Golf Digest Schools

The key to Patrick Reed's short game is so simple

May 05, 2021

John Loomis

Patrick Reed is renowned for his brilliance around the greens. That’s where he amazed the golf world at the 2016 Ryder Cup, earning the nickname Captain America in leading the Americans to victory. Two years later, his short game was in full display when he won the 2018 Masters.

But unbeknownst to most observers is the unconventional way that Reed plays all of his short-game shots—from a closed stance. Most golfers are taught to take an open stance around the greens, but in the latest “Undercover Lessons” episode from Golf Digest Schools, Reed makes a strong case that setting up closed leads to better contact and more consistency.

“What I realized is, the more open I got, the club kind of works more out and up, and that exposes my leading edge,” Reed says to his coach, David Leadbetter, in a session devoted entirely to the short game. “When I close, I’m able to work the club more in, and I’m able to rotate the chest and get on top [of the ball] and use the bounce of the club. You need to be able to use that bounce to have more consistent strikes.”

In the video, Reed explains why the club’s bounce feature—the protruding bulge on the back edge of the sole—is the No. 1 key to success in the short game. He says it prevents the leading edge from digging, which is the cause of most botched shots around the green.

Reed demonstrates by chipping the ball off a tight, grainy lie. He takes a narrow, closed stance and positions the ball in the center, just forward of his sternum. His shoulders and hips are aimed right of the target, and he says 60 to 65 percent of his weight is on his front side, which helps him to catch the ball first, then the ground.

Reed explains how to clip your chips perfectly in the video below:

Learn how to not only chip the ball close from just off the green, but also how to flop it high off a tight lie, spin it from a greenside bunker, and pitch it out of the rough in “Undercover Lessons: Patrick Reed,” now available in Golf Digest Schools. In this 23-minute, mic’d-up practice session with coach David Leadbetter, a longtime Golf Digest Teaching Professional, you’ll learn what makes Reed such a consistent, confident player from 40 yards and in—and how you can copy his technique.

“Undercover Lessons: Patrick Reed” is one of more than 100 video programs in Golf Digest Schools. Take your game to the next level with instruction from the top teachers and players. And with the new Golf Digest Schools app, you can bring it all with you anywhere you go. Check out Golf Digest Schools, a revolutionary experience in golf instruction.