The Basics of the Short Game: Golf Practice Drills

Every good golfer builds their game around a solid short game – think of it as the foundation of good scores. When your short game can be relied on to produce quality shots hole after hole, it takes pressure off the rest of your game because you know the short game can save you even if you get into a tough spot around the green. If you are just getting started in golf, you would be wise to avoid the temptation to practice only your full swing and instead spend plenty of time rehearsing the short shots.

To jump start your short game, use the basic practice drills below to sharpen your technique –

  • Top hand putting. The top hand of your grip – left hand for a right handed golfer – is the one that should be in control of your putting stroke. Therefore, try hitting some putts with only your top hand on the putter when you are on the practice green. Roll just a few short putts with the top hand only, then put the other hand back on the grip and hit a few more. This quick drill should help you feel the proper technique for how your hands control the putter through the stroke.
  • One leg chipping. It is key when chipping to make sure most of your weight is on the leg that is closest to the target so you can create a downward angle and make solid contact with the ball. To help achieve this feeling, try hitting some practice chips while standing almost entirely on your lead leg. To do this properly, you want to have your back foot up on its toes so you can use it for balance but not for holding any weight. Once you take this stance, hit a few chips and get the feeling of hitting down into the ball. Then, go back to your traditional stance and see how you have progressed.
  • Long two putts. This last drill is very simple, and you will only need your putter and one golf ball. Place the golf ball on the edge of the practice putting green and pick out the hole that is the farthest from you – your goal is to two putt to that hole. If you are successful, come back across the green to another distant hole and try to do it again. Work on accomplishing as many consecutive two putts as possible to dial in your speed control.