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"The Art of the Short Game" by Stan Utley

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I'll have to read his stuff on the bunker play. I'm a pretty good bunker player, but it's on those longer bunker shots (say 30 yards) I need to get better. I don't get that type of trajectory the tour pros get on those type of bunker shots.

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I like Stan Utley's method. It's simple, straight forward, and to the point. The idea of not having to think which wedge to play and just pulling out the ol trusty 58* is a really nice concept. The most ironic thing about his teaching is that I have used a similar wedge set up that he promotes for a while now and it wasnt until the last couple of months that I read his book. It was comforting to know that I was already on the same page as him before reading his book.

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Looking forward to reading this one and his putting book. Ordered them from Amazon yesterday.

I need the help and am willing to make changes where needed.

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I just cross-posted about this book in the "what methods have you used to improve your game" thread, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. I tried Pelz's 4-wedge method with 3 different swing lengths for each club (for 12 distances) and it seemed great in theory but not so great in practice -- too mechanical for me. I much prefer using one club for all pitching and chipping, which in my case is my new Eidolon 48 degree wedge (though I'll pull out the sand wedge for sand shots, and use the 56 degree wedge for near side bunker carry pitches too).

I find that since I've read Utley's book I have begun to focus much more intently on what I think the ball will do and concentrate on exactly where I want to land it, rather than pacing off 24 yards and going "Oh, that's a 7:30 swing with my 56 SW" and just slapping it up there. I tend to agree that the amount of force is mostly intuitive, like tossing a tennis ball at a basket 30 feet away -- you don't practice that, but you could get it pretty close just guestimating.

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I've read both of his books recently and began applying his principles into my short game. I've seen significant improvement, particularly with short pitches and chipping. His putting technique makes a lot of sense, but I still struggle on convincing myself to hit it just a bit harder and tend to come up just short way too many times.

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I have read both his books, and while I didn't particularly like the putting book, I think there were a lot of great things in the Short Game one. I particulary liked the bunker technique. It was a big change to not open the face and stance but it has worked wonders for me. I now use a vokey SM58.12 and allowing the clubs "bounce" do its job works really well for me.

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this book is amazing. i didn't think the short game could be so simple.

one thing i'm not sure about that he doesn't fully explain is how much bounce is needed to effectively make good contact and have the club slide on the sand/turf. i know he uses 12* but is there a min/max with his technique. my SW only had 8* bounce so i just purchased a new 52* and 56* with 10* and 14* respectively. will the 14* help me even more or cause more trouble? i would think if there's too much bounce the club would skip off the turf and cause you to skull it unless you're hitting down on it instead of trying to pitch it.

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this book is amazing. i didn't think the short game could be so simple.

If I remember correctly, more bounce is better if applying the Utley technique properly - the club should 'glide' through the ball/impact area without digging into the turf.

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this book is amazing. i didn't think the short game could be so simple.

He does not do the best job in explaining it and that is indeed an extremely frustrating aspect of this book. He says use as much as you can get away with depending on your course conditions, but doesn't get very in-depth on that. In the entire chapter on pitching I think bounce is mentioned once before the last page where he basically says if you are using it correctly, or once you understand how it works, etc. without having communicated what he means by that.

When you say trying to "pitch it" vs. hitting down on it, to me, that is suggesting that you are interpreting him to promote something other than a descending blow, and the antithesis of what, for example, Clampett preaches. Having reread some of the Utley book, I can see where you would get that impression. I'm not sure Utley really intends to convey that, but I can see how that could come through the way the book is written. The writer appears to have really good credendials, but I didn't like his style or way of presenting what is essentially instruction.

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yea it's a little confusing as far as the technical stuff. and i kinda worded it wrong but from what i understand he talks about on a "chip" shot the leading edge of the club (forward press) is digging in the turf after ball first contact (hitting down), where as on his "pitch"/sand shot you are using the bounce to slide the club on the turf/sand and get the ball in the air using the loft of the club and the help of the cupped left wrist/right palm facing up. almost seems like trying to pick it since there is no divot, just scuff from the bounce.

like i said i could be confused, and he could have done a better job on explaining it in a little more detail, but this book has helped me a ton. only played 2 rounds since reading this, but have worked quite a few nights at the range on it. the short game shanks and skulls seem to be gone, hopefully this will get me down to the mid-high 80's soon here.

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yea it's a little confusing as far as the technical stuff. and i kinda worded it wrong but from what i understand he talks about on a "chip" shot the leading edge of the club (forward press) is digging in the turf after ball first contact (hitting down), where as on his "pitch"/sand shot you are using the bounce to slide the club on the turf/sand and get the ball in the air using the loft of the club and the help of the cupped left wrist/right palm facing up. almost seems like trying to pick it since there is no divot, just scuff from the bounce.

That's what frustrates me about the book, because I don't really think he means to suggest that there is no divot and we should pick the ball from the turf on pitch shots, and I can't believe that is really what he means, but he leaves the door open for that interpretation, and it is a valid interpretation based on the way the book is written. For a "hot" instructor with different methods, his book should be better at the mechanics of his methods and communicating clearly what he means.

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Hello,

I just finished reading the book and really liked it.
A lot of the things made great sense to me. What I liked most, is that I am actually setting up square to the target and have the ball forward in my stance, like in full shots.
I never liked this ball back, and open posture. It just does not feel right to aim away from the target.

I have practiced chipping and pitching. So far it is working pretty well. almost no bladed and rarely a fluffed shot.
However for the pitching, (and I guess even more for the bunker shot, but I havent tried that) it is too much hands action for my taste. Releasing the hands so that they are ahead of the shaft during impact is dangerously close to scooping for me.
Strangely enough, the results where Ok so far.

I am not sure if will manage to dial my distances just using pivoting intensity. Changing the distance by hitting it higher and higher doesn't necessesarily seem right to me, when I could hit it a bit lower and let the ball roll ab it further with a stronger lofted club. I think I will try to learn 2 wedges.

Regarding the bunker shot, I have not yet learned at all how to play out of the sand. So I just dont play there.
The technique describe by Stan Utley again makes a lot of sense to me. The hardest part of the bunker shot is to consistently hit the same spot in the sand. And if I try the twisted posture, it makes it harder for me. So again, I like the square setup.
What I did not yet get, is how I should do the takeaway. Did he say that the swing should be close to the chest? Isn't that chciken wing style?


What really bugged me on the book is the editing quality. The first copy I got was just totally messed up. pages missing, chapters mixed...
So I returned it and got a 'good' copy.
But also in this one, there seem to be a lot of photos, that are not really referenced to in the text, or properly described.
For example in the chipping section there is another sequence of photos (the colored), that I believe show the pitching, but that is nowhere written. Either I have another defect copy of the book, or this is just horrible editing.
At other pages there are pictures of how NOT to do it (I believe). But it is not written that these pictures show errors. And again they are not referenced in the text.

All in all, I really like the book, and I think I will continue to learn these shots, because it is easier for me to commit to a technique that makes sense to me.

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I just ordered this book along with the Art of Putting. I can't wait to get them and read them.

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Please let me know what you think about the chipping he is promoting.
If I do it his way, I make really good contact, but I cant get the ball to roll a lot, because I put a lot of backspin on the ball.

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Please let me know what you think about the chipping he is promoting.

Are you using his pitching or chipping technique? The ball rolls quite a bit when I use his chipping technique, and rolls barely at all when I pitch with his technique.

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