Learn The Art Of Scoring

October 2009

Scoring is a kind of vision--a way of seeing the variety of shots you can hit in a given situation. And I know from firsthand experience it's a vision you can learn. On and around the greens, develop the ability to "see" the options tour players see, and pick the one that matches your skill, confidence level and risk tolerance. Then understand the mechanics of how to hit it. You have more choices than you think: For example, the basic bunker shot I'm hitting above works just as well from grass as a lob. On the next three pages, I'll demonstrate a short-game shot and give a strategy tip for each level of player.

GET IT OUT: In the sand(above), start with your hands back. Keep your weight left, and swing the clubhead end, not the grip end, fast.

TIP+: See A Video On This Lesson

If you don't worry about anything else in your putting stroke, lock down these two fundamentals, and you'll improve right away.


If you get into a rigid, locked position, you're never going to have a good short game. To hit good pitch shots, set up so your arms hang loosely from your shoulders.


You can do everything right with your read and still make a basic mistake that will cause you to miss a lot of putts. The common fault is to focus on the hole.


Ranked No. 6 on Golf Digest's 50 Greatest Teachers in America, Utley is based at the Grayhawk Golf Learning Center in Scottsdale. Adapted from the new book The Art of Scoring, by arrangement with Gotham Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. Copyright © 2009 by Stan Utley. 192 pages, $26.

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