Everyone loves a long drive, but per The Resort at Longboat Key Club golf pro Terry O’Hara, the best shortcut to improving your score is to first focus on your chipping and putting.
With stiff breezes off the Gulf of Mexico and rolling greens greeting them at Longboat Key’s courses, O’Hara said he sees many golfers struggle to chip and putt effectively on the resort’s courses.
“The one thing that sticks out in my mind is how so many amateurs practice with just the big clubs,” O’Hara says. “You use more than 65 percent of your total strokes inside 100 yards.”
He recommends flipping the amount of time you spend practicing tee shots with your time spent on the putting green and shares three golf tips to improve your short game this year.
O’Hara says when you inevitably wind up in a bunker on Harbourside Golf Course, look at a spot about two inches behind the ball, and always swing like you’re trying to hit the ball 50 yards. The acceleration and angle of your shot will ensure your ball has the velocity it needs to plunk down on the fairway or green.
No Spin Zone
You’ll often want to minimize front spin when chipping onto sloped greens, and doing so is as simple as selecting your most lofted club, maintaining a tight triangle with your arms, and bending your wrists as little as possible.
When putting, keep your dominant eye fixed over the ball in the same way you would stare down the scope of a rifle. You’ll want to keep staring at the spot where the ball used to be as to limit your wrist action and keep the putter low to the ground on your swing, the better to avoid popping the ball in the air and costing yourself another stroke.