Hitting the Between Shots

Kim Anders
Director of Instruction
John Jacobs Golf Schools and Academies Estrella del Mar Golf and Beach Resort
Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico, AZ

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I’ve had a run recently of people wanting help with their short game. More specifically between about 25 and 75 yards, not the usual green side short game.    

These were all previous students who had wanted to hit the ball longer and more consistently, but didn’t want to mess with hitting short shots. Now they have seen the importance of the short game.

I watch them hit a few shots and very typically they are making a good shoulder turn with a full wrist cock, start the down-swing with a weight transfer to the left side. All great stuff…for hitting the ball a long way!

Most people use their normal backswing and realize the ball is going to go way too far, so on the downswing they put on the breaks and try to slow the club down. This is like driving your car with one foot pressing the accelerator and the other on the break. It doesn’t work!

The key to hitting consistent shots of this distance is to, first of all, eliminate all those things you do to hit the ball a long way. This is not a power swing.  

It’s a much more controlled swing that utilizes the larger muscle groups of the back and shoulders. The large muscle groups fire longer and more smoothly than the quick firing smaller muscles in the arms and hands.  

First, I want you to feel like your sternum or breast bone is swinging the club. Feel like you keep your hands in front of your chest when you swing. This will get the big muscle groups working.  

Secondly, feel like you keep the grip end of the shaft pointing at your waist throughout the swing. Just smoothly turn the club back to about waist high and then turn through, finishing with the hands about waist high on the follow through.

When you start to practice this shot DO NOT try to hit the ball at a specific target. You first have to get comfortable with the technique and then see where the ball goes.  

This is a flat footed, upper body swing with minimal hand and leg action. Be smooth and focus on keeping the end of the club pointing at your body – never down at the ground. If the grip points at the ground you have too much wrist action.

Once you get the feel for the basic swing you can pay attention to how far the ball is going. That is exactly how far it should go. Now you can experiment with a slightly shorter swing, or a more aggressive forward swing and see how far the ball goes.  

Try these shots with your different wedges, maybe even a 9-iron. Now you have a variety of shots you can use for those awkward distances that come up as you play.   

Kim Anders is a PGA Professional at Estrella del Mar Golf Community residing in Mazatlan, Sinaloa Mexico. You can reach Kim via email at jkanders4@gmail.com.