Working 9 to 3 helps you control your short game

Picture 1
Picture 1

When you don’t play much golf the first department to suffer is usually the short game and especially pitching/chipping.

Recently I played two competitive rounds in Arran, where you require a wizard short game to produce low scores; mine was sadly lacking.

Picture 2

Picture 2

A distinct lack of feel is what tends to go, the technique can be fairly sound but the results often show otherwise.

In the first picture I have placed a large hoop on the ground, with two alignment rods to denote the target line. My stance is set slightly open (left foot drawn back) with my weight firmly on my left side, on at least a 60-40 basis. It will remain there throughout the entire movement.

My initial backswing thought was to swing slightly around, then up, as this helps to allow the wrist hinge to work correctly and also creates plenty of height in the swing.

As this is a bread and butter length of shot, my focus is to swing back until my hands reach the 9 o’clock position - if I had less distance to go, the 8 o’clock position would be my choice.

Now have a glance at the second picture. Having just struck the ball my hand path will travel very quickly back inside around my body, as the ball takes off along the yellow target line rod. Note how my head remains very steady, with my right heel just beginning to lift up off the turf.

My hands are very passive through the impact area - no sign of any unwanted flicking, or scooping, going on. As my attack angle into the ball was very shallow, there is only a bruising of the turf. This is very important as it allows the ball to run up the club face, where maximum spin is imparted.

It is the friction between the grooves that produces the back spin on the ball.

Incidentally my hands will end up at roughly the 3 o’clock position, to create the perfect balance that is referred to as a 9-3 swing. This helps greatly in terms of producing consistent distance control, as oppose to wondering just how hard to hit it.

Make sure that your basics are correct, then simply focus on the clock positions to help your distance control and feel.