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Short Game and Iron Help

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

My short game is a disaster.

Still very focused on my goal to break 90 and it seems that I have made no progress over the past 4-5 months. I have shot a few 95's recently and today hacked my way to a 99.

 

Part of me thinks "wow, I only needed to be 10 strokes better today to break 90" but then another part of me cant help but be so frustrated. I look back at a round like today and I try to figure out where it all went bad. 

 

I had so many great shots, and even stretches of good shots in a row...but then out of nowhere it leaves me and I have no "feel". I kept the ball in play all day (did not lose one ball, played same ball all day). As for the long game, I was great off the tee. All tee shots were in fairway or very playable rough except on 2 holes where I flirted with OB but did stay in and chipped back in fairway. I did not hit many greens but I was usually right off, with a lot of 5 or so yard chips to get on.

Where I lost a lot of strokes:

 

- Complete Mishits. I probably had about 3 or 4 of them. When I say mishits, I am not talking about a slice or being way off the green etc. I am talking about chunks or complete tops. How is it possible to have both? shouldntt I either be chunking OR topping? 

 

- Short game around the green is a disaster. As mentioned above, I was left with a lot of 5 or so yard chip / pitch shots. Which I managed to either skull all the way over the green OR chunk and hit a few feet (twice into the bunker right in front of me!).

 

- Had (1) 4 putt and 3 (3) putts (two from over 30 feet).

 

Will take any advice on pitching chipping...Im so inconsistent...even on the practice area, I can hit 3 great chips and/or pitches in a row and then skull or chunk one terribly.

 

Is there a common cause for chunking and or topping irons? I will hit a few great iron shots in a row, great distance, ball flight, slight draw etc,,and then BOOM terrible mishit.

Has anyone here ever been stuck in mid to high 90s and eventually broke through to 80s? What did it for you?

 

THANKS in advance...

post #2 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by GolfGuy123 View Post

 
My short game is a disaster.


Still very focused on my goal to break 90 and it seems that I have made no progress over the past 4-5 months. I have shot a few 95's recently and today hacked my way to a 99.

Part of me thinks "wow, I only needed to be 10 strokes better today to break 90" but then another part of me cant help but be so frustrated. I look back at a round like today and I try to figure out where it all went bad. 

I had so many great shots, and even stretches of good shots in a row...but then out of nowhere it leaves me and I have no "feel". I kept the ball in play all day (did not lose one ball, played same ball all day). As for the long game, I was great off the tee. All tee shots were in fairway or very playable rough except on 2 holes where I flirted with OB but did stay in and chipped back in fairway. I did not hit many greens but I was usually right off, with a lot of 5 or so yard chips to get on.


Where I lost a lot of strokes:

- Complete Mishits. I probably had about 3 or 4 of them. When I say mishits, I am not talking about a slice or being way off the green etc. I am talking about chunks or complete tops. How is it possible to have both? shouldntt I either be chunking OR topping? 

- Short game around the green is a disaster. As mentioned above, I was left with a lot of 5 or so yard chip / pitch shots. Which I managed to either skull all the way over the green OR chunk and hit a few feet (twice into the bunker right in front of me!).

- Had (1) 4 putt and 3 (3) putts (two from over 30 feet).

Will take any advice on pitching chipping...Im so inconsistent...even on the practice area, I can hit 3 great chips and/or pitches in a row and then skull or chunk one terribly.

Is there a common cause for chunking and or topping irons? I will hit a few great iron shots in a row, great distance, ball flight, slight draw etc,,and then BOOM terrible mishit.


Has anyone here ever been stuck in mid to high 90s and eventually broke through to 80s? What did it for you?

THANKS in advance...

Because they care caused by the same thing, not having a flat left wrist at impact consistently. Topping and Chunking just vary depending on if you actually end up hitting the ground or not. 

On a side note, primarily work on your long game. It will benefit your short game much more. If you are still missing greens, then your long game isn't that good. Sorry to be up front with that, but just being off the green is only good on par 5's. 
post #3 of 28
Okay, I'll take a shot at a couple of suggestions.

First, hit the driving range. I have been down the top/chunk trail. For me, part of it is thinking about swing mechanics on the course, that is why you need to spend some more time on the range so you can focus on direction and distance on the course. And,again this is for me, but I suspect others would be well served by focusing on the front side of the ball at address instead of the back. This really helps me avoid the chunks, and yet I gravitate toward looking at the butt end of the ball.

Chipping/pitching is a lot about feel. Some people seem good at taking about the exact same little swing and adjusting chipping fly/roll-out by changing clubs. Others, like me, seem to prefer using one or two basic clubs and hitting it a bit harder or softer. As you progress you should have both styles in your arsenal, but because you NEED to be able to hit pitch shots over obstacles like bunkers I went with pitching as my goto short shot. Any way you go, you will need to practice some.

Have I used the word practice enough? Sorta sucks, but there ya go.
post #4 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by saevel25 View Post


Because they care caused by the same thing, not having a flat left wrist at impact consistently. Topping and Chunking just vary depending on if you actually end up hitting the ground or not. 

On a side note, primarily work on your long game. It will benefit your short game much more. If you are still missing greens, then your long game isn't that good. Sorry to be up front with that, but just being off the green is only good on par 5's. 

On average I have 7-9 GIRs per round. How many do you think I need to be breaking 90? Today only hit 5.

post #5 of 28

Suggestions:

  • Complete mishits: How is your pre-shot routine? It doesn't have to be fancy, but it should be consistent.
  • Short game: With all your problems, take a short-game lesson. A good pro can take a look at your tendencies, and push you toward any strengths you have.

 

Mid-90s to 80s: It's happened twice: About age 21, and later on in my mid-50s. (I'm 63 now). In both cases, it involved just having time to work on my overall game and play more. Second time, a short-game lesson was a big help.

 

(I had two short lessons fizzle last season over pro availability problems)

 

Starting in March, I just need to play more.

post #6 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by PirateJim View Post

Okay, I'll take a shot at a couple of suggestions.

First, hit the driving range. I have been down the top/chunk trail. For me, part of it is thinking about swing mechanics on the course, that is why you need to spend some more time on the range so you can focus on direction and distance on the course. And,again this is for me, but I suspect others would be well served by focusing on the front side of the ball at address instead of the back. This really helps me avoid the chunks, and yet I gravitate toward looking at the butt end of the ball.

Chipping/pitching is a lot about feel. Some people seem good at taking about the exact same little swing and adjusting chipping fly/roll-out by changing clubs. Others, like me, seem to prefer using one or two basic clubs and hitting it a bit harder or softer. As you progress you should have both styles in your arsenal, but because you NEED to be able to hit pitch shots over obstacles like bunkers I went with pitching as my goto short shot. Any way you go, you will need to practice some.

Have I used the word practice enough? Sorta sucks, but there ya go.

 

Short game is about mechanics. Everyone is a feel player, you can't play golf with out feel. But you can't have proper feel with out proper mechanics because the feedback you get form impact will vary to much. So learn the proper mechanics, then develop feel. It isn't one or the other. Same with me, I basically use 1-2 clubs for chipping, unless it is a specialty shot. 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by GolfGuy123 View Post
 

On average I have 7-9 GIRs per round. How many do you think I need to be breaking 90? Today only hit 5.

 

Since golf is a complete game, work on that is a glaring weakness. The OP specifically said he gets it near the green most of the time. If he can't hit a GIR, that is more important to fix his long game than his short game. If you are hitting 7-9, unless you three putt the heck out of the ball, you should be scoring in the mid 80's. Even if you don't get up and down for par once, you should be breaking 90. So figure out what your weakness is and fix it. Short game matters, just like any part of the game, but as discussed in other threads, long game is the most important aspect of a golfers game. There is a reason why Phil finally went to Butch Harmon instead of practicing all the time with David Pelz. :-D, Phil needed a better long game. 

post #7 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by saevel25 View Post
 

 

Short game is about mechanics. Everyone is a feel player, you can't play golf with out feel. But you can't have proper feel with out proper mechanics because the feedback you get form impact will vary to much. So learn the proper mechanics, then develop feel. It isn't one or the other. Same with me, I basically use 1-2 clubs for chipping, unless it is a specialty shot. 

 

 

 

Since golf is a complete game, work on that is a glaring weakness. The OP specifically said he gets it near the green most of the time. If he can't hit a GIR, that is more important to fix his long game than his short game. If you are hitting 7-9, unless you three putt the heck out of the ball, you should be scoring in the mid 80's. Even if you don't get up and down for par once, you should be breaking 90. So figure out what your weakness is and fix it. Short game matters, just like any part of the game, but as discussed in other threads, long game is the most important aspect of a golfers game. There is a reason why Phil finally went to Butch Harmon instead of practicing all the time with David Pelz. :-D, Phil needed a better long game.

I actually do agree completely that long game is more important. The days where my long game is worse than others are the days I shoot 105-110. The days where my long game is better than others (once again, comparing myself to myself) but my short game is bad (my personal standards for where I am at with my game) are the days I shoot 95-99. In other words, my off days with long game end up hurting me much more than off days with short game (because of OB penaltys, chipping out of the woods on multiple holes etc).

Another quick point. I also have thought that with 7-9 GIRs in a round I should be breaking 90...I do usually have a few 3 putts and maybe even a 4 putt BUT on the other 9-11 holes that are not GIR, I usually end up with anything from +2 to +5 on the hole (mishit, chip out of woods, hit it short of green, chip it over green, 3 putt, etc etc etc so many things that go wrong)...do that even 3-4 times a round and my score is dead. I just think its nutty that I can play 50% of the round getting on in regulation and still end up with a 100 or just a little better.

 

Funny thing is I absolutely love to practice, just dont have as much time to do so as I wish I did. AND when I practice, I am working on what I think is wrong with my swing / short game etc. which may very well be incorrect.

post #8 of 28

No sage advice here, just observations based on the information in your post and my own experience:

 

1.  thinning / chunking from the fairway.  After a good drive, we're so anxious to hit that second shot onto the green that we, a) rush into the shot, rather than making a slow, smooth swing that results in solid contact; b) overswing because we chose an 8-iron rather than a 7-iron; c) put too much mental pressure on ourselves to hit a really good approach shot.  Remedy:  Relax, take a couple of deep breaths, swing easy ... be the ball, Danny.

 

2. Short game woes.  This condition seems to come and go.  At least it does for me.  When I'm not playing throughout the week, the wife and I go to a local course that has a couple of really nice practice greens and enough area surrounding them to practice up to about 50 yard pitch shots.  We go there at least once a week all spring/summer/fall and PRACTICE.  There is no magic bullet video(s) that suddenly makes you a good short-game player. Getting better requires practice to a point of being nearly automatic when the shots present themselves on the course.

 

3.  Putting.  Practice, practice and more practice.  Again, see item 2.  There are so many good putting drills vids out there.  But all of them require you to spend time on practice putting greens to find improvement that leads to strokes gained on the greens during a round.  You want to get into that 'automatic mode' inside 5 feet.  You won't make ALL of them, but if you get to the 75-80% range it's usually the difference between pars and bogeys or 'other' scores on the card.

 

Lastly, it's way easier to improve the short game without lessons than the long game.  This spring I'm finally going for a series of lessons to help with solid contact on fairway shots.  You hit the practice green and I'll go for lessons.  Deal?!

 

dave

post #9 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by dave s View Post
 

No sage advice here, just observations based on the information in your post and my own experience:

 

1.  thinning / chunking from the fairway.  After a good drive, we're so anxious to hit that second shot onto the green that we, a) rush into the shot, rather than making a slow, smooth swing that results in solid contact; b) overswing because we chose an 8-iron rather than a 7-iron; c) put too much mental pressure on ourselves to hit a really good approach shot.  Remedy:  Relax, take a couple of deep breaths, swing easy ... be the ball, Danny.

 

2. Short game woes.  This condition seems to come and go.  At least it does for me.  When I'm not playing throughout the week, the wife and I go to a local course that has a couple of really nice practice greens and enough area surrounding them to practice up to about 50 yard pitch shots.  We go there at least once a week all spring/summer/fall and PRACTICE.  There is no magic bullet video(s) that suddenly makes you a good short-game player. Getting better requires practice to a point of being nearly automatic when the shots present themselves on the course.

 

3.  Putting.  Practice, practice and more practice.  Again, see item 2.  There are so many good putting drills vids out there.  But all of them require you to spend time on practice putting greens to find improvement that leads to strokes gained on the greens during a round.  You want to get into that 'automatic mode' inside 5 feet.  You won't make ALL of them, but if you get to the 75-80% range it's usually the difference between pars and bogeys or 'other' scores on the card.

 

Lastly, it's way easier to improve the short game without lessons than the long game.  This spring I'm finally going for a series of lessons to help with solid contact on fairway shots.  You hit the practice green and I'll go for lessons.  Deal?!

 

dave

 

1) Or just have an inconsistent swing that causes the problem of thinning and chunking. It isn't about a mental state, it is about a poor swing. 

2) Sure there is, it's called having good technique. Which takes practice, but you just can't practice piss poor technique and hope to be good at short game shots. Again you don't want to practice poor technique because you will become routinely bad at them. 

3) Agreed, stop working on longer than 20' putts. Mark off 20' and practice inside of it. Why practice something that even pro's make less than 1 out of 5. 

 

Lastly, depends on the person. Even the short game needs instruction. Yet is takes much less time. It is an easier swing motion. I think @iacas had me work on it for like 20-30 minutes compared to the hours spent on the long game. 

 

If you want some drills on the making good contact with long game. Look up the videos on this sight for Keys 1 thru 3. 

post #10 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by GolfGuy123 View Post
 

I actually do agree completely that long game is more important. The days where my long game is worse than others are the days I shoot 105-110. The days where my long game is better than others (once again, comparing myself to myself) but my short game is bad (my personal standards for where I am at with my game) are the days I shoot 95-99. In other words, my off days with long game end up hurting me much more than off days with short game (because of OB penaltys, chipping out of the woods on multiple holes etc).

Another quick point. I also have thought that with 7-9 GIRs in a round I should be breaking 90...I do usually have a few 3 putts and maybe even a 4 putt BUT on the other 9-11 holes that are not GIR, I usually end up with anything from +2 to +5 on the hole (mishit, chip out of woods, hit it short of green, chip it over green, 3 putt, etc etc etc so many things that go wrong)...do that even 3-4 times a round and my score is dead. I just think its nutty that I can play 50% of the round getting on in regulation and still end up with a 100 or just a little better.

 

Funny thing is I absolutely love to practice, just dont have as much time to do so as I wish I did. AND when I practice, I am working on what I think is wrong with my swing / short game etc. which may very well be incorrect.

I can't recall hitting that many green, even on days I shot my lowest scores. Along with everything that's been said here, I would strongly recommend working on putting, that will CHANGE your game. On days I shot my lowest scores, I had 3 and 5 GIRs respectively, and scrambled for 5 and 0 pars respectively.  So Even if it's just the putting that you fix, you will break 90 in no time with that many GIRs. Trust me, this is coming from a guy who used to 3-putt regularly. Putting is now the strongest part of my game.  

post #11 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3putter View Post
 

I can't recall hitting that many green, even on days I shot my lowest scores. Along with everything that's been said here, I would strongly recommend working on putting, that will CHANGE your game. On days I shot my lowest scores, I had 3 and 5 GIRs respectively, and scrambled for 5 and 0 pars respectively.  So Even if it's just the putting that you fix, you will break 90 in no time with that many GIRs. Trust me, this is coming from a guy who used to 3-putt regularly. Putting is now the strongest part of my game.  

Thanks. My putting is pretty bad. But then again, I would not consider any single part of my game "good" for an entire round. Yes, I do consistently hit that many greens in a round and play said holes very well BUT my swing is extremely inconsistent. Its not uncommon for me to go something like: birdie, par, par, +5...not a deal breaker to breaking 90 if you only do it once a round but I do it 2-3 times around.

 

When I look at my score card at the end of the day I usually have 7-9 acceptable holes (by my personal standards: birdie, par or bogey) and then 9-11 bad holes (+2,+3,+4,+5)...

 

Over the summer I play a lot of 9 hole rounds after work and I have shot a lot of 42s, 43s, 44s - but ask me to do that back to back for a full round and it's not happening. 

 

As much as it pains me @saevel25 is right, although I would not classify my swing as "overall poor" (too many good shots per round, NOT lucky shots), It is extremely inconsistent and after a few big misses in the same round, my confidence is almost killed. Whatever maybe that does mean a "poor" swing lol.

 

I played a round with a Champions Tour player last summer and he kept commenting throughout the round how he could not believe how bad my handicap is. He said with my swing I should not be more than a 10. Felt good at the time to hear that, BUT in reality it's just proves how much I can not put a full round together...and then again, its not like he was looking at my swing slow mo on camera or anything.

post #12 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by GolfGuy123 View Post
 

My short game is a disaster.  Where I lost a lot of strokes:

 

- Short game around the green is a disaster. As mentioned above, I was left with a lot of 5 or so yard chip / pitch shots. Which I managed to either skull all the way over the green OR chunk and hit a few feet (twice into the bunker right in front of me!).

 

Will take any advice on pitching chipping...Im so inconsistent...even on the practice area, I can hit 3 great chips and/or pitches in a row and then skull or chunk one terribly.

Here are a couple of Greg Norman online tips....

 

Start here:

http://www.shark.com/sharkwatch/instruction/lesson36.php

 

Then remember this:

http://www.shark.com/sharkwatch/instruction/lesson40.php

 

Finally, use this tip:

http://www.shark.com/sharkwatch/instruction/lesson41.php

 

These tips have helped me to improve my short game.  Best wishes on your journey.

post #13 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by GolfGuy123 View Post
 

Thanks. My putting is pretty bad. But then again, I would not consider any single part of my game "good" for an entire round. Yes, I do consistently hit that many greens in a round and play said holes very well BUT my swing is extremely inconsistent. Its not uncommon for me to go something like: birdie, par, par, +5...not a deal breaker to breaking 90 if you only do it once a round but I do it 2-3 times around.

 

When I look at my score card at the end of the day I usually have 7-9 acceptable holes (by my personal standards: birdie, par or bogey) and then 9-11 bad holes (+2,+3,+4,+5)...

 

Over the summer I play a lot of 9 hole rounds after work and I have shot a lot of 42s, 43s, 44s - but ask me to do that back to back for a full round and it's not happening. 

 

As much as it pains me @saevel25 is right, although I would not classify my swing as "overall poor" (too many good shots per round, NOT lucky shots), It is extremely inconsistent and after a few big misses in the same round, my confidence is almost killed. Whatever maybe that does mean a "poor" swing lol.

 

I played a round with a Champions Tour player last summer and he kept commenting throughout the round how he could not believe how bad my handicap is. He said with my swing I should not be more than a 10. Felt good at the time to hear that, BUT in reality it's just proves how much I can not put a full round together...and then again, its not like he was looking at my swing slow mo on camera or anything.

If your focus is on the short game, then you're heading in the right direction. It'll help avoid the big numbers. I started off with an awesome long game for a beginner, but I couldn't score for crap. I followed up birdies and pars with big numbers. On one particular day, I played at Galloping Hill Golf Course in NJ and knocked a 3 wood to exactly 81 yards from the pin at the 10th, right off the parkway. Everyone in my 4some went crazy, I was feeling like a tour pro as we approached the ball, long story short, I made 8 on that hole. I hit it into a bunker 30 yards from the pin, took two to get out just over the green, chip on, 3-putted for an 8. All the guys looked at me and said "Work on your short game, man".  That was the day I swore my allegiance to short game.

I'm no expert, but I'm of the school of thought that great short game can cover up a multitude of golfing sins. 

post #14 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3putter View Post
 

If your focus is on the short game, then you're heading in the right direction. It'll help avoid the big numbers. I started off with an awesome long game for a beginner, but I couldn't score for crap. I followed up birdies and pars with big numbers. On one particular day, I played at Galloping Hill Golf Course in NJ and knocked a 3 wood to exactly 81 yards from the pin at the 10th, right off the parkway. Everyone in my 4some went crazy, I was feeling like a tour pro as we approached the ball, long story short, I made 8 on that hole. I hit it into a bunker 30 yards from the pin, took two to get out just over the green, chip on, 3-putted for an 8. All the guys looked at me and said "Work on your short game, man".  That was the day I swore my allegiance to short game.

I'm no expert, but I'm of the school of thought that great short game can cover up a multitude of golfing sins. 

Dang! your example of the 10th at Galloping Hill is exactly the type of thing that happens to me every round and often times more than just once! There is no question I need to improve short game, especially chipping and pitching. But I also need help with irons, specifically mid to short irons - too many chunks / tops. 

post #15 of 28

Chunks and Tops will plague both the long game and short game. If you fix it in the long game, most likely you will fix majority of that issue in the short game as well. Its the same thing happening in both swings. 

post #16 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by saevel25 View Post
 

Chunks and Tops will plague both the long game and short game. If you fix it in the long game, most likely you will fix majority of that issue in the short game as well. Its the same thing happening in both swings. 

Interesting - never even knew that was a possibility! 

post #17 of 28

think about what kind of chip or pitch you are most comfortable playing, and practice the hell out of it. Get really good at one shot and it will take the burden off you, as you will always have a fallback that will be "safe" Also, the practicing will teach you a lot about how what you're doing effects the ball in regards to spin and roll, and will make piecing the other elements of the short game together much easier.

 

Can't help with putting. My putting stroke is effective for me, but I wouldn't teach it to anyone else. Find something you're comfortable with and rolls the ball in a straight line.

post #18 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by GolfGuy123 View Post
 

Interesting - never even knew that was a possibility! 

 

 

Well a chunk and top is basically the same problem, combination of not having keys 1 - 3. Basically if your head moves you have to adjust the clubhead with your hands. If your weight isn't forward at impact, you'll flip at the ball to not chunk it. Both of those things cause the lack of having a flat wrist at impact. 

 

Basically what that means is, you can't deliver the clubhead to the ball consistently. Same with chips. If the weight is 50/50, in such a short shot, then its tough to make a proper strike with out the ball being back in the stance. This causes a steeper angle of attack bringing in the leading edge, making it tougher to achieve good clean contact (the club can dig in the ground more). 

 

Usually when a person gets in the habit of chunking or duffing chips or pitches they don't want to do it. So they will lift up and hit those thin shots. Then they wont want to do that, and they will hit chunks. 

 

Its gets to be a vicious cycle. 

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