Practice a Variety of Short Game Shots

One green, three shots: Practice a varitey of different chips to improve your short-game versatility. <SPAN CLASS="picturesource">Leonard Kamsler</SPAN>

The green on the 497-yard, par-5 16th hole at the TPC of Sawgrass in Florida would be a great place to hang out and practice your chipping. The setting is beautiful, but more importantly, the green's design and location -- water on two sides, rough, mounds and sand elsewhere -- provide the opportunity to try many varieties of chips.

Learning the three shots I'm highlighting will help improve your chipping versatility. You've seen Tour pros skillfully play these shots in tournaments, including at the annual Players Championship at Sawgrass. With a little practice, you can play these shots too.

During his run to the Players title in 2002, Craig Perks holed a chip from on top of the heavy fringe, standing just inches from the water.

His ball was sitting way up, as this one is (A), making it easy to slide the club underneath and leave the shot well short. To practice shots from this tricky lie, grip down, set your weight forward and make sure your hands lead the club through the ball.

From the back of the green in 2001, Vijay Singh turned the toe of his putter to the ball and holed this shot for an eagle (B), climbing back into contention. Have you ever tried this shot? Well please don't use it in competition until you've hit it a bunch of times in practice, like Vijay has. If your putter has a square toe, stroke it into the bottom half of the ball and the shot will roll like a putt.

Finally there's the metal-wood from light rough (C), a shot that Tiger Woods executes to perfection. It works especially well with 4- or 5-woods, because their small heads and smooth bottoms don't get snagged in the rough grass like an iron. Put this shot in your bag by practicing to sweep through the ball like on a long putt.

It was fun to chip around the green for this article, and I wish you could have joined me. Find a green at your course during less crowded times so you can practice these shots in peace. I assure you, there's nothing more pleasant, or better for your game!

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