GOLF DIGEST SCHOOLS

Butch Harmon: Inside 50 Yards

1  of  6

Lesson 1: Pitching

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No matter your skill level, improving your short game will lower your scores significantly. In this opening video, Butch Harmon discusses pitch shots up to 50 yards. He covers the setup and swing keys, but also strategic elements like target and club selection. Don’t miss his key move on the downswing—it might just be the piece you need to elevate your wedge play.

SWING THOUGHTS

When possible, play lower trajectory pitch shots; ditch your lob wedge
In pitching, hit with the same loft you set at address
Play the ball back of center for pitch shots, and favor your front foot
On pitch shots, kick your back knee forward to trigger the downswing
When the pin is back, pitch to the front of the green and let it run
Lesson 2: Pitching from Rough
2 Lesson 2: Pitching from Rough
  • Getting a clean strike on the ball
  • How to make it come out softly
  • Why the backswing matters most

Butch Harmon: Inside 50 Yards

2  of  6

Lesson 2: Pitching from Rough

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Pitch shots from greenside rough can be daunting, but most players make them more difficult than they have to be because they try to fight the grass. A few simple setup and swing adjustments create the steepness needed to catch the ball as cleanly as possible. Here, Butch teaches the technique and mind-set required to make these tough shots simple.

SWING THOUGHTS

On pitch shots from rough, open the clubface and play the ball middle
From greenside rough, make a steep backswing to set up a steep downswing
Hit down on the ball from the rough, with a short follow-through
From rough lies, make the heel of the club get to the ground before the toe
In the rough, grip tighter with your top hand to resist the thick grass
Lesson 3: Chipping
3 Lesson 3: Chipping
  • Picking the right club for the job
  • The benefits of following a routine
  • Avoiding chunks and skulls

Butch Harmon: Inside 50 Yards

3  of  6

Lesson 3: Chipping

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Perhaps the simplest shot around the green is the standard chip from the fringe, yet a lot of players struggle with it. In this video, Butch describes the importance of the pre-shot routine for promoting the right positions at impact. He also discusses club selection (let the shot determine the club) and the destructive instinct to lift the ball. Chipping can be as easy as it looks.

SWING THOUGHTS

On chip shots, take just enough loft to carry the fringe
For chips, set your back foot in line with the ball, square the face, then place your front foot
Stand close to the ball when chipping, and set the shaft more vertical
Lean toward the target on chips, and swing straight back and straight through
Read every chip like a putt, and get the ball rolling as soon as possible
Lesson 4: Greenside Bunkers
4 Lesson 4: Greenside Bunkers
  • Why ball position drives everything
  • What to forget that you’ve been taught
  • Making a perfect sand divot every time

Butch Harmon: Inside 50 Yards

4  of  6

Lesson 4: Greenside Bunkers

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OVERVIEW SWING THOUGHTS

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Most golfers hate the sand, yet tour players would rather have a shot from a bunker than from greenside rough. Pros know the bunker shot is more predictable, if you understand how the club should work through the sand. Here, Butch Harmon discusses using the bounce on a sand wedge, pre-setting success at address, and producing enough speed to get to the green.

SWING THOUGHTS

In greenside bunkers, play the ball forward and open the face before you take your grip
Don’t cut across the ball in greenside bunkers; swing to your target
Think of the swing in greenside bunkers as slapping the sand with your right hand
On bunker shots, try to spank the sand two to three inches behind the ball
Make a full follow-through on bunker shots; don’t dig in the sand
Lesson 5: Long Putts
5 Lesson 5: Long Putts
  • The common fault you must avoid
  • How to tap into your natural touch
  • Tips for practicing from long range

Butch Harmon: Inside 50 Yards

5  of  6

Lesson 5: Long Putts

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Putting from long range is much easier when you understand how to regulate your stroke to control distance. The common fault of swinging the putter shorter and faster kills feel. In this video, Butch shares his simple routine for approaching long putts, plus how to practice them. You’ll quickly learn to lag the ball closer to the hole and get down in two putts.

SWING THOUGHTS

When putting from long distance, make a longer, slower stroke
Take a light grip on long putts, and let the putter swing back behind your hands
On long lags, imagine the natural motion of rolling a ball with your hand
On the practice green, roll putts from one side to the other, focusing on speed
Lesson 6: Short Putts
6 Lesson 6: Short Putts
  • How to stop trying to “wish” them in
  • Butch’s famous tip: Putt with your left ear
  • An innovative cure for the yips

Butch Harmon: Inside 50 Yards

6  of  6

Lesson 6: Short Putts

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Of all the scary shots around the green, the simple three-footer—be honest!—can be the scariest. In casual rounds, short putts are usually given so when players have to putt out, it can be a nerve-racking experience. Here, Butch Harmon demonstrates the simple keys to short putting and shares his best tips on how to remove the fear and step up with confidence.

SWING THOUGHTS

On short putts, the setup is all about carefully aiming the face
Putt with your left ear: Keep your head still, and listen for the ball to drop
Don’t delay on short putts; take one look at the hole and go
To beat the yips, try knee putting: Rock your knees to move the putter

Butch Harmon: Inside 50 Yards

Lesson
1 / 6
Lesson 1: Pitching
2 / 6
Lesson 2: Pitching from Rough
3 / 6
Lesson 3: Chipping
4 / 6
Lesson 4: Greenside Bunkers
5 / 6
Lesson 5: Long Putts
6 / 6
Lesson 6: Short Putts
Butch Harmon: Inside 50 Yards INDEX
Lesson 1: Pitching
1/6
Lesson 1: Pitching
  • How to turn 50 yards into 25
  • Controlling contact and distance
  • Learn Butch’s downswing trigger
  • How to turn 50 yards into 25
  • Controlling contact and distance
  • Learn Butch’s downswing trigger
Lesson 2: Pitching from Rough
2/6
Lesson 2: Pitching from Rough
  • Getting a clean strike on the ball
  • How to make it come out softly
  • Why the backswing matters most
  • Getting a clean strike on the ball
  • How to make it come out softly
  • Why the backswing matters most
Lesson 3: Chipping
3/6
Lesson 3: Chipping
  • Picking the right club for the job
  • The benefits of following a routine
  • Avoiding chunks and skulls
  • Picking the right club for the job
  • The benefits of following a routine
  • Avoiding chunks and skulls
Lesson 4: Greenside Bunkers
4/6
Lesson 4: Greenside Bunkers
  • Why ball position drives everything
  • What to forget that you’ve been taught
  • Making a perfect sand divot every time
  • Why ball position drives everything
  • What to forget that you’ve been taught
  • Making a perfect sand divot every time
Lesson 5: Long Putts
5/6
Lesson 5: Long Putts
  • The common fault you must avoid
  • How to tap into your natural touch
  • Tips for practicing from long range
  • The common fault you must avoid
  • How to tap into your natural touch
  • Tips for practicing from long range
Lesson 6: Short Putts
6/6
Lesson 6: Short Putts
  • How to stop trying to “wish” them in
  • Butch’s famous tip: Putt with your left ear
  • An innovative cure for the yips
  • How to stop trying to “wish” them in
  • Butch’s famous tip: Putt with your left ear
  • An innovative cure for the yips