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Mr Smell Good

Short Game - I have some questions

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First I will start with an update about how I've been playing lately and my background.  I like to keep it short and to the point:

-First learned how to play about 10 years ago

-Started getting serious about 4 months ago

-Since then played about 10 or 15 full rounds and practiced mostly full swing stuff. took 2 lessons on my swing w/ irons and driver

-Typical scores are in the mid 90's now.  Lowest I've shot is 92

Played last Sunday and I'm consistently driving the ball 240-270 and landing it in or near the fairways.  My iron play has also improved a lot lately and I was recently fitted for new irons.

Once I get level with the green and have to chip is where I start to just waste strokes.  I don't have confidence in my chipping.  A successful chip for me is just getting it anywhere on the green but sometimes that doesn't happen either.  I had a buddy playing with me this weekend who literally only hit farther than me off the tee one time out of 18 holes and yet he shot an 83 to my 95 because once he was near the green he was almost always 1 chip and 1 putt from being done with the hole.

Questions:

1) What is the best way to get better at short game?  I have seen people who have 4 different wedges for different situations, but my friend who is the good chipper plays all his shots with his lob wedge.  Do you guys get comfortable with one club and just use that for the majority of your chips?  Is bump and run better when you have the chance to do it?

2) He suggested I get a shag bag.  Any advice on if it's worth it or where to find these cheap?

3) How do you most effectively practice?  I know some local courses have chipping greens but it seems like there are so many variables that every shot in a game is different than anything I have practiced.  The type of grass surrounding the green, the speed of greens, the lie, etc.

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Originally Posted by Mr Smell Good

First I will start with an update about how I've been playing lately and my background.  I like to keep it short and to the point:

-First learned how to play about 10 years ago

-Started getting serious about 4 months ago

-Since then played about 10 or 15 full rounds and practiced mostly full swing stuff. took 2 lessons on my swing w/ irons and driver

-Typical scores are in the mid 90's now.  Lowest I've shot is 92

Played last Sunday and I'm consistently driving the ball 240-270 and landing it in or near the fairways.  My iron play has also improved a lot lately and I was recently fitted for new irons.

Once I get level with the green and have to chip is where I start to just waste strokes.  I don't have confidence in my chipping.  A successful chip for me is just getting it anywhere on the green but sometimes that doesn't happen either.  I had a buddy playing with me this weekend who literally only hit farther than me off the tee one time out of 18 holes and yet he shot an 83 to my 95 because once he was near the green he was almost always 1 chip and 1 putt from being done with the hole.

Questions:

1) What is the best way to get better at short game?  I have seen people who have 4 different wedges for different situations, but my friend who is the good chipper plays all his shots with his lob wedge.  Do you guys get comfortable with one club and just use that for the majority of your chips?  Is bump and run better when you have the chance to do it?

2) He suggested I get a shag bag.  Any advice on if it's worth it or where to find these cheap?

3) How do you most effectively practice?  I know some local courses have chipping greens but it seems like there are so many variables that every shot in a game is different than anything I have practiced.  The type of grass surrounding the green, the speed of greens, the lie, etc.

1) Really recommend Stan Utley's book, Art of the Shortgame. He recommends using 1 wedge for everything. I use 2, I have a 56-14 and 60-08, I have no hard and fast rules as to which one I use for a particular shot, I go with my gut and the lie. If I have a long way to go I will generally pitch it, if I'm close I'll chip it (or sometimes flop) largely because I don't have the skill (yet) to pitch really short distances and tend to decel when I try. If I'm just off or around the fringe I'll either putt it or if I want to carry over some of the junk (or eliminate some of the early break) i'll use an iron with a putting stroke. When using and iron with a putting stroke you can estimate carry/roll with the rule of 12 = subtact number on the iron from 12 to get your ratio ie: 8 iron is 12-8=4 so 1 yard of carry will give you approximately 4 yards of roll....PW (aka 10 iron) will be 12-10=2 so 1 yard of carry will give you around 2 yards of roll. Adjust to factor in up or downhill and speed of greens. This formula has gotten me really close to the pin more often than not.

If you have newer irons with crazy strong lofts you may need to adjust a bit (my irons are about 12 years old)

2) Shag bag, meh whatever, I keep a bunch of old balls in a bucket in the shed and pull it out whenever I want to practice.

3) It's definitely nice to be able to practice short game with an actual green but I get the job done pretty well in the backyard. If you can control your carry distances consistently you'll be in great shape. Like putting, green speeds and amount of break will vary from course to course and day to day anyway. I try to do a little chipping prior to the round if its permitted to get a feel for how much the ball will release on any given short game shot, you can get a good feel for it from some pre-round practice putts as well if chipping is a no-no on the practice green.

Also see Erik's (iacas) post about basic pitch shots and using the bounce, same idea as Utley but with video which can help.

My long game is a disaster but my short game is pretty strong.

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Bonus with the Utley book: his bunker technique is one of the best things I ever learned. I laugh at bunkers now, I used to be the guy that cringed and though, "how many strokes will it take to get outta that!" now I'm the guy that's thinking, "how close to the pin can get it" Perfect THUMP and out everytime, now its all about getting the distance right so I can just tap it in.

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Originally Posted by Mr Smell Good

Questions:

1) What is the best way to get better at short game?  I have seen people who have 4 different wedges for different situations, but my friend who is the good chipper plays all his shots with his lob wedge.  Do you guys get comfortable with one club and just use that for the majority of your chips?  Is bump and run better when you have the chance to do it?

Practice practice practice. It is actually very common to have a "go to" club around the greens. For me it's almost always a 56* wedge unless I find myself shortsided, then I go to a 60*. Some people use that go to wedge as a versatility club for all kinds of shots. Some go as deep into their irons to do long chip shots and bump and runs. The key is to find what you feel comfortable with.

2) He suggested I get a shag bag.  Any advice on if it's worth it or where to find these cheap?

The shag bags can get pretty pricey, but the tubes are just as good and work just as well (also can work as an alignment aid) for less money. If you have a park close by with a large field, you might be able to use that to your advantage. A back yard works well too. Just get a mat so you don't risk damaging your lawn.

3) How do you most effectively practice?  I know some local courses have chipping greens but it seems like there are so many variables that every shot in a game is different than anything I have practiced.  The type of grass surrounding the green, the speed of greens, the lie, etc.

Right now, I'm just trying to perfect the strike of chips and pitches. But IMO the best thing to practice is your distance control. There's a towel drill some instructors have shown where you put a towel down about 5 feet away from each other and you just practice landing the ball onto each towel. The variables, like reading a putt, will all come down to distance control and how you read the green.

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1) What is the best way to get better at short game?  I have seen people who have 4 different wedges for different situations, but my friend who is the good chipper plays all his shots with his lob wedge.  Do you guys get comfortable with one club and just use that for the majority of your chips?  Is bump and run better when you have the chance to do it?

Originally Posted by Ernest Jones

When using and iron with a putting stroke you can estimate carry/roll with the rule of 12 = subtact number on the iron from 12 to get your ratio ie: 8 iron is 12-8=4 so 1 yard of carry will give you approximately 4 yards of roll....PW (aka 10 iron) will be 12-10=2 so 1 yard of carry will give you around 2 yards of roll. Adjust to factor in up or downhill and speed of greens. This formula has gotten me really close to the pin more often than not.

Even though I'm a high handicapper, this general method has worked very well for me of late. I'm not saying I get close enough to one putt every time, but I at least give myself a chance to. I haven't used the formula as Ernest posted but that looks like a good way to remain consistent. The general idea is that the more putting green you have to work with relative to the distance the ball is off the green, the less lofted club you use. Obviously this works if there are no hills, bunkers, etc. in front of the ball. Before this year, I just flopped every shot around the green because I didn't know any better. Got pretty good at it but I don't think I'd go back to that method now.

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Visit this thread: [URL=http://thesandtrap.com/t/39411/quickie-pitching-video]http://thesandtrap.com/t/39411/quickie-pitching-video[/URL] Improve tremendously, most likely immediately.

Yes that is the one I was referring to. Sorry, can't link from my phone. Similar to utley.

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I love this forum, thanks a lot for the replies guys!

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