by David Orr
One common trait of players who seem to possess “short game wizardry” is how consistently they strike both the ball and the ground. The wonderful “acoustics” of solid contact! Where the ball is struck first and second, the sole of the club being “thumped” against the ground.
There is no greater feeling and/or sound in the short game than this. This “THUMP” gives birth to the first two fundamentals of the short game. A player’s ability to control the bottom of the swing’s arc or “low-point” is the first fundamental in developing consistency in controlling distance, spin and trajectory.
Our second fundamental is paying close attention to which part of the sole of the club strikes the ground. Basically, the style of shot dictates whether the leading edge, the bounce or the trailing edge is exposed to the ground. The good player realizes that both bounce and loft are his two “best friends” in the short game.
When playing into the “grain” the leading edge of the club will tend to “dig or grab” usually resulting in a shot that is caught a little “fat.” Conversely, when playing a shot down grain the sole of the club and specifically, the degree of bounce built into the specific club, will allow the club to “pinch or slide” smoothly through the ground, often creating a lovely little “spinner.”
The next time you’re watching a golf telecast pay close attention to the number of times a player will take a few rehearsals to get a feel for the rhythm and timing of the upcoming chip, pitch or wedge shot. The rehearsals are also a means by which the player is “testing” how the club interacts with the lie of the ball and the ground.
David Orr is Director of Instruction for Campbell University PGA Golf Management Program and a certified AimPoint instructor, conducting green reading schools based at Keith Hills Country Club in Buies Creek. Orr is considered one of the nation’s top putting instructors with PGA Tour clients and students who travel from as far away as Korea to attend his schools. He was named the Carolinas PGA Palmer Maples Teacher of the Year in 2011. Log on to www.davidorrgolf.com for more information.