Short Game

Tom Watson: Get Off Your Right Heel

By Tom Watson Photos by Dom Furore
March 11, 2012

Most of you are too flat-footed when chipping and pitching. Your weight should be on the left foot at impact, otherwise the bottom of your swing arc will likely be behind the ball--causing fat and thin shots.

To improve your short game, position your right heel off the ground at address and leave it up (above). This keeps your weight on your left foot throughout the swing. If your weight isn't supported by your left foot, you're going to have a tough time hitting down on the ball properly. Essentially, this adjustment gets you into the correct impact position--immediately at address.

Use this technique on the course as well as in practice. Byron Nelson, who won the Masters in 1937 and 1942, taught his "rocking-chair" motion to help golfers who don't use their legs much around the green. He wanted the lower body to be in sync with the arms and hands. I've always liked picturing Byron's motion with its blend of upper- and lower-body movement. The result was a consistent hit time after time.

Tom Watson is a Golf Digest Playing Editor and the golf professional emeritus at The Greenbrier, in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.