You hear a lot about the scoring zone in golf, the place where your score really gets made (or not). Some people say it's from 100 yards and in, there are books written about 60 yards and in. For the recreational golfer, it's 25 yards and in.
If you play once a week and can only practice that often or even less, your scoring expectations from too far away from the hole can't be too great. There isn't enough time for you to learn how to get up and down from 50-100 yards consistently.
Apply yourself instead to learning how to get up and down from 25 paces from the pin or less. This, you can do. Those are the up-and-downs that can take bunches of strokes off your score. Here's how to make them.
Let's say you're just off the green on the fringe. The grass is cut shorter than the fairway, but longer than the green, and the lie is tight (there isn't much of a cushion of grass beneath the ball). The club to pull is your putter. Forget your 6-iron or your sand wedge, or whatever you chip with. It's the putter that will put the ball tap-in close.
Arnold Palmer said that your best chip is as good as your worst putt. It's true. Spend some time on the practice green finding out how much harder you have to hit the ball to get it through the fringe. Find out how much fringe you can reliably putt through before you do have to reach for that sand wedge.
Say you're about 60 feet from the hole and too far off the green to putt. The club to use is the one that will get the ball about six feet onto the green and run the rest of the way. Spend a few practice sessions learning which clubs to hit with different ball-fringe and fringe-hole distance combinations. This is a better shot than flying the ball to the hole, since a rolling ball has a much better chance of going in the cup.
The third shot you should practice is a shot out of the rough. Use your sand wedge. The key here is to know where the bottom of the ball is, and make sure the sole of the club gets down to that point. When the ball is sitting well down in the rough, you have to go down and get it. But sometimes the ball sits up in the grass, and your club has to stay up where the ball is so that you don't slide the club underneath it.
If you have these three shots down, you will start making pars right and left. There's one other greenside shot I didn't talk about isn't there? The bunker shot. But since everyone says that's the easiest shot in golf, you already know how to hit that one don't you?
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