As the senior advances in years, maintaining a sharp short game becomes even more essential as the long shots don’t quite fly as far through the air.
Having the ability to get up and down from under 100 yards becomes essential if the senior wishes to maintain their handicap.
Listed below are some top tips and drills working outwards from 3 feet to 50 yards to practice and use during a round to improve your short game, touch and feel.
1. Short Putting Wheel - Place 10 balls in a circle around a hole which features some undulation to ensure some putts with different breaks. Work clockwise around the circle trying to hole as many putts as possible. This drill will help keep the senior golfer sharp on those tricky short putts.
2. Ladder Putting - Place 10 balls two feet apart, stretching in a line away from the hole. The first putt should be two feet in length and the last, 20 feet in length. Work backwards down the line away from the hole trying to hole as many putts as possible. This will help keep the senior golfer holing those crucial putts inside 20 feet.
3. Fringe Putting - With five balls, putt from one side of the putting green to the other attempting to get the ball stopping as near to the opposite fringe as possible. This will help the senior golfer in maintaining touch and feel on long range putts.
4. Spot Chipping - Pick a spot five yards off a green and place a clearly visible tee peg 10 yards on the green. Practice hitting chips on to the green, landing as close to the tee peg as possible. This drill will help the senior golfer consistently judge the length of their chip shots and will improve touch.
5. Bench Chipping - One reason a lot of senior players lose touch around the greens is a breakdown of the left wrist at impact which causes a ‘flick’ at the ball through impact. A way to keep the left wrist firm and ahead of the ball at impact is to hit a number of low chip and run shots on to a green, imagining a low running bench just before the putting surface. By getting the feeling of chipping shots under the bench, the senior golfer should be able to keep the left wrist firm and gain a more consistent strike around the green.
6. Umbrella Pitching - Place an old umbrella open and pushed into the grass 30 yards away on the practice ground. Practice hitting 20 balls at a time into the open umbrella. This will help the senior golfer fly the ball all the way back to the target, pitching the ball up near the umbrella.
7. Ladder Pitching - Place five targets down the practice range in a line from 10 to 50 yards. Practice hitting a ball to each target from short to long down the range with the same club. This will help the senior judge different distances with the same club improving touch.
Another way to help ensure a senior can maintain their touch around the green is grip pressure. Many golfers, especially when nervous, begin to tighten their grip on the club.
This extra tension in the arms will kill touch and feel. Try to keep your grip pressure to a minimum around the green, keep those hands soft.