And after watching her spend time practicing on the range, it’s not hard to see why Zhang excels. Her swing is smooth and powerful, but at this event, it’s the short game that will set the eventual champion apart. Watching Zhang practice her chipping Thursday morning was an insightful experience and highlighted exactly why average golfers typically aren’t as good around the greens as they could be.
Here’s what you can learn from Zhang’s short-game routine.
1. Put in the time
Zhang, like all great short-game players or just pros in general, spends lots of time putting in the work — they know how important it is.
For average golfers, spending the time to work on your short game is actually one of the easiest and fastest ways to lower your scores. You can’t easily add five miles per hour to your swing speed, but you can spend some time to get a better touch and feel around the greens, which will save you shots.
2. Change up your lies
Zhang doesn’t spend all that time practicing her short game standing in the same spot. She strategically plots her way around the short-game area, hitting shots from tight lies, rough, downhill lies, uphill lies and bunkers.
Average golfers take note — doing this will help you far more than staying on the range and hitting to the same flag over and over again with your wedge.
3. Change up your trajectory
The last thing I noticed while watching Zhang dial in her wedge game was that she doesn’t just practice from different lies, but she also practices hitting different shots. This is definitely something you should adopt into your short-game practice routine because it will help you be prepared for any situation.
The best amateurs in the world, like Zhang, are extremely skilled around the greens, so take a page out of their book and experiment with different shots.