Short Game Shots

by : Max Johnson

Many amateurs are very confused when it comes to being able to hit different short game shots. Many amateurs seen to grind over which shot to attempt in order to get the ball close to the hole. The truth of the matter is that most amateurs just simply do not understand the difference between a chip shot and a pitch shot.

First of all before you struggle with determining whether you should hit a chip shot or a pitch shot, we do need to realize that the only things that matters is that the golf ball needs to end up in the hole or as close to it as possible. Right? So, how do you go about figuring out what type of short game shot to hit?

First you need to look at the lie you have. The lie of the golf ball is the condition that the ball is in which you have to play the next shot from. Is the golf ball in the short grass of the fringe or down in the greenside rough? What you are trying to determine is how much grass is going to between your wedge and the golf ball at impact during the short game shot. The amount of grass will affect how the ball reacts once it hits the putting green.

After you determine your lie, you will now go about picking out a spot for the ball to land. Many teachers will use ratios in discussing short game shots such as if you use an 8 iron you should carry the ball one third of the way to the hole and let it roll the other two thirds. You should first determine if there is a flat spot where you can feasibly land the ball. As simple as this may sound, finding a flat spot to land the golf ball is often overlooked.

When executing a short game shot, it is easier to determine how the ball is going to react once it hits the green if it lands on a flat spot. It is much more difficult to determine what your ball will do if you are hitting into an upslope or landing on a down slope. Obviously, you cannot always find a flat or level spot but if you can, your short game shot will be easier.

Now that you have determined what kind of lie that you have and where you need to land the short game shot, the type of shot has been determined for you. Remember, who cares what we call it as long as it goes in the hole or ends up close.

Some of you do not like that and you are really wanting a definition for each shot. If the ball rolls farther than it is in the air then it will be called a chip shot. If the ball is in the air longer than it is on the ground then it will be called a pitch shot. Even watching the touring professionals on Sunday, many of the announcers interchange the terms and do not always use them correctly.

To improve your short game shots, determine the lie of the golf ball, find a flat landing spot and then determine which club will help you achieve these results.