Up and Downs

John Stahlschmidt
PGA Director of Instruction
JW Marriott Camelback Golf Club
Scottsdale, AZ

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Has anyone ever told you that roughly 75% of all golf shots occur 100 yards and closer? Are you practicing your short game 75% of the time? For most golfers the answer is no. I often ask my clients why they don’t practice the short game more often and the stock answer is it is boring.  

So what if you could ramp up the fun meter and get better at the same time?  

The very best and most enjoyable way to practice your short game is through an up and down contest either with yourself or buddy. This type of practice is referred to as random practice. The game works this way…One of you gets to pick the odd holes while the other the even holes. Drop the ball off the green in any situation you prefer. It could be a long pitch or a short chip, a lob shot or a bunker shot. Be as creative as possible. After the shots are hit, be sure to hole out all putts. The goal is to get “up and down” in two shots. That would be a par. If you play 9 holes, you want to get up and down 5 or more times. Once efficient with this, your score on the big course will lower.

This type of practice does a few things. First it simulates the golf course from the practice area, which is very important. Who wouldn’t get bored hitting the same shot over and over again to the same hole?  Secondly it mixes it up and you are in competition with yourself or someone else. If you play 9 holes, it should only take you 20 minutes.  Next time you are at the course, practice your short game this way and I know you will have more fun in the process.

John Stahlschmidt, PGA is the Director of Instruction at the Camelback Golf Club in Scottsdale AZ. To comment or to schedule a lesson email John at john-j1@msn.com.