Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Short game, long game

I’m interested in Dave Pelz’s observation that high handicappers should concentrate on the short game rather than constantly striving for more distance. It ties in with a criticism of top women golfers (which has really got Golf Chick fuming) as being less adept around the greens than men. You can see the basic idea. If for whatever reason you’re always going to struggle with distance, why not polish up the rest of your game? I know of one golfer who played off less than 10 and freely admitted his distance was unimpressive, and I certainly know of (very) high handicappers who can freak out partners with much better swings, just by their artful use of the chip and run. Cutting my handicap this summer has definitely come from improved iron shots (which for me is anything less than 120 yards) and it’s so-o satisfying to chip inside your partner!

But who wants to practice the short game, and when you do, where can you do it? Practising short shots from a mat is pretty useless, and very few clubs I have been to have a practise area where you can really chip or pitch in conditions that mimic the course. (Practice putting greens disallow chipping; chipping and pitching greens have poor surfaces.) Pro’s will offer a short game lesson, but very few courses are quiet enough to provide the opportunity to go away and work on what you have learned.
Maybe we need more of the big name players (women and men) to remind us how important the short game is, and the club manufacturers to stop obsessing over distance. As it is, you feel pretty much of a weirdo sloping off at dusk to the first green with a bagful of balls…

No comments:

Blog Archive