Why The Short Game is Extremely Influential to Your Score

Let's talk about the short game. Even if you are a relatively new golfer, you’ve probably been told just how important the short game is to your overall success on the course. In fact, you don’t even need to be told directly – you just need to play a few rounds. It doesn’t take long to see that the nature of this game is such that the short game is extremely influential on the score you write down at the end of the day.

We also know how short putting is an essential skill. If you can make the vast majority of your short putts, you will be able to avoid wasting strokes during your rounds. But what else do you need to do well in the short game? The list below should be able to point you in the right direction.

  • Work on diversity. One of the best things you can do for your short game is to develop as many different shots as possible. There is more variety required in the short game than the long game, and it isn’t even close. You can get by with just one or two ball flights in your long game, but having only one or two short game shots at your disposal just isn’t going to cut it. You are going to run into a variety of different short game situations as you play, and you need to have a shot to handle as many of those situations as possible.
  • Learn how to deal with the sand. You don’t need to be a master bunker player in order to improve your game moving forward, but you do need to know how to get out in a single swing. It’s possible to spend two or three shots (or more) trying to get out of a bunker and those are all strokes that you aren’t going to get back later in the day. Practice your bunker play frequently so you can feel confident in your ability to blast the ball out time after time without much trouble.
  • Prepare for each round. It is important to work on your short game during each practice session, so you can gradually improve your skills. It is also important to pay attention to the short game when you warm up before a round. The conditions that you face – the speed of the greens, the firmness of the turf, the length of the rough – are going to change from day to day, so you need to warm up your short game to get used to the day’s conditions. Do your best to arrive at the course with enough time to not only visit the driving range, but the practice putting and chipping areas as well.
  • Be creative. The short game is where you can really let your imagination run wild in the game of golf. For most of your full shots, you are going to do things basically ‘by the book’. That does not need to be true when talking about putting, chipping, and pitching. Once you are this close to the green, you can start to let your imagination take over, thinking up different ways to get the ball close to the hole. The best short game players tend to be those who aren’t afraid to let their creativity get involved. Develop your creativity by trying to create unique shots during practice, and then pull some of those shots out of the bag on the course when the time is right.

Trying to play good golf without a reliable short game is always going to be an uphill battle. You might make it through a round cleanly from time to time, but those good rounds will be the exception. The short game comes into play on every hole – unless you hole out from long distance – so there is nowhere to hide if yours isn’t up to par.