The short game system we teach is based on logic and fundamental principles. First, I believe there needs to be a logical reason to do things a certain way. If there is a technical and mechanical advantage to swinging a certain way of setting-up with certain alignments, then by all means we want to do that. You will get much better results if we use sound principles and keep the process as simple as possible.The first step in the process of improving your short game is developing the proper set-up positions and alignments. Almost every short game shot you will play will be from this set-up.
The premise is simple; you want to set-up as consistently as possible so that you can make a consistent swing. Most golfers understand that they are trying to set-up parallel to the target for full shots. You do this so this so you can swing the golf club on the correct path (swing plane) and give you the best chance to hit a shot toward the target. The same principle should apply in your short game. You should set-up parallel with the target and swing the club on the correct swing plane. The fundamentals and principles remain true, which is the swing plane is the true foundation of the golf swingSo, let me first take a minute to discuss the mistakes most golfers make in the short game. There are 6 common mistakes that we see over and over.

  1. Aligning the body too far left (called open) for right-handed golfers. This causes the club to swing to the outside on the backswing and glance across the ball at impact.
  2. Ball positioned too far forward which causes mis-hits, either fat or thin.
  3.  Backswing too short and off plane and then too much acceleration on the downswing. Invariably, every golfer that I teach who is struggling with the short game has been told they are decelerating at impact, and 95% of the time this is incorrect information.
  4. Ball positioned too far back in stance, hands too far forward, and the club face is too closed. This is the chop and stab set-up position. The ball comes out low and rolls and rolls and rolls once it gets on the green, if the club doesn’t dig into the ground first.
  5. Swing plane goes outside to outside. The club swings outside on the backswing and then outside on the follow-thru. If you are REALLY struggling with your short game then there is good chance that this is your short game swing. The typical results of this swing are having the club bounce into the ball (or maybe bounce over the ball). This swing is the prelude to the dreading yips.
  6. Rolling to clubhead way inside the correct plane on the backswing. This is another huge issue because this swing invariably develops into the shanks.

So what can you do to develop a better short game? The first thing you are going to do is to change your set-up so that you only have ONE set-up position. Place your feet 6 to 8 inches apart and position the ball so that the back of the ball is in the center of your stance. Tilt the hands slightly forward so that your hands are slightly ahead of the ball. Keep the clubface pointing at the target (called square club position). (Side note….I’m not sure with who came up open, square, closed. Everything is really right, left, or at the target. But I’ll save that for another time). The club is designed on an angle and we want to swing the club on this angle, which is the swing plane (or close enough). The backswing should create momentum and the downswing should just release that momentum. You want to feel the club and your arms swinging at the same pace. That’s the essence of every non-bunker short game shot. One set-up and one swing. I will teach you how to hit the ball low and high using the same principles, but first, I want you to start by becoming proficient at one basic swing.

Now it’s up to you to go practice this much simpler system to improving your short game. ONE SET-UP and ONE SWING. Swing longer to hit longer shots and shorter to hit shorter shots. Don’t make the short game shots more complicated than they need to be. Quit trying to use several different swings. You will improve if you continually work on the same fundamentals and principles, and therefore your scores will be lower.