By Jason Suedhof
IMG Leadbetter Golf Academy teacher
Regardless of how hard you work on
your full swing, it is essential to have
a good short game. While playing a
round of golf, it is likely you will
miss greens and need to get up and down.
When this occurs, having a good set up,
a sense of feel for distance, and some
creativity will allow you to be more
Here are some fundamental guidelines
to help you begin with a good set up.
Your stance should be slightly open with
your feet narrow. The ball should be
positioned back and right of center. To
help create a descending blow to the
ball, put both your weight and the
handle of the club forward. Be sure to
have a slightly open face to correspond
with your stance and also to allow the
bounce of the club to slide on the turf
as opposed to digging.
A great drill to try to create
distance control with each club is what
we call the “Ladder Drill” at the IMG
Leadbetter Golf Academy. Place four
clubs on the ground about a yard apart
from each other in the shape of a
ladder. Start with your most lofted
club and try to land your shot between
each club. To make it more challenging,
start over if you miss. Work all the way
up your club compilation until you reach
your six iron. Be sure to watch the
release of each shot to see how far the
ball goes. Also, pay close attention to
the reaction of the ball. Does it check
or release? Does it react differently
with the grain of the green? All of
these factors come into play when it
After you have created a good feel
for the distance, here is another drill
for aiming at your true target – the
hole. Place a ball mark or coin on the
ground as your intermediate target.
This is where you want the ball to land.
Try to hit your ball mark with the
correct club selection. If you see that
the ball is short or long of the target
but close to your ball mark, you need to
try a different club. Be sure to pick
targets with different slopes and
distances. This will be the real test
of how your practice has helped.
These three factors can be very
influential in your short game. First,
be sure to focus on your fundamentals to
ensure proper set up. Next, practice
controlling your distance with the
“ladder drill.” Finally, practice with
an intermediate target for creativity
and to obtain greater distance control.
Including these drills in your regular
practice is sure to improve your short
game. Good luck and have fun!