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"The Art of the Short Game" by Stan Utley

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I am using the chipping technique.
Maybe I am taking the club head a bit too high and coming to steep into the ball.

How are you controlling the distance for the chip? By taking the club head a bit further back or by pivoting speed?

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I just finished reading this book. It was a very good read and I plan on trying his methods out.

I had the same question about judging distance??

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How are you controlling the distance for the chip? By taking the club head a bit further back or by pivoting speed?

Mostly the distance you take the clubhead back. Trying to control the speed is just about impossible (unless you're Johnny Miller, if you even believe him).

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Mostly the distance you take the clubhead back. Trying to control the speed is just about impossible (unless you're Johnny Miller, if you even believe him).

Don't get me started on Miller!!

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I just wanted to mention that I really am enjoying this forum.

I too have become an Utley devotee. Here is my sad story...
I used to use the "reverse release" method on shots around the green a truly heinous technique devised I'm sure by the devil himself, and which made it extra hard to re-learn all this stuff. What most helped me was when I really focused on rotating the clubface open w/ forearms in the backswing (in addition to swinging back on the curved path). Then when i came through in the downswing the opposite rolling happened much more easily. Then all at once the rest of it came together -- the softening elbows, the bowing wrist, the pivot, and the follow through to the left. I was able to capture what had eluded me, the low trajectory chipping with the L wedge, using very little effort. As soon as I got that rotation bit in the chipping I also immediately got it in the putting and suddenly it all made sense. It's the same concept in both. The forearm rotation is so key. It's amazing how much power you can get just from correct forearm rotation. Once you get this I cant imagine ever not doing it this way. For me it suddenly felt like I was REALLY using the clubs effectively.

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the short game is definatley the hardest part of the game, but if you dont expect anything when you hit the ball you have a better chance of making your body less tense and hittign a cleaner shot.

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the short game is definatley the hardest part of the game, but i

What?!? That makes no sense to me. If you don't expect anything than you probably aren't focused on the shot.

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What?!? That makes no sense to me. If you don't expect anything than you probably aren't focused on the shot.

No, expectation is not the same as focus or preparation.

Expectations are the root of almost all pressure. Preparation and "getting lost in the process" counter-act that.

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Well, it's been almost a year since my first post on this topic and I have yet to really be able to bring these methods to the course in the purest form i.e. precisely the techniques described in the book. Practice sessions continue to be good which indicates to me that tension is 'death' to this method. That said, I have not abandoned the concepts rather simply modified them to fit my game a bit better.

Like Stan, I went to the 54, 58 Vokey combination with a lot of bounce. I didn't like the 54 so I went back to my previous 54 and 60 with less bounce but left the Vokey 58 in my bag and use it under softer conditions and out of the sand. I found I really missed my low bounce 60 and the shot Utley advocates for lob shots never really worked consistently for me. I do like the square set up, however, and have kept that aspect for the most part (less side spin, easier to get on line, etc.). Bunker play has improved definitely but on the flip side of that, I do leave the occasional shot in the bunker which I rarely did before. I think practice will take care of that, plus the sand at my club is very fluffy and deep and I've always had a hard time with it...never really get that true 'thump' out of our bunkers.

The putting is probably a topic for another post but suffice to say that the Utley method helped me there as well though I had to back off after the first couple of months as I found I was over-exaggerating the motions. All in all some great concepts but, for me, it has been difficult to implement in its purest form, under pressure. Also doesn't help that I haven't been able to play nearly as much over the past couple of years so I can't blame the technique....just had to modify it slightly for it to work for my level of practice.

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Alas; this has taken me a long time as well. I haven't even tried to take it out on the course yet. But I'm happy to say that I pretty much "got it", at least with the chipping and putting. I don't know if I would have gotten it without access to a true short game practice area, combined with watching and rewatching all his videos on the net, in addition to basically memorizing his books. I do have to say that once you "get it", at least for me, it's really a "eureka" type moment, where not only does it suddenly all makes sense, but it's suddenly easy as pie to do, and you immediately think, "why on earth would you ever NOT do it this way." It's simply the most sensible and effective way to do it. That being said, I'm still working on the pitching and sand shots and specialty shots. I do well on shorter pitches and I'm starting to get the hang of the longer ones. The tight lies are the true test. I'm finally getting the hang of using the bounce, and particularly on using the back part of the bottom of the club.

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Hello, first time poster here.

I found this great forum while trying to improve my short game. I recently read a lot of articles and books but found The Art of the Short Game to be the best (certainly the easiest to implement). Last round, after overhauling my chipping/pitching, I finally feel like I got it down. In one hole, I hit the flag on a chip shot over a large bunker situated well below the pin and almost holed it for a birdie!

At first, it was very frustrating because I felt like a million things were racing through my head and didn't feel confident since I never took these shots before (didn't practice the shots at all) but just like everything else, you need a lot of practice to master it. I felt much more confident around the green after the last round. Definitely will help me for sure.

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For me, this has been by far the biggest help to my short game. I feel that I finally "got it" this past weekend. Had several chips that left me with kick putts and even two pitches that came off perfectly. Now if only I can find something for the rest of my game!!!!

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I picked up this book based on the strength of the comments on this forum. For me, the most valuable part of the book is the feel based approach and the regulation of the length of the backswing. I think one of the main problems with many amateurs' short games is that by relying on a shoulder/arms swing, we frequently take the club back much further than we think we are, leading to deceleration/chunks. Utley's method allows me to feel how far back I'm taking the club much better than with my previous technique. Obviously, it's going to take some time getting used to the mechanics, but I think his emphasis on feel makes it a lot easier. One of the reasons I like the pro I work with so much on my long game is that we don't work on mechanics, plane, video analysis, etc. Instead, he gives me a move to feel, and I incorporate that move into my practice and preshot routine (or, as is the case for me, my waggle). Plus, since my ballstriking is fairly advanced, perhaps incorporating more of a mini-full swing feel will improve my contact on chips and pitches. Here's hoping that Utley's technique leads to some serious improvement in the most deficient part of my game.

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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.

Powerfade- I agree 100% with you regarding Dave Pelz. I read his book and went to his one day clinic in Boca Raton. I started implementing his open the face and stance sand shots and almost immediately starting shanking all of my short irons. The shanks were making me nuts. I even starting shanking my 5 iron!!

I went to TPC sawgrass this past winter and hit the ball really great but could not chip/putt or hit anything out of the sand to save my life. (birdied 17 though*) my short game was a mess. I was in the airport bookstore and saw utleys book. I figured what the hell and read it on the flight back home. I saw instant results with my chips and pitches and awesome results with my sand game. no more opening the face and stance and swinging across my Stance, but most of all NO MORE SHANKS! I need to reread the book because lately my short game has been a bit inconsistant. ( ive been playing 2,3 times a week but have not put any real practice time in) But I highly recommend this book. I looked into lessons with Stan but he is out in Arizona and it is very expensive.

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Just finished reading the book. First impressions---1. His weight forward, legs and torso dominant chipping/pitching philosophy works better than the open clubface, ball back in stance, and upright swing that others teach. 2. Wow, that bunker technique looks to be vastly different from the techniques I've learned.

The ideas and techniqes in the book are great. I like that he gets to the point and stays focused on the main points. Wish the book had more photos.

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anyone into Utley has to check out his latest videos, with the same name as the book. They're on "mycontent.com" .. you gotta buy them for 20 bucks or so a pop (there's 4.. one for putting, chipping, pitching, sand) so you gotta drop a hundred for all of them. It's sooo much easier to learn from video than a book. They are worth every penny if not many times that amount, imo. we're all rich golfers anyway, right? . Just kidding.

The other thing you can do with videos, which I highly recommend, is video yourself and then do a side by side, with you and utley and become your own guru. Absolutely amazing how informative t it is and easy to do, once you get over the self image issues (which are a big thing when you're a little round like me) and the lazyness issues, and the 'fear of looking like a freak' issues. The speed in which you will be able to spot things .. little mistakes.. that you were making, is increadible.

He's also changed the way he presents his technique, recently, I've noticed, with a much greater focus on what he calls "allowing yourself to feel wristy ". I think he used to shy away from that type of advice thinking that it would scare away too many golfers but now he doesn't care, and just says it like it is. Of course, just "being wristy" is not the complete solution, and there's a lot more to it than that. In fact, he even mentions in his book about how he sometimes "takes the wrists out of it" on certain shots. Good golf is never going to be a cookbook, I'm afraid. But his messages and delivery are just soo refreshing...

People talk about his sand technique and how easy it is and effective, once you get the hang of it. I have had that experience as well. He reveals in his videos that, not only did he learn this technique from Tom Pernice, but Pernice learned it from Ballesteros, so you cant go wrong learning from a genius. Others have mentioned that Player used a similar style as well, although I am not as familiar with his technique, although I heard he was the best out of sand in his time.

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anyone into Utley

WOW thanks for this. I've been working on Utley's methods too, and the last 2 weeks I feel like I finally 'got it'. But watching Phil's short game DVD made me wish Utley had something for more visual people. These videos are expensive, but look worth it if you have problems in one area.

My problem is chipping out of thick rough (I just add loft and pitch it out now instead), so I'll get that vid and check it out. Thanks for posting!!

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I'm trashing my cobbled-together frankenstein of a short game altogether and starting over from scratch with Utley's techniques. Physio says I probably still have a few weeks until my busted rib heals up and I can make a full swing again, so it'll be nothing but pitches and putts until then. Could be a blessing in disguise -- the greens down here are damn tricky. They were posted as 9.5 this morning and there are big breaks all over the place.

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