As the new Director of Instruction at the Lake Winnipesaukee Golf Club, I have had the pleasure of helping many golfers shake the winter rust in less than ideal golf conditions. Spending my winters in Florida, the influx of golfers I see during the fall generally are coming off a summer full of golf and ready to hit the ground running when they seek me out for coaching. New England offers new challenges as many who grew up here enjoy other activities in the winter months. With Spring rolling in late and summer nearly here, I have a tip for working on your short game that is guaranteed to fast track your golf this season.
After a long layoff, greenside control seems to be the first aspect of the game to “disappear”. While finding just the right amount of swing with the sandwedge can be unfamiliar, there is also the consideration of nerves kicking in. Short shots come with high expectations that may not align with the time away from the game you have most recently experienced. To help battle the inexperience, I have a drill that can start in your backyard.
You can use just about anything as a target but I like a hoola-hoop. I want you hit shots with your most lofted wedge as well as your 9 iron from four or five paces away attempting to land the shot on the fly in the hoop. Start with five shots with each club and as you dial in your first few of the set, alternate more frequently working to go one for one. This is training your hands and arms to adjust the amount of swing for the two clubs and bringing some recognition for that particular distance.
As you get to the course, I want you to imagine that hoop is one to two paces on to the green and again move back four or five paces to a place you can now vary your lie. Practicing with those same two clubs from both good and bad lies will now give you a sense of the stopping power you can expect on the course.
With the confidence you have now upped your rep count to get solid contact and consistent pace, all that is left is to judge the roll out. Let the club you use on the course match what your eyes see when you get to practicing on real greens and start framing your mind on just how close you can get it to finish!
Jason Sedan is the PGA Director of Instruction at the Lake Winnipesaukee Golf Club in New Durham, NH, one of NEGM’s Top 25 Private Clubs. Click here to visit his webpage.