Golf Tips: Short Game Basics

Be prepared for every short game shot-type with tips from PGA Pro Shanon Hoyt.

Many of the approach shots attempted during your round will end up at varying positions just off the green, so it’s important to make sure you’re prepared for every situation with every type of shot.

In this Pro Tips exclusive, PGA Pro Shanon Hoyt walks through the three basic types or varieties of short game shots (chip shots, pitch shots and flop shots) and demonstrates how to execute each:

CHIP SHOTS

Chip shots should be used when you’re just off the green, but too far in the rough to putt over the thicker grass.

  • Use your pitching wedge or a club with 46 degrees of loft. This ensures that the ball will lift off the ground just enough to get out of the rough, but not roll too much.
  • Position yourself so the ball is just on the inside of your right foot. Make sure your stance is about as narrow as your club head and put most of your weight on your left foot.
  • Place your hands near the bottom of the grip and lean the club so that your hands fall in front of the ball.
  • Make a simple and shallow stroke, just so the ball bumps up and onto the green.

PITCH SHOTS

Pitch shots should be executed when you are farther into the rough and can’t run the ball across the green, as you may run it too far, and off the green.

  • Select a club with more loft, such as a 52-degree wedge.
  • The ball should be in the middle of your stance to utilize all the loft of the club and your feet should be about the width of your hips.
  • Hands should be low on the grip and over the ball.
  • Take a light stroke, but hinge your wrists, so that the ball gets even more loft.

FLOP SHOTS

Flop shots are one of the riskiest shots in the game of golf because their reward is so high. The goal is to launch the ball high into the air and have it land on the green with little to no roll.

  • Start with a 58-degree wedge, one of the loftiest clubs in your bag.
  • Open your stance so that your feet are aimed left of the target and open your club head as if you were about to hit a shot out of a bunker.