Pocketshots - Short Game - Fundamentals

Golf Short Game Tips

PocketshotsTM "Short Game - Fundamentals" by Keith Williams, PGA Master Professional

This guide is brought to you by Keith Williams a PGA Master Professional who has written and starred in the PocketshotsTM editions on the short game.

Keith Williams is one of only a handful of PGA Master Professionals in the UK.  As a Senior Tour player himself he has a marvellous short game and as a coach he has worked with most of the brightest talents in English golf as National Coach to the English Golf Union for nearly a decade.

He has coached many talented young professionals including many of today’s European Tour players including Sandy Lyle, Scott Drummond, Steve Webster, John Bickerton, Anthony Wall, Gary Wolstenholme, Russell Claydon and others.

Keith was National Coach & Director of Coaching for the English Golf Union for 9 years and he played a major role in the development of training programmes throughout the EGU training system.

Since 2000 he has worked closely with the Sport England Lottery funded World Class Performance Programme for elite amateur golfers on England squads and has travelled with players around the world coaching and supporting their tournament efforts.

In 2002, he won the coveted PGA of Europe 5 Star Professional Award and in 2004 was voted one of Golf Monthly’s Top 25 Coaches.

In the first of a number of short game PocketshotsTM editions, Keith takes you through the fundamentals required to achieve a consistent short game. This covers:

  • Ball Flight
  • The role of the club head, club face and shaft angle
  • The setup - covering grip, posture, balance, alignment and ball position
  • Swing motion and swing shape
  • Shot and club selection
  • Reading greens
  • Different stances around the green
  • How to play the greenside Chip Shot
  • How to play the Pitch Shot
This lesson helps any golfer, experienced or new to the game, develop a solid foundation to their short game.  Once this is mastered you will have a good platform upon which you can start to play the more advanced shots covered in his lesson on Short Game speciality shots.
Here's an example of some of the short game tips in his lesson:

Golf short game lesson shaft angle

Short Game Shaft Angle

At Address - shaft should be vertical for most shots.

Golf short game lesson shaft angle incorrect

Short Game Shaft Angle

At Impact (not OK) - the shaft is set back “negative” - this increases loft and bounce, decreases dig of leading edge. This makes you more likely to miss-hit the shot.

Golf short game lesson correct shaft angle

Short Game Shaft Angle

At Impact (OK) - the club shaft is slightly “loaded”, i.e. forward - this decreases loft and bounce and adds dig of the leading edge.  This tends to produce a lower ball flight.

Short Game Golf setup technique

Short Game Setup Triangle

I want you to be clear about one image that will be referred to throughout this lesson.  This “triangle” is set at address. It is in front of the body, with the left arm straight and the right arm slightly bent.  During the swing action it stays in front of the body. Keep this triangle in mind when you practice to help you improve your technique.
Short Game Body Setup
Upper body - at address or impact the more the centre of the chest is positioned in front (towards target) of the ball, the lower the ball flight.
Hands - generally the more forward they are at impact, the lower the ball flight.
Lower body stance - generally the shorter the shot to be played the narrower the stance.  Shifting the left hip (at address or during the swing) more towards the target will move the weight into the left side.