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Short Game Methods


spider
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who uses what and why?
Watching Stan Utley on the Golf Channel got me thinking about short game methods. I am curious as to what people on the site subscribe to as the best method and what some instructors think.

It seems there are two thoughts on technique in vogue right now. Please correct me if I am wrong I am only going by what I have seen.

First style is everything in the short game is on an arc or plane. Ie. Utley.
Putter: goes back on an arc relative to the stroke
Chips: ball middle of stance... weight left...stroke is more in to in.
Pitches: use speed to determine distance and not the clock method.

Second style is more staight back and thru. ie. Dave Pelz
Putter: straight back and thru
Chips: ball back outside ankle open stance more out to in.
pitch: length of back swing to same finish to determine distance. Clock method.

I know I have over simplified the two or maybe there are more methods but just curious as to what you all use or the instructors think is better.

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I'm kinda in between. I like a straight back straight thru putt, but I like to chip and pitch on a plane. I control distance by the clock method, and try to always accelerate the same on every shot.

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Spider.....ya' gotta' have em' BOTH if you want to be a really good player.......you must have the ability to hit a "driving"/trapped type of shot when necessary (Pelz) AND the ability to rotate and "cut the legs out from under it" like Stan........Utley's technique is MUCH easier when your short sided, etc. but MUCH harder off of tight lies, etc........at least for most people......but if you've got decent fwy's or are in the rough Stan's deal will be much more consistent and results in a much softer shot with more spin.......

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Assuming good fwy's why is Stan's method more consistent? Should one employ a wedge with more bounce for Stan's techniques. I think I employ both. sometimes going to a spot that feels like 9 oclock for instance for a certain shots. However it seems I use the same back swing and speed up my pivot for longer shots and slow the pivot for shorter.

 

I am guessing but is Stan's method more athletic and feel based than Pelz. I only use their names as examples I am sure there are many other methods.

 

Another thought. chip and pitch one club or many? I use one or two. L wedge or 54 wedge for most shots around green. what do you all do? What do you think is best?

 

Slicefixer nice avatar

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Ping G30 5 wood S tour spec
Ping G30 7 wood S tour spec
Mizuno MP 37 s300 P-3
Wishon 575 mmc cavity P-4 Aerotech I95 moi'd
Callaway Mac Daddy 2 tg 54° 60°
Scotty Cameron black studio design I 2001 (stolen haven't found replacement)

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I'm a relatively new teaching professional and i'm not very familiar with stan utley's method (yet). But i do like pelz. I really like the idea of the 3x4 system with the wedges to determine exact yardages and i also like what he says about the straight back/through stroke in the putting bible. having said that, i do not play with my ball position very much (it stays in the same spot relative to my upper body). I think the bottom line is to pick a system that you feel comfortable with and stick with it, work at it, and become good with it. there very rarely are quick fixes with golf.

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Thanks.......I dug it out of my computers "archives"....hehehe..."memorize it!"

 

Stan's deal is much more around the body.....ball MUCH more forward.....arms work very close to the body and around.......you strike the ball with the true loft of the club and the clubhead actually slides "under" the golf ball......spins all hell from it on certain lies........always, when hit properly, produces a very soft shot that rolls true........just a much softer shot than a "trapped" type of chip in which the ball rebounds off of the blade as its pinched against the turf.......

 

but, ya' gotta' have em' both IMOP........and you've got to have the capability of varying each.......open/shut......back/forward......weight left/right........sitting back on it to flop, etc.

 

As I usually short side myself......LOL.......it seems I'm always using an LW wedge.......I don't think you can have much more than 6 degrees of bounce on an LW and have it be very effective........and the bounce needs to be "rolled" into the heel so that the heels has even less bounce......at least around here.......VERY firm conditions most of the time.......up north you can get away with more bounce........low bounce makes short bunker shots kind of a pain, but, I use my 52 for longer bunker shots......hell, I go all the way to an 8 iron on greenside bunker shots if the pin is far enough back in the green.......same technique just use less depending on the length of the shot......You'd be surprised how much bounce you can "create" on an 8 iron if you open it up and play it forward enough......:cheesy:

 

I do feel strongly that you need to have the capability of chipping with everything from a LW to a 4 iron and also need the lil' 3 wood chip-putt and the bladed SW.......or the "'toe" putter.....

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Utley's method is easier to get consistent contact out of lies where there is at least some grass under the ball because it "slides" the club under the ball using the bounce alot more. Pelz method is more of a crisper/trapping motion, which is perfect for firmer conditions and tight lies. In fluffy lies or rough it's hard to really trap the ball in the way Pelz suggests on a consistent basis.

 

Regarding bounce, I think people (at least moderately skilled players) should carry both a wedge with very little bounce and one with moderate to high bounce. This way you have the best club set up for any situation. If your in a fluffy lie, rough, bunker, then bounce is your friend. If on a firm fairway or a tight lie, a low bounce wedge will let you go get it and pinch it cleanly.

 

For yardages, I prefer the clock method as I like to use the same tempo/speed and vary the length of the swing. For putting, I get better results with the straight back/thru, but putting strokes are certainly a "whatever works" case.

 

As for club selection, I use my 53* for nearly all my chips/pitches and only use my 60* if I need to get some air under the ball, in the rough, or in a bunker.

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GREAT advice Slicefixer, I have one question though, when I use the Utley approach with the ball further forward, I do not get the spin, the ball just pops up nice and high and lands really soft and rolls true, GREAT for short siding, but if I could get that spin, now that would be better than ( ) you fill in the blank.

 

Just to add to this, I chip using a formula where I get the ball down and rolling as fast as possible, while still looking for a safe landing zone I.E a flat spot on the green as close to me as possible, then a little downslope.

 

My formulas goes something like this on a flat green and this will differ from player to player and green speeds.

 

 

58 2 x flight 1 x roll

54 1 x flight 1 roll

PW 1 x flight 2 x roll

9 iron 1 x flight 3 x roll

8 iron 1 x flight 4 x roll etc ....

 

I will use all the way down to a 5 iron to chip like this.

 

For me one of the biggest benefits is you do not have to hit your chips hard, in fact you can virtually use the same chipping motion for all chips and the ball spins very little and rolls out so I do not have to predict spin, skid etc and can get the ball pretty darned close.

 

Gavin

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I do feel strongly that you need to have the capability of chipping with everything from a LW to a 4 iron and also need the lil' 3 wood chip-putt and the bladed SW.......or the "'toe" putter.....

 

One of my favorite short game shots is to use a 3 wood if my ball is within about 10 paces of the edge of the green (I've actually measure to see how effective the shot is). It works just like a long putt and when I'm either practicing or playing it's give me a great chance to either hole out or get extremely close to the hole.

 

I also like to chip and run with my 5 thrue 9 irons depending on my distance to the green and from the hole. The thing about the short game is if you have the imagination you can really put together an arsenal of shops that allow you to be effective in just about any situation.

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Gavin,

 

To REALLY spin it you have to own a LW with almost 0 bounce......especially in the heel......I grind all of my LW's to have very lil' if any bounce in heel......"roll" the bounce AWAY from the heel.......

 

Once you've got the correct LW you set the ball pretty far forward and lay the face open.......wide open if the lie is good enough......then you have to add some rotational speed to the shot to create the spin......slide the blade "under" the ball with SPEED.......IF done correctly the ball will have a pretty high trajectory and stop DEAD.......and I mean DEAD.......you can then move it back a lil' bit and get shot that hits, hops, and spins to a stop......just takes "experimenting" and some practice time. However, you MUST have the correct bounce or it won't work at all......you'll skull the ball most of the time.

 

Occasionally when set up and attempting to play the "high-DEAD" shot I've hit one that comes off MUCH lower than I'd anticipated and planned on and hits with so much spin it almost backs up.......as to WHY this occurs I have NO idea.......but I've asked the REALLY good players I work with and they've had the same experience.......and they have NO idea how it occurs either........and we ALL want to KNOW how to do this "on call".......but cannot figure it out.....hehehehe (and I've tried and tried too!)

 

Good luck!

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I'm a BIG believer in Stan Utley's method. It relies a lot on "feel" with some mechanics blended in to keep the fundamentals sound.

 

Pelz's method, IMHO, is based a lot more on mechanics. For example, 30 yds. = taking the club back to 8 o'clock, 50 yds. = 9 o'clock and so on. That is an easy way to mark distance, but to me, it takes away from the concept of imagination in the short game...

 

When I was in college at Oklahoma, Paul Runyan used to come and work with us on the short game and I still use some of his methods today (opposing palms, chip with a putting stroke, etc...)

 

You tend to pay attention to a guy who used to average 1.7 shots from 100 yds. in... :drinks:

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More importantly he's a decent person......GREAT guy......played quite a bit with him years ago......use to seemingly get paired with a bunch of the UGA boy's......Person's, Bob, Brown, etc. Saw him in Orlando @ 2nd stage 3 or 4 years ago.......made me feel good as he's "grown" as much as I have......:drinks:

 

Bet you and I have a LOT of common friends........I also am good friends with some of the OU guy's.....McMakin.....Masson has been a student and friend for a few years now.......known Brad for 15 years.......I hope he ends up with the OU job someday......done a good job @ Lamar.......

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