Short Game Hack #1 [Learn Four Shots for the Price of One]

 The artistry and technique of the short game can take years to master, with thousands of repetitions and a lifetime of experiences needed to build a “Seve” like touch with a wedge.  For almost all of us, that amount of practice, or any practice for that matter, is highly unlikely.  Fortunately, there are ways to shortcut, or hack our way to a better short game without the countless hours of practice.

Learning all of the shots around the greens can be time consuming and frustrating.

 Learn One Shot, Get 3 Other Shots for Free!

The 60 degree sand wedge is truly a game changer around the green.  Effortless height on the ball helps it land softly and stop within a reasonable distance, but for many golfers this comes with some drawbacks.  Hitting multiple types of shots with the lob wedge can get tricky.  There’s no worse feeling in golf than trying to hit the lower, running pitch shot with a lob wedge and blading it over the green.  A lot of you have a comfortable basic shot you can hit with the wedge, that flies a certain distance with a certain swing speed.  Let’s use your basic motion and basic speed with multiple clubs to build a short game that helps you navigate different situations on the course.

Rather than learn 4 shots with one club, an alternative way to develop your short game could be to learn 1 shot and change clubs for different situations.

Set up the Basics

The first step is building the basic motion to work off of with your most lofted wedge in the bag.  Place the golf ball in the middle of a narrow stance.  There’s no need to put the ball behind your back foot, with the handle of the club leaning way forward.  A neutral shaft position with the handle of the club just ahead of your zipper will give you plenty of shaft lean for solid contact.  Keep your shoulders level at address, with a slight lean of your upper body towards the target.

Now for the swing.  The key to the basic shot is to not overload any of your speed producers.  Thoughts like “just use the arms” or “only use the wrists” or “just turn the body” are usually counterproductive over time, unless you know your tendencies very well and one of those thoughts helps even out your motion.  The backswing is a blended motion of shoulders and arms, with the wrists helping you get the clubshaft to a parallel to the ground position just past your trail leg.  The follow thru is more of the same, with a little pivot towards the target, arms swinging to belt level, and enough wrist action to give the ball a medium height off of the clubface.

Basic Short Game Motion

Same Motion, 4 Different Shots

Once you’ve established your basic motion with the lofted wedge, it’s time to apply that motion to different clubs.  Take the next two clubs in your set, and for your fourth club, skip one in between.  For me, the four clubs I would use would be my 60 degree wedge, my 56, 52, and then skipping my pitching wedge to use my nine iron.  Applying my basic motion using these four clubs will give me 4 different shots.  As you’ll see in the video below, the range of shots using the same clubhead speed of around 31 MPH gives you a solid base to tackle a lot of situations you’ll have around the greens.

Aaron is a Master Lead Instructor at the Tour Striker Golf Academy, located in Phoenix, Arizona.  To keep upgrading your game, make sure to subscribe below to weekly updates from the blog.