crisp contact.
GET CREATIVE! TRY IT OUT! My coach in Port Townsend, Washington, once took us to a 15-foot tree about 20 yards from the green. He placed two balls on the ground. With one ball, he showed us a low-running 5 iron that bounded up close. He then proceeded to take out a sandwedge and flop one over the tree, nestled just inside his first ball! I was shocked at his skill. While his idea was to show us options around the green, what I learned was a more fundamental fact of golf: with each shot comes a vital necessity to fully commit. FULLY COMMIT. Most golfers I play with are unfocused, rushed, and their score shows it! Life is short. Be present in your game. Get creative with your shots, swing like the great Seve Ballesteros!
Golf is a game of daring, of high stakes, of tremendous success and crushing failure. The drama of this game makes it great. Believe in yourself, practice often, and SHAVE STROKES!