Short Game Drills for Beginners
We all know that short game is where the scoring happens in golf, yet many golfers spend too much focus on their driver.
Today, we want you to forget about your golf swing and just focus on your chipping and putting skills. By improving your short game, you will see your golf scores get lower. It’s a fact.
We compiled 10 challenging and fun short game drills for you to attempt different days at practice. To add pressure to yourself, keep track of your scores and try to beat your own records each time you attempt these short game drills.
Download the checklist of drills to take with you to the golf course so you don’t forget after reading today’s article!
10 Short Game Drills for Improving Quicker
The One Legged Chip
When it comes to good chipping technique, you don’t want to move your weight around during the shot. By keeping your weight forward on your lead leg, you’ll make more crisp and consistent contact with the ball.
To ensure you get comfortable chipping with your weight remaining still, try the one legged chip shot to improve your short game.
The Steps to Follow:
- Take a narrow stance
- Put most of your weight on your front foot
- Lift your rear foot off the ground and let the toe rest on the ground
- Perform the chip shot
15 Points Chipping Game
For this short game drill, you’ll need to grab 5 golf balls. Then select a location around the practice green to chip from. Pick 3 holes you think would be considered easy, medium, and difficult to chip to.
Chip all 5 balls to the easy hole first and record how many you can get within 5 feet of the cup. Each successful chip to inside 5 feet scores a point.
Repeat this for the medium difficulty and hard difficulty locations, tracking your score.
Then add up your 15 chips and see how you scored out of 15. If you can get 10 or above you’re doing well!
3-2-1 Chip In Drill
This short game drill can take 10 minutes or it could take an hour! You could even make an entire golf practice session out of it.
To start, grab 3 golf balls and drop them somewhere 4-10 yards away from the practice green, giving yourself a few yards of carry distance before the ball makes it to the green.
Select a hole to chip all 3 balls to and try to chip them in.
Once you chip in a ball, get rid of it so that now you’re down to 2 balls. Continue this drill until you chip in the second ball and remove it so that you’re down to one ball.
Finally, once you chip in the 3rd and final ball, you’ve completed this drill.
Make sure you’re moving around each time to different holes and different distances away from the edge of the green.
Par 18 Putting Game
This short game drill will challenge your putting skills and help you learn to handle pressure.
Follow these steps:
- Grab 9 golf balls
- Pick 3 easy putts, 3 medium difficult putts, and 3 hard putts
- Place your 9 balls at each of these locations you just picked out
- Give yourself 2 putts per location and see if you can score 18 or lower
Try to beat your score each time to add a little pressure to your game. The best score you can get is 9 if you one putt everything and the average score is 18 if you 2 putt everything. So try to get 18 your first time playing this game and then work down from there aiming for 17, 16, 15, and so on.
Up & Down Ladder Drill
An up and down is when you successfully chip a ball onto the green and sink the following putt on the first try. No two putts.
So in this short game drill you’re going to be selecting 3 holes to use for up and down attempts. Pick one hole that is 20 feet away, another hole 40 feet away, and lastly a hole that is 60-80 feet away.
Start by chipping to the short distance hole, then the medium distance, and then the far distance hole. Convert all 3 up and downs in a row.
Then reverse it by chipping to the far hole, then the middle hole, then the closest hole and making all 3 up and downs in a row.
Start over each time you fail to make them all in the correct order.
5 Ball Circle Putting Drill
This is a classic putting drill to build up your skills from all angles around the hole as well as build your mental toughness to perform under pressure.
Start off 3 feet away from the hole and work back to 4 feet, 5 feet, 6 feet and so on as you pass each level.
The Drill Set Up:
- Pick 5 spots around the hole in a circle and place tees in the ground to mark the spot.
- Set one ball at each of the 5 locations.
- Move around the circle trying to make all 5 balls in a row to complete that level.
- Then move back to the next distance and repeat.
Enjoying these short game drills so far? Why not download my list of 15 drills that helped me become a scratch golfer.
Beat the Previous Chip Drill
Here is a chipping drill that will place pressure on you and build your short game mental toughness. Start off by measuring a 5 foot radius around the hole, marking different angles around the hole with ball markers.
Now that you’ve created a ring around the hole with a 5 foot radius, you’ll need to:
- Grab 2 golf balls from your bag
- Pick a location to chip from
- Get the first chip inside that 5 foot ring (leaving yourself a putt of 5 feet or less)
- Then try to get the second chip closer than the first chip
If the first chip fails to get within 5 feet, go grab it and restart. Only once the first chip is inside 5 feet will you be allowed to attempt the second chip.
It’s a very challenging but fun drill.
Start off with a hole that is closer to you and once you pass the drill, move to another hole further away or that is more challenging.
One Handed Lag Putts
Another area of the short game that shouldn’t be neglected is putting from long distances, also known as lag putting. Therefore, the next two short game drills will focus on building your lag putting skills to help you stop 3 putts!
Measure out distances of 30 feet, 40 feet, 50 feet, 60 feet, and 70 feet from a hole of your choice on the practice green.
Place one golf ball at each spot you measured and marked, giving you a total of 5 different putts of varying distances.
Attempt to hit each of these lag putts with just one hand on the putter. If it helps, place the other hand behind your back or in your pocket.
The goal would be to get all 5 putts within 4 feet or less of the hole, leaving yourself easy tap in putts.
Beat the Previous Lag Putt Drill
Similar to the chipping drill above, this putting drill tests your speed control and places pressure on you to hit each putt closer than the previous putt.
Measure out 5 different distances again for lag putts (far away putts) from 30-90 feet away from the hole. You choose the 5 distances between this range. (Ex: 35 feet, 50 feet, 65 feet, 75 feet, 80 feet)
Place a ball at each of the 5 distances.
Start at the furthest away distance and try to get it within 6 feet of the hole. Then try to get each of the following putts even closer than the previous putt.
It challenges you to control your putting distance so that you leave yourself room for each following putt to beat the previous. If you make the first putt from 80 feet away, you can’t really beat that!
300 Putt Challenge
Our 10th and final short game drill is a high volume rep drill to build your putting skills from 6 feet and in since this is a critical distance you’ll face often.
Start off on day 1 by making 100 putts from 2 feet, 3 feet, and 4 feet away from the hole.
Day 2, move back one foot. Make 100 putts from 3 feet, 4 feet, and 5 feet.
Day 3, move back one foot. Make 100 putts from 4 feet, 5 feet, and 6 feet.
Continue working your way back if you’d like until you’re making 1oo putts from 8 feet, 9 feet, and 10 feet.
Ideally, your focus should be on that 5 feet to 7 feet range since these are very common when you don’t hit the best chip shot or best lag putt.
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