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Improve my short game with some time, no money?


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All, I’ve set a goal of improving my horrendous short game this year. I can make time to practice roughly 2x per week, and play 1 1/2 rounds per week. However, I do not have a budget for lessons or things like that. I spend all I can budget for golf on playing and necessary equipment (balls, shoes, etc.). So, improvements will need to be self directed. 
 

I’m currently a 9 handicap. But my short game has been terrible for quite some time. According to shotscope, my last 10 rounds I gain strokes compared to 10 handicap off tee (1.18), approach (1.13), and putting (1.15), but lose 2.85 on short game. That’s pretty consistent with how it has been since I started tracking. Even compared to a 25 handicap I lose 0.15 strokes in short game. So it seems, it’s really awful part of my game and the stats track the eye test for my short game. 
 

If I want to make a plan to get my short game better, any tips on how to do it self-help/DIY. Can’t afford lessons unfortunately. Willing to put in work though. Thanks in advance. 

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You can do it.  And inexpensively too.  Luckily most courses have a practice green where you can chip and putt for free.  Invest in a shag bag to keep your old golf balls in and make time to go practice your chips and putts.  Then take your shag bag to a park or any open field and practice hitting shots 50 yards or less at different targets.  You'll be surprised how much better your ball striking and short game will get rather quickly.  Good luck!

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What is the problem with your short game (specifically)?

 

Is it poor contact? If so, what is/are your misses? Thin, fat, both?

 

How’s your bunker play?

 

Do you have a thought process on how you’re attempting to hit shots? Hinge and hold, use the bounce, bump and runs, etc.?

 

Do you use just one club for the majority of your short game shots?

 

Can you post video of your motion?

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31 minutes ago, Ajgaguy83 said:

What is the problem with your short game (specifically)?

 

Is it poor contact? If so, what is/are your misses? Thin, fat, both?

 

How’s your bunker play?

 

Do you have a thought process on how you’re attempting to hit shots? Hinge and hold, use the bounce, bump and runs, etc.?

 

Do you use just one club for the majority of your short game shots?

 

Can you post video of your motion?

I’d say poor contact for sure is a problem. Though I am not 100% sure, I’d say it feels/seems like poor low point control. I can hit a stubby fat one or thin it across the green. Probably thin it more than fat, but both are concerns. 
 

Bunker play is not good, but that is a secondary issue. The main course I play, I’m rarely in a green side bunker. I think I was in one in my last 3 rounds and I got out. Don’t get me wrong, bunker play needs lots of work, but I don’t think it’s main culprit for why my short game stats are so bad.  
 

Not sure on thought process. Need a better plan there probably. Lean most weight on front leg, try to rotate with slightly open club face and slight forward lean and not let the leading edge dig into ground. 
 

In terms of what club I use. Currently 3 clubs. Putter when I can putt from off the green. Fine at that. 9iron bump and run if can’t putt. “Ok” at that, though not great. 54 degree wedge otherwise. That one is even more erratic. Probably use the 54 15-20% of the time at most these days because so bad at chipping. 
 

Have never videoed myself. Don’t own a tripod or know how one would do it (but if a video Luddite)

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Interesting I just saw this post because I had a bad short game day and immediately started googling short game instruction.  Then I remembered a lesson with Brian Mogg many years ago and he talked a lot about the short game being just feel, imagination and playing a lot of competitive games to get better.    I feel like I get too mechanical with the short game, which I really don't do on full shots.  I'm going to give it a try.

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Practice short game like a kid! You don’t have money as a kid so you chip and putt a lot more. Second you aren’t so results oriented, this frees you up and you try to pull off all the shots, high, low, soft, releasing, biting, etc. My 10 year old just shot 79 from the silver tees 4,800 yards, he could care less if he misses a green or can’t reach a par 4 in two because he knows he will chip it tight. I make him have a stock chipping technique, but other than that I let him do what he wants during chipping/ short game practice. He is just reacting to what the shot calls for. I think a lot of amazing short game players figured it out own their own.  Can’t go wrong with Monte’s videos to head you in the right direction as stated above. 

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