These are the 2 biggest mistakes amateurs tend to make around the green

Stop losing shots around the green!

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For most recreational players, shots around the green tend to be the area of the game where they make or break their round. A poor short game can cost you numerous shots, while a solid putting and chipping day can save you from big numbers on the scorecard.

If you find yourself losing shots around the green, it could be because of two common yet glaring mistakes that teachers often see amateurs make — and instructor Christy Longfield is eager to fix them.

“Many amateurs just try to use just their hands and not their body on shots around the green, or they try to make the swing like one unit, where the hands aren’t working,” she said. “You have to use your hands. Your hands have to be soft, supple and active, but you still have to use your body too. So I think those are the biggest things: They don’t use their body and match it with their hands, or they take their hands out of it and they’re dead-handed.”

If you’re the type of player who tends to stub or fluff the ball around the green, this could be your issue.

“The spectrum is broad — players tend to be not enough or way too much,” Longfield said.

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So how can you fix it?

Longfield says it comes down to developing a feel for the weight of the clubhead as it moves through impact, and learning to have control over it. Letting go of tension is key, so your arms and hands are soft, not rigid.

“If you’re too handsy, try thinking about hitting chips with a putting motion,” Longfield said. “Gradually, your swing can get bigger and bigger until you ultimately rotate your body.”

Students who aren’t using their hands at all need to be taught that element of the swing. Longfield says her strategy there is to encourage students to hit with their wrists — and nothing else.

“That way, they see that the loft of the club gets the ball airborne,” she said. “From there, you can start to incorporate your elbow, and then the move happens pretty naturally without being restricted.”

Give Christy’s advice a try, and start saving shots around the green today.

Christy Longfield is the Director of Instruction at Spanish Oaks Golf Club in Austin, Texas. For more tips from GOLF’s Top 100 Teachers, click here. Editor

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on

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