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"The Art of the Short Game" by Stan Utley


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Very easy to read and very helpful. Inside 40 yards is much more simple now. The only thing I disagree with in his book is the sand shots, I find myself still opening the club face up and opening my

Didn't think this was an easy read, pretty wordy in some parts. Pitching and chipping have become much easier, I was a very solid bunker player before so I am still getting used to the new method but

I purchased this book about 3 weeks ago because what I could tell from the previews and lurking on this site for a while is that Utley's method matched what my son has always done despite me telling h

Very easy to read and very helpful. Inside 40 yards is much more simple now. The only thing I disagree with in his book is the sand shots, I find myself still opening the club face up and opening my stance a little. I haven't read any of Pelz' books, but I did see his clock method on the Bobby Jones infomercial (bored) and it seemed pretty simple to me. I use that from 50-100 yards out or so. Overall, both Stan Utley books are pure genius. Very simple, it's not a novel (each are like 100 pages with pictures) and you can see instant results with both (especially if you were as bad as I was with putting/chipping).
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Very easy to read and very helpful. Inside 40 yards is much more simple now. The only thing I disagree with in his book is the sand shots, I find myself still opening the club face up and opening my stance a little. I haven't read any of Pelz' books, but I did see his clock method on the Bobby Jones infomercial (bored) and it seemed pretty simple to me. I use that from 50-100 yards out or so. Overall, both Stan Utley books are pure genius. Very simple, it's not a novel (each are like 100 pages with pictures) and you can see instant results with both (especially if you were as bad as I was with putting/chipping).

I like his sand technique. I dont like the very open stance and wide open clubface. It gives me no confidence. Stan's technique works like a charm for me when I understand the texture and firmness of the sand. The key here is me. I need more experience playing different kinds of beach shots. The technique is just perfect for me.

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Didn't think this was an easy read, pretty wordy in some parts. Pitching and chipping have become much easier, I was a very solid bunker player before so I am still getting used to the new method but it seems like a great read. Will be getting art of putting in the mail soon.
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Read it twice, and unfortunately the only thing I can put to use right now is his use of bounce on pitch shots. Instead of automatically going directly to a low chip shot, I now have an extra option on those delicate pitches around the green (i've even been able to pull off some pretty nice flop shots - even with my 54*).

I just can't seem to get his other techniques down without having practice sessions on a practice green, etc...which i dont have access to.
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My wedges from 30-115 yards have improved dramatically this year since I read "The Art of the Short Game".

I have just started to work on his "chipping" techniques and I am becoming a believer in the teachings in this area as well. It will take me a while to get use to not opening my stance though.

I have yet to practice his sand technique yet. I don't know how I will be able adjust to getting out of the sand without opening my stance.

Over all, this is a great book with proven techniques that can help everyone's game, whether it be a beginner or experienced player.
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I have yet to practice his sand technique yet. I don't know how I will be able adjust to getting out of the sand without opening my stance.

I think you'll be surprised. The key is dropping the hands enough. The bounce REALLY comes into play then.

Watch a few bunker shots Gary Player hits. Same style.
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Yeah, I am not sure I can switch to Utley's sand method after years playing the more standard way (open stance etc..). But it is interesting hearing another opinion, and there may be some aspects of his routine that I can take away (like low hands, flat arc).
One thing about this book, I like how Utley explains why he does what he does (club needs to move more hand hands on chips, bounce needs to work in sand, etc.)
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I think you'll be surprised. The key is dropping the hands enough. The bounce REALLY comes into play then.

This is absolutely right. I was using this style and was becoming a decent sand player, and then one of my buddies convinced me to go back to the "classic" style (the one with the aim left with the body and open the face). Sand became my enemy again.

I went back to the Utley style again a few weeks ago. I noticed that right away, I wasn't leaving it in the sand anymore or blading it out and past the green. It's also useful in that, when I play at a city course with what I call "classic" bunkers during play (i.e., more dirt than sand - the way it was way back when, I imagine), if there isn't sand to support the shot, rather than hitting a really poor sand shot like I used to (when I reverted to non-Utley style), I just tend to hit the ball as if I hit it a bit fat off of grass - and I still get a pretty decent result. And when the bunker has sand, I hit great shots.
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I've posted elsewhere in TST about reading Pelz' Short Game Bible and following his techniques the best I could. His short game philosphy seemed to make sense, especially the clock positions. The strokes seemed 'normal'. I'm a high single-digit handicapper, ranging from 7.1 to 8.5 over the past 6 months. My full swing distances are on the higher-than-average side of the scale. The Pelz shortgame approach seemed to work for me the past two years except for one recurring problem...I noticed most of my short shots were hitting near the heel side of the face with an occassional shank...mostly with the 7:30 swing.

I tried to fix it, but could never figure it out (I even posted my issues in TST but I never quite fixed it although I believe I was consistently coming over the top). The shanks started to occur more often and they worked their way into my pitching stroke. I also noticed I had become a terrible bunker player which wasn't always the case. I was in trouble with no confidence whatsoever, so I did something about it...

I bought Stan Utley's book in May. His techniques are unlike anything I had ever heard. I worked on learning the mechanics at the practice area for a few days then took it out on the course. My first 35 yard "pitch" was to 2 feet. Later that round, I chipped in a 25 footer from a slight depression just off the green. During the second round I made an awesome short-sided bunker shot. I decided to stick with it.

Two months later I'm completely commited to Stan's techniques. I've received compliments from fellow club members and strangers about how good I'm chipping and pitching. (I let a few of them in on my secret). Most importantly, I'm making contact near the center of the face now. I've had zero shanks. I have confidence once again.

I thought I would continue to use Pelz' clock system, and I suppose I am to some extent, but I find I'm relying more on feel when it's actually time to make the shot.

Stan's book is a simple read. It may go against some of your beliefs, especially ball position, weight distribution at setup, and postion of the butt-end of the club throughout. The strokes are easy to learn, similar to each other, and repeatable IMO. I would almost guarantee you've never seen his bunker technique.

I'd recommend this book for anyone who hasn't become proficient at the short game (although you've tried) whether you're new to the game or have been playing for years but just can't seem to improve that short game.
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  • 2 weeks later...
Though his sand technique sounded foreign to me, after trying it bit, I am now thinking I want to continue. I was getting the ball out in control pretty effortlessly, but I was getting a lower trajectory than I am used to. I guess I still need to tinker.
If you haven't read his sand technique, check it out. Be aware: It is NOT what most people teach.
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Though his sand technique sounded foreign to me, after trying it bit, I am now thinking I want to continue. I was getting the ball out in control pretty effortlessly, but I was getting a lower trajectory than I am used to. I guess I still need to tinker.

Is it the dropping of ones hands and squatting down low that forces your left hand to cup (hitting bunker shots)? I'm having a hard time getting it to feel right for me.

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I really like Utley's perspectives and have tried to use them on course (as much as you can when there are 27 swing thoughts at any one time ).

I also bought and read his other book "The Art of Putting" and have found that his points in regards to set-up, feel and grip to be fantastic. I have a much better feel of the ball off the putter face now and am slowly bring the 36.5 putts per round average down!

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Is it the dropping of ones hands and squatting down low that forces your left hand to cup (hitting bunker shots)? I'm having a hard time getting it to feel right for me.

Yes, but I feel the biggest contributing factors to the wrist cup is keeping the right arm/elbow close to your right side on the backswing and keeping your weight on the left side.

This action doesn't allow your arms to extend properly like they need to during a normal full swing so to compensate, your left wrist must cup. You have to feel the reverse pivot or this shot will not work (keep weight on the left side).
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This action doesn't allow your arms to extend properly like they need to during a normal full swing so to compensate, your left wrist must cup. You have to feel the reverse pivot or this shot will not work (keep weight on the left side).

I put up a video of my attempt of an Utley sand shot in this thread:

http://thesandtrap.com/forum/showthread.php?t=15487 I am doing it like a drill he suggests in the book 1. cock wrist up 2. pivot around left leg. I think my main problem is dropping my R shoulder right now. I like the effortless motion in the sand though.
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What's the actual problem? Your grip looked a little to 'strong' but everything else looked pretty good. I find I have to keep that left shoulder down to get the ball up.

(Maybe I should ask this question on the other thread).
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  • 2 weeks later...
I bought The Art of the Short Game a couple of months ago, read it in an evening and couldn't wait to get out to the course and try it. I found the reading easy and some of it I was already incorporating into my short game but needed something to "jar" my game as it had grown rather stagnant and scores seemed to bottom out. Anyway, the techniques take some getting used to and I found myself having to really think about the shots more than usual on the course but that is decreasing the more I practice. The sand technique provided immediate and significant benefits to my bunker play and my ball dispersion around the holes at my club's practice facility tightened dramatically with these shots as well as chips and pitches. I've had some trouble taking it to the course but I think that is more mental than anything in that one really must trust that it works (which it does). All in all I'm thrilled with what I'm seeing and am finding enjoyment in some shots that had quite frankly become frustrating and/or boring.

Incidentally, I also purchased The Art of Putting a couple of weeks later because I liked the short game book so much and am equally impressed. I have more trouble with putting than the shots covered in The Art of the Short Game so it is taking me longer to acclimate but I expect that over time good results will surface.
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I'm almost finished with it now.

It's a good book. My short game was previously a mixture of a lot of different things. My chipping style was pretty similar to what Utley teaches but my pitching was different and my sand style 180 degrees different.

I haven't had a chance to practice or play with his sand techniques yet, as the course I typically play has no bunkers. My chipping feels more refined and I'm more confident with it.

The real difference for me, though, has been with pitch shots. I'm much better now than I've ever been. The other thing I got out of his book was that FINALLY, someone helped me to understand bounce in the clubhead properly, and how it worked.

Case in point: I went out this past week and hit only 6 of 14 fairways and only 2 of 18 greens, but still shot 92 (with 32 putts and only 1 three-putt) because my short game kept me out of the 100s.

Jess
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