Two Short-Game Options for Major Success

Forced carries require a deft touch on lofted pitches... while open greens demand use of the bump-and-run.
Leonard Kamsler

It’s T-2 months to “Your Major.” So far you’ve scouted your major course and identified (and hopefully spent serious practice time improving) the three weakest parts of your game. That will go a long way toward ensuring your success, but there’s work yet to be done.

THIS MONTH’S ASSIGNMENT: It’s time to dial-in your up-and-down game for the short shots you expect to play in the tournament. If most of your course’s greens are guarded by sand, you’ll need to tidy up your lofted pitch-shot technique. If, on the other hand, most of the green fronts are clear of hazards, then you need to practice that old short-game stalwart, the bump-and-run.

LOFTED PITCH-SHOT SESSION: Take your two most lofted wedges to a practice area where you can pitch shots over sand. Hit six balls to the flagstick from three spots that force you to carry the shots 10, 30 and 50 yards. Focus on making as short a backswing as you can and then accelerating through the ball to a longer follow-through. Make sure you accelerate past impact for at least one foot. Repeat this drill three times during each session. (Note: If you can’t find a place to practice this shot, get two free AlmostGolf practice balls at and hit them at home in your backyard. You’ll be amazed at how much they can help your pitch-shot swing.)

BUMP-AND-RUN SESSION: Use the same six-ball drill as above, except this time use a sweeping swing in which your clubhead barely touches the grass (do not take divots) with a 6-iron or a hybrid club. Dialing in your touch on these shots again requires acceleration through the ball, but this time you should also focus on matching the length of your swing to the roll-out distance of each shot—longer back-and through-swings for more roll, shorter back-and through-swings for less roll. (Note: If your major course demands both lofted pitches and bump-and-run approaches, split your practice sessions between the two techniques.)

It’s T-minus 2 to your major—time to do serious work. Head to for more tips on how to be successful in YOUR major.