Some fresh ideas for a better wedge game from Natalie Gulbis. This is a neat article and not the same old blah blah from Dave Pelz or David Leadbetter. Not that the same old blah blah isn't valuable, but just like working out, you need to work with a new mindset and try different drills to keep progressing and getting better. + Natalie seems like a lot more fun than David Leadbetter :) ... Thank you Natalie and Thank you Golf Digest.
Of the Ten Rules Natalie mentions, here's what I think of each rule.
#1. Beat the Distances that scare you. All this pursuit of leaving yourself with a certain yardage into the green doesn't say you are good at that distance as much as it says you stink from distances you should be better at. So to compliment Natalie and also to help your game no matter what your handicap is, here is what you should do. First, get super good at a half swing and full swing distance with your SW or Lob Wedge (whichever you like more). Then after you have mastered those two distances it will be easier for you to get the in between distances all set and ready for action. Now you will look forward to hitting it close from any distance.
#2. Make practice competitive. I totally agree. This is one of the biggest reasons why I see teenagers with better short games than adults. Kids through College age golfers are always having chipping contests and putting contests against one another, getting better and having fun. Sometimes adults could benefit from acting like a kid again.
#3. Learn to go high and low. Ahhhh the necessary Ying and Yang of scoring around the greens. This is very true, some folks only like pitching it up high and making it check up. Some folks only know low chips that run. People stick to what they know even if it's the wrong call on the course ... work on getting it close to the hole both ways so you can make the right call to get it up and down.
#4. Strong wrists are essential. This is pretty straight forward. Go online, there are a million devices you can buy online to help strengthen your wrists to make your game better and to help avoid injury.
#5. Never let a good tip go bad. Boy does this happen a lot with good students. Good students practice what you tell them to and sometimes they will practice and practice and eventually if for example they had a problem aiming right and they work on fixing it a little too much, they will wind up with a problem aiming left. For this reason alone, check up lessons are really important to make sure you don't go from one extreme to another.
#6. Keep your grooves clean -- always. Enoujgh said.
#7. A good test, Hit it with One Hand. Now Natalie is preaching gospel I tell you. There may be no better way to increase your feel and focus, try some chipping and putting with only your left hand and only your right hand ... trust me, it will make you better.
#8. Your grips must fit your hands. Again, not rocket science here but true nonetheless.
#9. Make changes wedges first. I tell people this all the time, chipping and wedge shots are merely a shorter version of a full swing with your irons. The work you put in chipping and pitching will not only help that part of your game but a nice side effect will be a better iron shots too.
#10. Find a spark for getting better. I believe Winston Churchill said that "Motivation is like bathing, it's something you need everyday." Keep yourself motivated to get better, stay hungry. Or like the Most Interesting Man in the World says ... Stay Thirsty My Friends!
Natalie Gulbis: 10 Rules For Wedging It Close Magazines: Golfdigest.com