Improve Your Short Game and Lower Your Score

Mark Oswald
General Manager
The Highlands at Dove Mountain in Marana, AZ.
Marana, AZ

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The short game is the key to your scoring. If you are able to get the ball up and down you can save many strokes and lower your handicap. If you are not getting up and down you are adding strokes to your score. How much do you practice your short game? You should be spending at least half of your practice time on the short game, pitching, chip & run, bunker play and putting. Try practicing your short game a minimum of 30 minutes two times a week and it will pay off. Here is a tip to improve your pitching. 

The Short Game - Pitching
The Pitch or Lob Shot is the opposite of the chip & run shot. This is a high soft approach shot with more air time than ground time. This shot may be used when the pin is close to the edge of the green, or when a bunker, rough or water prevent you from rolling the ball onto the green. The goal of this shot is to loft the ball into the air and have minimal roll on the green.

Grip: Use your regular, full swing grip. Choke down for control and feel.  Lighten your grip pressure. This light grip pressure is important and will  allow the wrists to work properly.

Stance: Open your stance, spread your feet to shoulder width and position more weight on the front foot. This will help you to hit down under the ball, thus lofting the ball softly into the air.

Ball Position: The ball should be placed forward in your stance. The more forward from center, the higher and softer the ball will fly.

Club Selection: Pitching should be done with your most lofted club. The preferred club would be the lob or sand wedge. 

Stroke: This is more of a “feel” shot. The club is taken back with a combination of the hands, or wrists break, and the arms moving back. The length of the backswing will determine how far the shot will go. Bring the club down with your arms and wrists releasing through to the finish position.  Make sure that you continue with a full follow through. This is a much more “wristy” shot than your normal golf swing.

Practice Drill: Set up something to pitch the ball over. A bag stand, bench or bunker work great. Pick the practice shot where the only way to get the ball onto the green is through the air. This shot has a lot of air time, little ground time. Loft the ball high into the air and land it softly on the green.  This is a very difficult shot to learn and will take a lot of practice, work on it.

Summary: Pitching, play the ball forward of center in your stance, lighten the grip pressure for the “wristy” stroke, clip the grass under the ball and follow through. Picture lobbing the ball into the air and landing it softly.

For more help with your golf game contact Mark Oswald at