When you’re practicing your short game, are you just dropping a bunch of balls and hitting the same chip, with the same club, over and over? Be honest—a lot of people do it. But what it leads to on-course is you just grabbing that trusty club and trying to make it work for whatever shot you may have. Golf Digest’s Chief Digital Instructor Michael Breed says it’s not the right tactic. “Limiting yourself to one technique around the greens won’t lead you to success,” says Breed.
Instead, put your focus on evaluating the situation at hand. Ask yourself a few basic questions: How far do I want the ball to fly? How far do I want the ball to run out? How fast is the green?
If you have a ways to hit it and a lot of green to work with, Breed says to grab a mid-iron, like your 7-iron. Use a smaller swing and let the ball come out low and run. This type of shot will lead to a lot more success than grabbing that 56-degree wedge you love so much, taking a half-swing at it and trying to get it to fly and stop near the hole.
If there isn’t much between you and the green, you’re going to need to hit a shot that goes higher than the bump-and-run, and that lands softly. Breed has a few moves that make this scary shot easy: First, open the clubface — it’ll get you more loft and launch the ball with more trajectory. Next, stand farther away from the ball than you usually would. This will help you get it up in the air. And finally, as you come into impact, the handle swings through staying close to your lead thigh as the clubhead whizzes by and hits the ball.
These tips are just a small part of a larger video series hosted by Breed called Michael Breed’s Playbook which you can access here. There are three lessons in the series, covering how you should practice your driving, your short game, and putting so that when you’re on the course, you’re ready to find the fairway, knock it close and make the putt.