5 Biggest Short Game Mistakes
(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

In this 5 Biggest Short Game Mistakes video, Neil Tappin is joined by Golf Monthly Top 25 Coach Clive Tucker to look at some of the most common mistakes players make

Watch 5 Biggest Short Game Mistakes Video

Striking short, delicate chip and bunker shots consistently well is one of the great challenges posed by the game. For a lot of players, simple mistakes creep in and wreck your confidence. Here are Clive Tucker's 5 Biggest Short Game Mistakes and how to cure them!

5 Too Steep

The fault here stems from the ball being too far back at address and this means the handle is ahead of the ball through impact. This takes bounce off the club and as such, it will be prone to digging through impact. To help, make sure the ball is set under your sternum at address and keep your wrists 'passive' through the stroke. Rely on the rotation of your body to create the momentum (not the hinging of your wrists) and you should be able to create a shallower angle of attack.

Too much wrist hinge

Excess wrist hinge makes consistently good strikes harder to find

4 Not Releasing

As we have already mentioned, your wrists create speed and that's why they should remain passive. It is ok to have a small amount of 'give' or 'hinge' in the wrists on the way back but remember this needs to be undone before you reach impact. This is key. If your wrists hinge a little on the way back, this angle needs to be released to ensure you find a shallow angle of attack and you deliver the bounce of the wedge in the right way.

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3 High Or Low

Golfers can sometimes get confused between the two different techniques that deliver high and low flighted chip shots. You need to avoid hinging your wrists on the way back (as you would for a higher flighted shot) and then holding onto that angle through impact as this will often create fat strikes. Likewise, we see golfers taking the club back on a wide arc without much wrist hinge for a lower shot and then effectively their wrists collapse through impact and they flick the club at the ball. The simple rule is as follows: for lower shots make a wider, shallower swing arc with less hinge, for a higher shot the swing arc is narrower and there is more wrist hinge back and through.

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2 One Dimensional

Amateurs often get rather one dimensional around the greens - using the same club for every shot they hit. You have a whole bag of clubs that can be really helpful in different positions. A good practice game is to take 6 different clubs and hit 6 shots to the same flag, one with each club. Repeat this from numerous positions around the greens. This is a great way to develop the feel and versatility you need to improve your short game.

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Bunker striking drill

1 Bunker Strikes

You should aim to strike the sand about 3 inches before the ball. Most golfers understand the concept here but struggle for consistency. To help, draw a line in the sand, from your lead heel to the ball as shown. Place one ball at the top of the line and practice making swings so your splash mark starts just before the back edge of the line. Make swings, moving up the line and then try to replicate the same splash as you hit the ball. This is a great way to train the consistency you need.

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Clive Tucker
Top 50 Coach

Location: Mannings Heath 

Clive spent ten years as a playing professional before making the move into elite coaching. He's worked with a number of Tour professionals, and one of his great strengths is being able to tailor his instruction for each student no matter what their level. 

Teaching philosophy:

Make changes and growth pertinent, measurable, simple and enjoyable. Give students the skills to develop and manage their game as well as possible. Ultimately, help them to become independent. 

Significant influences:

I was taught by some very gifted coaches whilst playing on Tour, and have watched teachers with all kinds of philosophies whilst I've been coaching for the last 20 years. All have had such a positive effect. George Robb had a very keen eye; David Leadbetter was extremely diligent; Denis Pugh, generous and encouraging; Mac O`Grady was a fountain of knowledge, and Pete Cowen an inspiration. Michael Dalgleish was also a world class physio. 

Greatest success story:

Working with Graeme McDowell and David Howell have been particular highlights. During my time working with them, they rose from roughly 150th in the world to 4th and 9th, respectively, and competed in six Ryder Cups between them.