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Golf Short Game Drills

written by: Terry Caron • edited by: Cheryl Gabbert • updated: 5/20/2011

Is your golf short game lacking? To improve your score and feel confident after the drive, here are some easy practice golf short game drills.

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    Any chain is only as strong as its weakest link. So it is with golf. Your entire game is only as good as your weakest part and if that’s your short game then practicing your drive will only do so much. Practice is a necessity to pump up your short game. To do this here is a list of golf short game drills to practice.

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    Evaluate your short game

    In order to properly assess what is needed to improve, an evaluation needs to be done. The “11 ball golf drill” is a great way to check the short game. The “11 ball golf drill” works great for any shot like the chip shot, pitch, bunker or lob shots. Start with 11 golf balls and stand about 5 yards from the green. Start with your worst shot and do 11 of theses from where you are standing. Once completed, remove the 5 balls closest to the hole and the 5 farthest from the hole. The golf ball remaining is your average. Perform this drill with all shots and the ones with the golf ball farthest from the green, or worst average, are the shots that need the most work.

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    The Short Game Drill

    Knowing the dynamics of the golf clubs is an essential part of any short game. This golf short game drill helps you understand what the club does and learning the flight and roll from each club. Start from any place on the fairway and pick a single spot on the green. This will be the target spot for every shot from your current location. Now hit a few shots, with each club and iron, to the target spot on the green. With each shot notice the flight and roll combinations that you get with each club. Observe the distance the ball travels and how much is put behind each swing in comparison with the distance traveled. This drill will help with learning the dynamics of each club and allow you to identify which club and the amount of backswing to make a shot.

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    The Chip Shot Drill

    The chip shot is an important shot but many golfers have trouble with this because the natural tendency is to “lift” the ball. It’s important when doing a chip shot to focus the swing and hit down the back of the ball. A drill that will help with this is to practice hitting under a club. Start by balancing a club horizontally on a water bottle. Use a water bottle with a flat, screw on cap to balance on. Place the golf ball one foot behind the middle of the grip. The object is to make the chip shot without hitting the club or water bottle. If you try to lift the ball, the golf club will get hit, sending it and the water bottle flying. Make sure to descend into the ball, keeping the club head low to avoid contact with the balancing club.

    The Extended Club Drill

    This drill was designed to help reduce the amount of wrist used during chip shots etc. Start with a split grip and place an extra club against the primary golf club. The secondary club's handle should extend two feet past the grip of the primary club, extending up the left side and behind the shoulder. Now practice a few chip shots and if the extended club taps you on the shoulder then your wrist is breaking down during the swing. Continue practicing this until the extended club consistently does not tap your shoulder.

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    The Pitch Drill

    Here is a drill to help discover the secrets to pitching. Place 5 or 6 markers, towels or clubs work, at 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 yard distances from the green. Now use the pitching wedge, sand wedge, and the nine irons to hit a few shots toward the green. Do not hit more than a few shots at each distance. The focus of this drill is to get a feel for the backswing and how it relates to the distance for each marker. After some practice drills like this you should have a good feel for what golf club to use and how much effort is necessary for the different situations met on the course.

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    Putting Drills

    Here are two drills that will help with one of the most important aspects of the golf short game.

    The One Hander Drill

    If you like to feel as though one hand is guiding the stroke then the one hander is good practice. Even Tiger Woods is fond of this putting drill. This drill is relatively simple, try putting from various distances with one hand. Don’t be afraid to put some wrist action in this swing, it provides true roll. With putting, one of the keys is to stay relaxed and tension free.

    The Flagstick Drill

    This drill will help keep your putts straight and on track. Place one of the flagsticks on the ground. Place the putter over the flagstick so that the hash mark is centered with the flagstick. Practice putting over the flagstick making sure to keep the hash mark centered over the flagstick. Some arc in the swing is ok, the object of this golf drill is to make sure the swing is square with the flagstick.

    Practice these drills each time you are at the practice area and see how much improvement is made in the golf short game.