May 17, 2010
Reduce your swing angles
The short game is all about distance control. You don't have to create a lot of clubhead speed, especially if you can play a running pitch, like on Pebble Beach's par-5 sixth, so keep the angles in your swing to a minimum. By angles, I mean the angle made by your left arm and the club when you hinge your wrists going back, and the forward lean of the shaft when you set the ball back in your stance or push your hands forward. Once you create these angles you have to get rid of them at some point, which can be difficult on short shots. Instead, minimize the angles, back and through (left), for better contact and distance control.
Don't focus on the outcome
How many times have you hit a bad shot only to drop a second ball and, without even pausing to give it a thought, hit the next shot stiff? Or hit your tee shot out-of-bounds, re-teed, and smacked one down the middle? It happens all the time, because with the second shot, there's nothing attached to the outcome. You don't feel any tension.Use this second-shot mentality when things aren't going so well, or you're facing a stretch of tough holes like the ones along the cliffs at Pebble Beach (left). As you stand over the ball, pretend you've already had the bad result and swing away, as if you're taking a mulligan. It might trick your mind to get you to swing with confidence and rhythm.