Your Short Game
Since you readers have gotten active sending me ideas for articles, one that has come up several times is the “argument” that is ongoing about the best approach to the short game:
Should you use one club and learn lots of different shots, or should you learn one swing technique and use multiple clubs to get the results you are after?
My answer is . . . yes.

Since I like to call upon movies and books for reference, this one is like the movie City Slicker, where Billy Crystal’s character, Mitch, is probing the trail boss, Curly, about the true secret of life, and gets the answer, “It’s just one thing”. So Mitch asks, “What is that one thing?” and the old curmudgeon replies, “That’s what you have to figure out for yourself”, which leaves Mitch totally befuddled . . . until the end of the trail ride.

So, the answer to this age old question about the short game is the same – you have to figure out which works best . . . for you. Let me break down the pros and cons of each.

One club, multiple swings. The proponents of this approach claim that if you learn how to do many things with one club, it will make you a better short game practitioner. I really don’t doubt that at all, but the key is “if”. Will you spend the time around the practice green and on the course, learning multiple techniques with that one club so that you can make it fly low and run out when you have lots of green to work with? Hit it higher and softer when you have a bunker to carry or close cut pin? Hit the low spinner, one-hop-and-stop shot when it’s called for?

If you are going to learn all the shots with just one club, you HAVE to invest the time and practice to learn them all and ingrain them so that you can call each of those various swing techniques when needed.

One swing, multiple clubs. This is another tried-and-true approach to building a solid short game. It relies on you learning just one basic chipping and pitching technique and then selecting the club that will give you the desired ball flight and run percentage for that shot you face. Its strength is that you don’t have to spend as much time learning many different techniques, but you do have to invest the time to learn what different clubs do in the relation of ball flight to roll. But overall, this approach to the short game takes less time to achieve a reasonable level of proficiency.

If you learn what your single technique will produce with each of your wedges and short irons, you can dissect any shot into the right club to get the job done.

Multiple swings, multiple clubs. If you want to have a top level short game, you will learn several swing techniques and then learn what each of them produces with various wedges and short irons. You can hit lower shots with controlled spin with your lob wedge, while also knowing how to hit semi-flop shots with your gap wedge. Having this vast array of “arrows in your quiver” will give you plenty of options for any shot you run into on the golf course.

The key is to select a method that matches the amount of time you are willing to invest to learn it to perfection. The short game will present you with a dozen or more opportunities every round to save strokes or attack the golf course.

The better you are within 50 yards, the better golfer you’ll be. Period.
The Wedge Guy is sponsored by SCOR Golf, where Terry Koehler is President/CEO. He encourages you to submit your questions or topics to be considered for his columns on Tuesdays and Fridays. Each submission automatically enters you to win a SCOR4161 wedge to be given away monthly. Click the button below to submit your question or topic today.

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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

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