By Dave Pelz
Golfers always ask me about what they should do when they warm up for a round or when they have time to practice. The truth is, most golfers prefer to spend 90% of their practice time on the range, hitting woods and irons. They really should divide this time into thirds, one-third for the full swing, one-third for their short game, and one-third for putting.
They should think about the par-5 wedge approaches for the greens they’re going to miss. They should get a laundry basket at home and some backyard-safe practice balls (almostGOLF™ balls) and practice hitting to a target. As Phil Mickelson can attest: There’s no such thing as “too good” in the short game!
Phil is the best player and has the best short game of any player I’ve ever coached. Even after all these years, it’s still a joy to watch him hit short game shots. Average golfers should watch him practice. Watch his routine for lag putting, makeable putts and short putts. Then watch what he does with a wedge. He spends a lot of time on his short game before tournaments, and just by watching him, golfers will learn both what is possible, and how to accomplish it.
Like Phil, you should Lag Putt from 40, 50 and 60 feet to get your putting muscles engaged and to see how the ball rolls. Controlling your speed and distance will save you some strokes on the greens. Also, practice your short game shots from 20 yards from the hole. Develop high, mid and low shots you can trust when you’re 14 to 20 yards from the pin, because statistics prove that’s a distance you’re going to find yourself recovering from frequently.
If you can develop a pitch shot to play in that range with a partially-cocked backswing that smoothly accelerates (powered mostly by a good hip turn) to a finish with the club pointing to the sky, you’re going to love all the short par and birdie saves you leave yourself.
Lastly, I want to encourage you to practice something that almost NOBODY practices. It’s your Green Reading. Generally speaking, most golfers say they don’t have a clear understanding of “how” to read PuttBreak. They mostly rely on their instincts. And our testing shows most golfers struggle to read greens accurately. If you are frustrated by not having a good approach to green reading, pre-order the book and video project I am working on at www.pelzgolf.com/greenreading.
You’ll be amazed when you discover we’ve cracked the code on reading break. We’ll show that golfers have been looking at and “reading” the WRONG slopes for the last 500 years. This is truly a game-changer.