Think of each hole as an individual match – it’s very different to stroke play. The key thing is to not give trivial holes away. You’ve got to make them win holes rather than giving holes to them.
Next shot after a shank
It’s not something I really think about, so I don’t really know. I suppose standing a little further away might be one thing to try.
Holing out from three feet
I think the first thing is just hours and hours of practice. Other than that, I would say really narrow your target down from just the hole to something much smaller – perhaps a blade of grass or a blemish at the back of the hole. In terms of a target on those short putts, the narrower your focus, the better.
I think tension is a real power killer and I see a lot of golfers really tensing everything up when they’re looking to try and hit further, when actually just the opposite is much more likely to help. Lots of golfers could hit it further by relaxing a little more at address and getting rid of all the tension that they mistakenly believe they need to hit it a long way.
Greenside bunker shots
Set-up is the big thing here – a lot of golfers set up to bunker shots in too similar a way to normal full shots. For bunker shots I would recommend flexing your legs a little more and getting more weight on to your lead leg – the left one for right-handed golfers. That will get you bringing the club back into the ball a little steeper.
There are so many things that could be holding you back here, and I would say that practice is really the key. Just as with many things, you really can get better the more you do it. Like the short putts, I would also say that narrowing your focus can really help too, so try focusing on just a part of the ball at address – maybe even down to just a single dimple – to really concentrate the mind.
More spin with your wedges
You’ve got to get the ball first and one way to improve your chances of doing that for many golfers would be just to move the ball back a little bit in their stance. Not too far, but just far enough to improve your chances of getting the ball rather than the ground or turf first.
How to practice
For me, just by ‘being there’ on the range, and when I say that I mean being there in terms of concentration. Twenty minutes where you focus on every shot you hit is far better than standing there for two hours, chatting away to people and hitting ball after ball without really focusing on what you’re doing. Every shot counts out on the course. You’re practicing to improve, so you should really think in terms of every shot counting on the range as well.
Check out our previous Q&A with Patrick Cantlay discussing practice and warm-up routines by clicking here!
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