GOLF DIGEST SCHOOLS

The Butch Harmon Short-Game Clinic

1  of  5

Lesson 1: 30 to 70 Yards Out

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A good short game will save you a ton of strokes. That might be one of the biggest cliches in golf, but for good reason: It’s true for players at every level. The pros play with freedom and confidence because they know that whatever short-game shot they get, they can hit it. In this video, No. 1 teacher Butch Harmon shows you the shots you need from 30 to 70 yards.

SWING THOUGHTS

On wedge shots, always accelerate through the ball
With the wedges, avoid the fault of swinging back too far and decelerating at impact
Nervous with the wedges? Play an 8-iron bump-and-run from 30 or 40 yards out
Always focus on your target: Glance at the ball, but stare down your target
On wedge shots, kick your back knee toward the target to trigger the downswing
Commit to the hit on wedge shots—don’t try to manipulate impact

DRILLS

Fix the Fall-Back

  • Practice hitting wedge shots with a ball wedged under the outside of your back foot.
  • This will keep your weight on your front foot and promote an aggressive, downward strike, rather than a weak swing where your weight goes back.
  • Focus on pushing off of the ball as you accelerate through the shot.
  • Transfer this feeling of starting forward and pushing forward to your normal wedge shots.
Lesson 2: Greenside Shots
2 Lesson 2: Greenside Shots
  • Pitching and chipping fundamentals
  • Developing your touch and distance control
  • The easiest way to hit the flop shot
  • Why you’re inconsistent around the greens

The Butch Harmon Short-Game Clinic

2  of  5

Lesson 2: Greenside Shots

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Amateurs often waste shots in the simplest of spots: right off the green. Mastering a few basic greenside shots—the chip, the pitch and the flop shot—will turn those double bogeys into pars or bogeys and dramatically lower your scores. It’s all about picking the right shot and having a simple plan. Here, Butch Harmon shows how to ace these little greenside shots.

SWING THOUGHTS

Read chips like putts: Consider the break, any uphill or downhill and the grain of the grass
Don’t play every greenside shot with a lofted club; look at the shot, then pick a club
When you chip, stand close to the ball to set up a straighter swing path back and through
To avoid fat chips, play the ball back, and set your weight and hands toward the target
Consider chipping with a hybrid for solid contact; choke up, and use your chipping motion
Hit down on pitch shots, and focus on returning the same amount of loft at impact that you set at address
For a high-lofted flop shot, play the ball forward, and open the clubface
On flop shots, fan the face more open going back, and make a long, lazy swing
For lofted greenside shots, keep your weight forward, and don’t quit on the swing

DRILLS

Short-Game Variety

  • Use the short-game area at your course to practice different shots to different holes.
  • Don’t just use one club. Consider the shot—the lie, the loft required, the hole location—then pick a shot and a club to fit the situation.
  • Spend at least half of your practice time on shots around the green.

The Chipping Routine

  • Practice a simple routine for chipping that puts you in position to strike the ball solidly.
  • First, set your back foot in line with the ball, and aim the clubface at your target.
  • Then, step in with your front foot, and set your weight and hands forward.
  • Finally, focus on a landing spot; don’t get stuck looking down at the ball.
Lesson 3: Playing the Slopes
3 Lesson 3: Playing the Slopes
  • Reading lies and picking the right club
  • Adjustments when going uphill or downhill
  • How to make good contact from a sidehill lie
  • Butch’s No. 1 key: Level the playing field

The Butch Harmon Short-Game Clinic

3  of  5

Lesson 3: Playing the Slopes

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Working on the basic greenside shots is important, but we often don’t get a flat lie on the course. You have to know what adjustments to make on uneven lies so they play like level lies—Butch Harmon calls it “creating an equal playing field.” In this video, Butch explains how to handle all the sloped lies you find around the green—and turn them into up-and-downs.

SWING THOUGHTS

On a greenside shot with the ball above your feet, choke down, and aim to the right
For uphill greenside lies, tilt your shoulders back, and swing up the slope
Use a less-lofted club on uphill chips and pitches—the slope will add loft
For downhill greenside lies, lower your front shoulder, and swing down the slope
On greenside shots with the ball below your feet, bend your knees more, and use more wrist hinge

DRILLS

Head for the Hills

  • Find some sloped ground at your short-game practice area.
  • Practice uphill and downhill shots, and shots with the ball above or below your feet.
  • Experiment with the setup and swing changes needed to hit the ball more solid and produce a predictable flight and roll.
  • Take that knowledge to the course so you don’t feel lost when you get an uneven lie.
Lesson 4: Bunker Shots
4 Lesson 4: Bunker Shots
  • The basics for hitting high, soft shots
  • The one swing thought you can’t forget
  • Why you leave shots in the sand
  • Two brutal lies—and how to tackle them

The Butch Harmon Short-Game Clinic

4  of  5

Lesson 4: Bunker Shots

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Amateurs hate the sand, yet pros often hope their shots find a bunker instead of thick greenside rough. The pros know that the greenside bunker shot is nothing to fear—if you understand the proper mechanics and develop some confidence. In this video, Butch Harmon discusses the basic bunker shot, as well as two tough variations—the buried lie and the severe upslope.

SWING THOUGHTS

Use your sand wedge in the bunkers to take advantage of the club’s bounce feature
On bunker shots, play the ball forward, and open the clubface before you take your grip
Swing back steeply in bunkers, and try to spank the sand two to three inches behind the ball
For a buried bunker lie, swing very steeply, and try to stick the club in the sand
From an upslope in the sand, tilt your shoulders back, swing up the slope and follow through

DRILLS

Strike Point

  • In the bunker, use your clubhead to draw a line in the sand just inside your front foot.
  • Set up to the line as if it were a ball, and make swings trying to hit the line.
  • You’ll see it’s very difficult to touch down exactly on the line—some will be an inch back, some two inches back, some on the line.
  • This drill will prove you need some room for error. Instead of trying to hit so close to the ball, aim to hit two or three inches behind it. You’ll get consistent results with less risk.
Lesson 5: Putting
5 Lesson 5: Putting
  • Lagging it close and making the short ones
  • Phil’s favorite putting drill: 30-40-50
  • How to beat your nerves on makeable putts
  • What made Tiger so clutch on the greens

The Butch Harmon Short-Game Clinic

5  of  5

Lesson 5: Putting

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Putting is perhaps the most important part of the game. It’s hard to shoot decent scores if you can’t putt. Putting looks simple, but it has many parts: long putts, big breakers, short putts, pressure putts. Butch Harmon breaks it all down, and shares a few of his favorite drills, including one he learned from Phil Mickelson. He also tells why Tiger made so many pressure putts.

SWING THOUGHTS

On long putts, make a longer, slower backstroke so you can put some hit on the ball
On a scale of 1-10, never grip the putter at more than a 5
Turn every putt into a straight putt by focusing on the starting line
On all putts, aim the putterface first, then take your stance—not the other way around
Whatever putting routine you develop, do it the same way on every putt

DRILLS

Phil’s 30-40-50 Drill

  • Set up three stations on the practice green—30, 40 and 50 feet from a hole.
  • Start with three balls at 40 feet, and try to roll all three to within three feet of the hole. When you do, go to the 50-footer and do the same. Then to the 30-footer.
  • Here’s what makes it tough: You can’t go to the next station until you get all three in a row inside that three-foot circle.
  • Take your time with this drill. Your perseverance will pay off when you face long lag putts on the course.

The Yardstick Drill

  • Find a six-footer on the practice green, and lay a yardstick over the first three feet.
  • Place a ball in the hole at the end of the yardstick, and set up to the ball.
  • Carefully square your putterface to the hole, and try to roll putts straight down the yardstick and into the cup.
  • If the ball falls off the yardstick to the left, you know you’ve pulled the putt; if it falls off to the right, you’ve pushed it.
  • With some practice, your putts will roll down the yardstick and track into the hole.

The Butch Harmon Short-Game Clinic

Lesson
1 / 5
Lesson 1: 30 to 70 Yards Out
2 / 5
Lesson 2: Greenside Shots
3 / 5
Lesson 3: Playing the Slopes
4 / 5
Lesson 4: Bunker Shots
5 / 5
Lesson 5: Putting
The Butch Harmon Short-Game Clinic INDEX
Lesson 1: 30 to 70 Yards Out
1/5
Lesson 1: 30 to 70 Yards Out
  • How to fly it, skip it or roll it to the hole
  • Develop confidence from awkward distances
  • Avoid embarrassing chunks and skulls
  • Simple ways to control loft and roll
  • How to fly it, skip it or roll it to the hole
  • Develop confidence from awkward distances
  • Avoid embarrassing chunks and skulls
  • Simple ways to control loft and roll
Lesson 2: Greenside Shots
2/5
Lesson 2: Greenside Shots
  • Pitching and chipping fundamentals
  • Developing your touch and distance control
  • The easiest way to hit the flop shot
  • Why you’re inconsistent around the greens
  • Pitching and chipping fundamentals
  • Developing your touch and distance control
  • The easiest way to hit the flop shot
  • Why you’re inconsistent around the greens
Lesson 3: Playing the Slopes
3/5
Lesson 3: Playing the Slopes
  • Reading lies and picking the right club
  • Adjustments when going uphill or downhill
  • How to make good contact from a sidehill lie
  • Butch’s No. 1 key: Level the playing field
  • Reading lies and picking the right club
  • Adjustments when going uphill or downhill
  • How to make good contact from a sidehill lie
  • Butch’s No. 1 key: Level the playing field
Lesson 4: Bunker Shots
4/5
Lesson 4: Bunker Shots
  • The basics for hitting high, soft shots
  • The one swing thought you can’t forget
  • Why you leave shots in the sand
  • Two brutal lies—and how to tackle them
  • The basics for hitting high, soft shots
  • The one swing thought you can’t forget
  • Why you leave shots in the sand
  • Two brutal lies—and how to tackle them
Lesson 5: Putting
5/5
Lesson 5: Putting
  • Lagging it close and making the short ones
  • Phil’s favorite putting drill: 30-40-50
  • How to beat your nerves on makeable putts
  • What made Tiger so clutch on the greens
  • Lagging it close and making the short ones
  • Phil’s favorite putting drill: 30-40-50
  • How to beat your nerves on makeable putts
  • What made Tiger so clutch on the greens