Editors Note: James Sieckmann’s performance theories fuel the short games of more than 100 touring pros. Now they can empower yours. In this special lesson with the 2018 PGA Teacher of the Year, Sieckmann explains to us his five fundamentals; short game golf tips that he learned while studying some of the greatest chippers in golf’s history, including none other than Seve Ballesteros.
I decided long ago never to allow preconceived notions and ideas to affect what I teach. I go off what the best wedge players in the world do. In studying these swings for the better part of a quarter century, I’ve been able to piece together commonalities and distill them down to five fundamentals.
The longer I preach these basics, the clearer the message becomes: Elite wedge players create balance in their setup and motion that affects the angle of attack and the location of the low point of their swing, while poor performers create an imbalance. Understanding these elements is the key to improving your short game.
The stability comes from managing the fact that two of the five fundamentals are steepening elements, while two tend to shallow your motion (the fifth is neutral).
The lesson? If you have too many shallowing attributes, you’ll be too shallow to make consistent contact; if you have too many steepening attributes, you’ll be too steep to maintain control. Here’s how to manage both and be the boss around the greens. — James Sieckmann, GOLF Top 100 Teacher, 2018 PGA Teacher Of The Year.
Short Game Fundamental #1: Feet Open
Set up with your feet open to the target and your head in the middle of your stance (a steepening effect).
Short Game Fundamental #2: Downswing Starts With Club, Not Body
Start your downswing with the club, not by moving your hips (a shallowing effect).
Short Game Fundamental #3: Impact On-Plane
Deliver the clubhead into the ball on plane, established by the lie of the club at address (neutral effect).
Short Game Fundamental #4: Release the club
Never “hold off” the clubhead. Let it release past your lead leg (a shallowing effect).
Short Game Fundamental #5: Move towards the target
Let your body’s energy flow toward the target (a steepening effect).