Close to the Hole Ground Game TechniquesClose to the Hole Ground Golf Game TechniquesTo keep your golf game as simple as possible, we are going to talk about a topic in the short game that deserves attention. When looking for the ‘path of least resistance’ between your ball and the hole in the short game, you should often be looking along the ground.

Technically, the path of least resistance would be through the air but playing the ball through the air brings in a whole host of complications. You have to judge how quickly the ball will stop when it lands, you have to make perfect contact, and you have to manage your spin rate. Too many golfers automatically decide to play their short game shots up in the air, and they make the task more difficult as a result.

The ground game is something of a lost art in the modern world of golf, but it still has a place in the 21st century. If you can learn how to play some of your short game shots down along the ground rather than up in the air, you will get up and down more frequently. If you’d like to give this line of thinking a try for yourself, consider the following techniques.

  • Use less loft. You could have probably figured this one out for yourself, but the first step is to use lower lofted clubs for many of your short game shots. Instead of automatically reaching for a sand wedge or lob wedge, try chipping with a pitching wedge or even a nine iron.
  • These clubs won’t get the ball very far off the turf, and they also won’t put much spin on the shots. With just a simple rocking motion back and through, you should be able to send the ball easily on its way toward the hole.
  • Read the slope of the ground. Since the ball is going to stay on the ground most of the way to the hole, you will need to read this kind of shot just like a putt. Remember, the ball will be more inclined to take the slope as it slows down and reaches the target, so give this part of the read the most emphasis.
  • Also, while you are reading the slope of the terrain between your ball and the hole, take a moment to read the lie of the ball as well. A ball sitting in some light rough will usually come out quicker and have more roll out than a shot played from a clean lie in the fairway.
  • Keep your hands quiet. It is usually a good idea to get your hands involved when you want to play a short game shot up through the air. The story is different, however, when you want to keep the ball down. In this case, you are going to use quiet hands and make a motion that is very similar to your putting stroke.
  • The key here is to make solid contact each and every time. You will only be able to accurately predict the distance of these kinds of shots if you manage to strike the ball cleanly near the sweet spot on the club face.

If you are serious about shooting lower scores, playing more low short game shots is one good way to do just that. Sure, there are still going to be short game shots which require you to get the ball up in the air, but those occasions may be a bit rarer than you currently believe. Once you start looking for ways to play the ball along the ground and up toward the hole, you will find that many of your short game shots can be handled this way.

UPdate: Close to the Hole Ground Game Techniques:

  1. Chipping Technique:
    • Use a lofted club (sand wedge, gap wedge) for chip shots close to the hole. Keep your hands ahead of the clubface for a downward strike, ensuring a clean contact.
  2. Pitching with Precision:
    • For slightly longer shots, employ a pitching technique. Use a higher lofted wedge, and make a controlled swing to achieve a higher trajectory and soft landing.
  3. Bump and Run:
    • Choose a low-lofted club (7-iron or 8-iron) for a bump and run. Play the ball back in your stance, use a putting grip, and let the ball roll towards the hole.
  4. Lob Shot Mastery:
    • When faced with obstacles or short-sided positions, master the lob shot. Open the clubface, hinge your wrists, and make a smooth swing for a high, soft landing.
  5. Putting from Off the Green:
    • Develop a reliable putting stroke for short distances off the green. Use a putting grip and stance to maintain control and accuracy.
  6. Assess Lie and Surroundings:
    • Before selecting a shot, assess the lie of the ball, the condition of the ground, and any obstacles. Tailor your technique based on these factors.
  7. Practice Different Lies:
    • Practice a variety of lies on the practice green. Experiment with uphill, downhill, and sidehill lies to become comfortable with different scenarios.
  8. Focus on Distance Control:
    • Distance control is crucial in the ground game. Spend time practicing various distances to develop a feel for how far the ball travels with different clubs.
  9. Use the Bounce:
    • Understand and utilize the bounce of your wedges. Properly using the bounce helps prevent digging into the turf and produces cleaner, more controlled shots.
  10. Vary Trajectory:
    • Develop the ability to vary the trajectory of your shots. Being able to hit high or low shots gives you more options to navigate challenging situations.

Q&A On Close to the Hole Ground Game Techniques:

  1. Q: What's the key to a successful bump and run shot?
    • A: Position the ball back in your stance, use a putting grip, and focus on a smooth, controlled swing to allow the ball to roll consistently.
  2. Q: How can I improve my feel for distance on chip shots?
    • A: Regularly practice different chip shot distances on the practice green. Develop a sense of how far the ball travels with various clubs.
  3. Q: When is the lob shot the best option?
    • A: Use the lob shot when you need to carry the ball over an obstacle or when you have limited green to work with. It provides a high, soft landing.
  4. Q: Should I use the same putting stroke from off the green as on the green?
    • A: Yes, maintaining a consistent putting stroke from off the green can improve accuracy and distance control for short-distance putts.
  5. Q: How do I judge the bounce of my wedges?
    • A: Experiment with different ball positions and angles of attack during practice. Find the technique that allows the bounce to interact well with the turf.
  6. Q: Is it better to putt or chip from just off the green?
    • A: It depends on the situation. Use putting when the ground is smooth, and you have a clear path to the hole. Chip when you need to carry obstacles.
  7. Q: Can I use a putting grip for all ground game shots?
    • A: While a putting grip is suitable for many shots, adapt it based on the situation. For longer shots, you may use a modified grip for better control.
  8. Q: How do I practice uphill and downhill lies?
    • A: Find areas on the practice green with slopes. Practice adjusting your stance and club selection to handle uphill and downhill lies effectively.
  9. Q: What's the key to a successful pitch shot close to the hole?
    • A: Focus on a controlled swing with a higher lofted wedge. Achieve a soft landing and precise distance control for effective pitch shots.
  10. Q: How can I develop a feel for trajectory variation?
    • A: Experiment with different swings and club selections during practice. Adjust your setup and swing to achieve both high and low trajectories.