Updated: Jan 10, 2020
Short game is absolutely the key to lower scores.
Certain things about a full-swing can not be changed (or at least not without a LOT of practice) - many are limited by range of motion due to age, injury, or other. Short game (chipping and putting) is golf's great equalizer! I have seen many golfers who can hit the ball 300+ off the tee... but they just can't seem to get the ball in the hole!
A common problem that I encounter is club/shot selection around the green. Most golfers have single club or two that serve as a "go-to" when chipping. And more often than not, this "go-to" club is a high-lofted wedge, a 56* or 60*. These great clubs do serve a purpose in our golf bags, and they should definitely be a part of our golf shot repertoire, but I suggest that you use them sparingly - and only when needed.
Every golfer (depending on their skills/ability, Angle of Attack, swing speed, etc.) has an ideal club length and face loft which allows the greatest consistency of solid contact. For most people, this ideal length/loft combination will be found around the 8, 7, or 6 iron. Any time you move further from your optimal length/loft, contact is less likely to be solid. The same goes for chipping around the greens. Although a chip shot is much more simple swinging motion, the same rule applies. High lofted wedges, like a sand wedge or lob wedge, put a premium on solid contact. There are chip shots that require such a club selection (large green complex undulations, a large carry-to-roll ratio, sprinkler heads or other obstacles in the way, etc.), but the overwhelming majority will see better results when you select a club with slightly less loft (remembering that slightly lower loft will place less of a premium on making solid contact).
So let's try this: grab a few golf balls as well as your lob wedge, sand wedge, pitching wedge, and 9 iron. Drop your balls a couple of paces off the green's edge and chip to a pin that has been cut 8-12 paces onto the green (we’ll just assume the average distance to a “middle” pin). Use each club a few times and take note of which provides the most consistent results (note, I did not say which one gave you the chip closest to the hole). It may take some getting used to - as you're likely more experienced with your high-lofted wedges. My guess? You'll be more consistent the pitching wedge or 9 iron than you will with your 60*, and with a little practice, closer to the hole too.
Give me a call or email today to schedule your short-game assessment!