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"That's life. The older you get, the tougher it is to score."  Bob Hope

Home Up Break 100? Your Clubs Two-Plane Swing Feel the Swing Bunker Play Your Putting Your Practice Short Game

OFF SEASON OVERHAUL SHORT GAME
PITCHING     CHIPPING
THE BASIC CHIPPING STROKE

OFF SEASON OVERHAUL

Pinehurst Magazine OCT/NOV, pp42-43, Lee Pace

 

Instructor Bob Dougherty had two golfers from Greensboro come to Southern Pines twice during the 2004-04 off-season to go through One Day Short Game Schools. They focused on mastering shots from up to 100 yards from the hole and practiced what they’d learned throughout the winter. By spring time, one took his handicap from 15 to 8 and the other from 20 to 10.

“They got to where they could get up and down from the ball-washer,” says Dougherty, who runs the Professionals Golf School at Hyland Hills Golf Resort. “Average golfers don’t put enough emphasis on the short game. All they want to do is hit the ball 300 yards.”

Devoting practice time to the short game is a terrific idea year-around, but it’s even better in the off-season. “you’re interested n playing golf during warm weather,” Dougherty says. “If you get away from trying to worry about shooting a number all the time, you can focus on some things that can help your game.”

Dougherty like a drill he call the “ladder drill,” where he places cones at 20, 40, 60, 80 and 100 yards and has the golfer hit to the various targets with different clubs. “That’s how you develop touch and feel,” he says.

Winter’s a good time to totally revamp an relearn your short game shots. There’s enough good weather to give you time to practice, but not so much you’re playing the kind of competitive golf and travel golf that deflects attention from practice.

“Golfers come to me all the time and say, ‘I skull my wedges,’” Dougherty says. “But if you learn to hit them with dead hands and use the big muscles to control the shot, you’ll quit skulling them.

“If you master the flop wedge shot and the low-running wedge shot, where the ball takes one bounce and stops, your handicap will come down. When you develop feel with different clubs from different distances, you’ll play better. It’s a great project for the off-season.

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Short Game

Sat Jan 11, 2003 - By Bob Dougherty

 

Once a sound swinging motion is developed, all of the various shots in golf share a common feeling and motion. Most professionals on tour hit, on average, 10 to 13 greens a round, so why do they score so well? The answer to this is obvious. The short game accounts for well over half of their score. For you, it may be even more, which is a shame, since it doesn’t take brute strength or athletic ability to develop a sound short game. What it does involve is proper set-up for a solid stroke which can be varied in pace and length along with a developed feel for distance. It also takes as much practice, and probably more patience, to become proficient at this than the full swing does. Make a commitment to spend at least half of your practice time on your short game. The results on the golf course will be well worth the effort.


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Pitching

Sat Jan 11, 2003 - By Bob Dougherty

 

How many times have you faced a pitch shot over a trap, or water, to a tight pin and made a mess of the shot? I suspect the answer is many, many times.
 
The two main requirements for good pitching are very similar to those for chipping: a good set-up and using, basically, an “arms” swing that accelerates through the ball. When you face less than a full shot, you have to make a less than full back swing. Many players take the club back too far and decelerate through impact or they “flick” the wrist during the swing. Both of these swings will produce very poor results.
 
The pitching shot is basically an underarm “toss” to the target using the same set-up as used for the chipping stroke. A slightly open stance with your weight primarily on the left foot is how you start. The knees are slightly flexed and the arms hang down vertically toward the ball. From this set-up position, playing a pitch shot is merely a full swing in miniature. The arms and body turn away from the ball so that your weight shifts to the instep of the right foot. The club head is taken back on a direct line from the target
 
The downswing begins by your returning to the address position with the club head accelerating through the ball, and your follow through finishes in a mirror-Image of your backswing. (i.e. the length of your follow through must be at least equal to the length of the backswing). You finish with your weight on the left foot. The club head will move ahead of the hands on the follow through.
 
Once you’ve begun to master the fundamental pitching stroke, visualizing a shot before you hit it becomes “all important”. You have to “see” the spot where you want the ball to land on the green and vary your swing by the length of the backswing so the ball will land on this spot. Once again, a practice stroke here will be a big help.

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Chipping

Sat Jan 11, 2003 - By Bob Dougherty

 

Chipping is a most important component of better scoring. Improve your chipping and you automatically improve your scoring!! Learn to feel the correct chipping stroke and you can easily save 5 strokes per round. Chipping is a mixture of simple mechanics and feel; the easy drills that we use will show you how to get a feel for distance like the Pro’s doll

 

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The Basic Chipping Stroke

Sat Jan 11, 2003 - By Bob Dougherty

 

With the correct set-up, you are in a position to quickly develop feel for the distance and direction of the shot. Your weight should be primarily on your left foot with your hands ahead of the ball. By doing this, you are assured of accelerating the club through the ball with a descending blow. The ball should be positioned no farther forward than the middle of your stance; this is so the left hand can lead the stroke. You should also align yourself slightly open (to the left) of the target so that you can swing the club straight out towards your target with a firm wrist action. Hips and feet are slightly open with shoulders parallel to the intended target line

Once you are set up correctly, the chipping stroke is simply a matter of brushing the grass under the ball with your club, allowing the loft of the club to get the ball in the air, land on the green and then roll like a putt to the hole. This is an arms only stroke with the hands staying ahead of the club head. The hands and body play no part in a well executed chipping stroke. The chip is simply a putt with a club that has loft on It When playing a chip shot; try to think of it as a chip and a putt in one stroke. Part of the shot is through the air and the other part is the ball rolling like a putt to the hole. How far the ball has to travel through the air to reach the green will determine which club is best suited to the shot How far the bail has to roil to the hole will determine how hard, or soft, the shot should be played.

It always pays to take a practice stroke first to get the feel for the right stroke and for distance. This is the thought process that should be applied to a chip, and the one which will always bring you the best results.

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Home Up Break 100? Your Clubs Two-Plane Swing Feel the Swing Bunker Play Your Putting Your Practice Short Game

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