If a player really wants to improve his/her short game, understanding how to properly hit short shots is a critical requirement. The subtleties of delicate shots around the green are enormous and knowing the proper mechanics and how to practice them “perfectly” is very important in the development of a truly deft touch. Getting the ball “up and down” on a consistent basis will take many strokes off your handicap.
The major difference between a short shot and a long one is that, in a short shot, no weight shift is required. The weight shift that normally occurs in a full swing is only there to add power to the shot. On any shot inside eighty yards, the green can easily be reached without any weight shift whatsoever. At address, practically all the body’s weight is on the front leg, with the stance fairly narrow and the alignment slightly open. To strike a short shot properly, there is a very sensitive relationship between the initial movement (which I call a “heave”), the drop of the arms and club, and the counter-fall that carries the body to an off-vertical position at the completion of the backswing, and frees it (the core) to provide effortless power in the delivery. If all that sounds complicated – it’s not – but it is extremely subtle. Most people who have trouble with short shots try to stand too still over them or are guilty of shifting their weight. Either issue will cause tremendous inconsistency in your short game.
The best way to develop great technique and consistency in your short game is to practice with your feet crossed. Doing this will teach you how to counter-fall properly, which is critical for applying power correctly, and it will stop the tendency to shift your weight. Anytime you shift your weight with an abbreviated backswing (all short shots), there is insufficient time to get back on your front foot and into the counter-fall before the arms and club start down. If the forward core rotation is unavailable to power the downswing because the body is not in a position to counter-fall properly, the brain will subconsciously trigger the arms to act as a power source, energy will back-flow into the body causing the swing-plane to change, and the shot will often be miss-hit. Goodness, gracious! I didn’t mean to do that!
Study the cross-footed drills on the “Gravity” golf website and you will learn exactly how these shots should be practiced. Remember – working on your short game is key to becoming a great player!