Biggest Short Game Faults
(Image credit: Tom Miles)

In this video and article Neil Tappin is joined by tour coach Liam James to look at the biggest short game faults and how to fix them

Biggest Short Game Faults... Fixed!

No matter what your handicap, one of the fastest ways to improve is to hone your game around the greens. Here, we take a look at the biggest short game faults and offer some simple tips on how to fix them.

Greenside bunker play

1 Many bunker woes stem from inconsistencies in where the club strikes the sand. A simple drill to help you consistently strike the sand in the same place is to draw a line back towards just inside your left heel, where the ideal ball position is. Take two or three practice swings trying to catch the sand on the line before moving in and playing a shot. Strike the sand in the same place every time and your bunker play will improve.

2 A common set-up error is to have the ball too far back in the stance. The ideal ball position is just inside the left heel. Then, when you're in the address position, make sure that much more of your weight is on your left side – about 70-80 per cent – than in a normal full swing. There is then very little weight transfer – you need to keep the majority of your weight on your left side throughout the swing.

3 Many golfers make the mistake of feeling they have to help the ball up to clear the lip and therefore lean back throughout impact, most likely striking the sand too early.

You have to trust the fact that you’ve got plenty of loft in your hands in the first place. With 56˚ of loft or more on a sand wedge, there’s no need to try and add any more – it’s all about trusting the ample loft on the club.

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This really is the key to good bunker play and the set-up is very different to a normal full swing. If you get it right, the rest becomes a lot more straightforward.


1 I often see golfers take fairly meaningless practice swings, where they maybe swing back too far, or may not even have a practice swing at all.

2 Take enough intentional practice swings to get a feel both for the distance and how the clubhead is likely to interact with the turf through impact.

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3 Club golfers will often hit chips with their hands right at the top of the grip as for a full swing. The club is actually at its heaviest then and harder to control, so to gain more control and gauge the distance a little bit better, grip down the golf club more. 

4 The landing area is vitally important, yet all too often overlooked by golfers who focus too much on the flag. Spend some time having a little walk round and a good look before you hit the chip so you can identify the area where you’d like to land the golf ball in order for it to then release to the flag.

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5 In practice, placing a towel where you think you need to land the ball with the club you’re using is a great way of focusing your attention on the vital distance control element of chipping. Once you’ve placed the towel down, practise the swing you think is required to land the ball on it. This will really improve your distance control.

Keep it simple

On straightforward chips , the best players are looking to get the ball running as soon as possible rather than trying to throw it all the way!


Neil Tappin

In July 2023, Neil became just the 9th editor in Golf Monthly's 112-year history. Originally working with the best coaches in the UK to produce instruction content, he has also presented many Golf Monthly videos looking at all areas of the game from Tour player interviews to the rules of golf. 

Throughout his time with the brand he has also covered equipment launches that date back well over a decade. He clearly remembers the launch of the Callaway and Nike square drivers as well as the white TaylorMade driver families, such as the RocketBallz! If you take a look at the Golf Monthly YouTube channel, you'll see his equipment videos dating back over a decade! He has also conducted 'What's In The Bag' interviews with many of the game's best players like Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm. Over the years, Neil has tested a vast array of products in each category and at drastically different price-points. 

Neil is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade Stealth Plus Fairway Wood: Titleist TSR2 Hybrid: Titleist TS3 Irons: PING Blueprint S (4&5), PING Blueprint T (6-PW) Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 50˚, 54˚, 60˚ Putter: Odyssey Triple Track Ten Ball: Titleist Pro V1X