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3 steps to saving shots around the green

By Tom Burley, PGA
Indian Wells Golf Resort

Improving one’s short game is a goal for players at any skill level in the ultimate quest for consistency on and around the green. Here are three essential steps for getting up and down more often.

1. Observe your lie and surroundings around the entire area of the green. If you are just off the green take an extra moment to fully observe what is in front of you. You want to take note if your ball is sitting on an uphill or downhill lie and make a slight adjustment if needed. Also, take a look at where any trouble areas are around the green – like sand traps or false fronts – and play a smart shot to a safe part of the green.

Putting Course & Player's Room Pavilion Clubhouse , Indian Wells Golf Resort
Putting Course & Player’s Room Pavilion Clubhouse , Indian Wells Golf Resort

2. Select the right club for the shot. Depending on where you are around the green, you will probably have to pitch or chip the ball to get it close. Club selection is key to managing the distance of your short shot. You want to make sure you’re not using a whole lot of loft unless you have to. Always try to get the ball rolling toward the target. And remember: you can learn a lot about the break in the green by watching your ball roll – so always stay attentive during your pitches and chips.

3. Get your putts to the hole. Golf is all about giving yourself the best chance, and if your putt doesn’t have enough speed to make it to the cup, it never has a chance. I recommend practicing from 2 or 3 feet from the hole constantly to get comfortable and confident in any “comeback putts” you might face. Golfers have a tendency to putt tentatively if they fear the next putt. Get rid of any short-putting fears and start being fairly aggressive where you can be.

Tom Burley is the Head PGA Professional at Indian Wells Golf Resort in Indian Wells, California.