How good is your short game? I would venture to guess that it’s not nearly as good as it can be. Most likely, the reason is because most of you don’t spend nearly enough time working on it. Let’s face it, practicing your chipping isn’t nearly as much fun as standing on a practice range whacking drivers. However, if you become a bit more creative in the way you practice, your short game will improve, and you will actually have fun working on it.
Growing up, a few of us would play a game called “hoot ’n’ scoot.” Why it was called that, I will never know. What I do know is that it was fun. “Hoot ’n’ scoot” was a chipping game that could be played by two or more players. One player would select a hole to chip to and would then toss the ball for each player in a random direction. Generally, your golf ball would end up in either a bunker, behind a tree or even in a trash can. Each player was allowed to select one club to play with, which would typically be the sand wedge. The game was then played by chipping and putting with that one club. The player who scored the lowest score would then select the next hole and location to chip from.
This may not seem like much of a lesson, but the creativity and sense of touch that was established by playing this game was evident as soon as we stepped onto the golf course. When I do see golfers practicing their short game, they are usually just practicing the same shot over and over. Though this can still be an effective way to practice, I believe that the greatest way to improve your short game is by practicing different types of shots and doing it often. Toss a few balls into a bunker, and then toss a few balls into different spots around the green. This will prepare you for whatever type of shot you are faced with on the golf course.
Golf can be a boring game to practice. Most of you would agree that playing is much more fun than practicing. By learning to be more creative in the way you practice will encourage you to spend more time improving your skills.
The next time you are at the golf course and have enough time to practice your short game, I suggest you play your own version of “hoot ’n’ scoot.” Randomly toss balls around the green and learn to chip from wherever your ball stops. Your chipping will definitely improve, and you’ll find yourself excited to come back and do it again.