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Diverse short game will improve your scores.

During a round of golf you are undoubtedly going to miss the green on occasion and you will be presented with a chip shot.

The skill of being able get a ball close enough to the flag to hole the putt is one which all the best players in the game share, and is very important.

Most golfers actually limit their chances of having a good short game by relying too heavily on a single club like a sand wedge. The truth is that you can use anything from a 7 iron through to a lofted wedge as well as a putter to play the shot. So how do you decide which club to use?

Your decision depends on how far up the green the flag is positioned - if the flag is at the back of the green it is better that you use a less lofted club like an 8 iron. You can play a small chip shot that will have a lot of roll, as opposed to trying to use a more lofted club such as a sand wedge with which you would have to produce a longer swing where there is more margin for error.

If the flag is at the front of the green you will need the ball to stop quicker so a more lofted club will be needed. However, you have other options. If there is a clear area in front of the green a putter could be the right choice, but you can also attempt to land the ball short of the green and let it run up on to the green.

Choosing the club depends on how much roll you require. The key is that you know where you want the ball to land and then how far it will run forward with each club. This knowledge only comes through experience. To help you build experience you should practice chipping the ball and landing it in an area about the size of a beach towel, then hit five shots each with four or five different clubs ranging from a 7-iron to a sand wedge, all the while landing it in the same spot with each club, then noticing the amount of roll you achieve with each club.

Taking this experience on to the course will give you the diversity to approach different short game shots with the club best suited for the task. When hitting a chip shot on the course you should have multiple practice swings trying to create the correct contact with the ground that you will use for the actual shot. When you are happy that you are making a positive stroke, you are ready to address the ball. The last thought in your mind as you make the swing should be the point where you wish the ball to land.

Remember you will not be able to improve your feel and control without plenty of practice, but you will see improvement in the results and ultimately the number at the end of the day.

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Publication:Gulf Weekly
Date:Feb 21, 2010
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