Short game myths that are costing you strokes, according to an expert
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Parker McLachlin is a PGA Tour winner-turned short-game coach who has become one of the most respected minds in the space. McLachlin — aka The Short Game Chef — has a coaching style that’s based on debunking myths.
Below, McLachlin offers up some myths about the short game that are costing you strokes — and tips on how to fix them. (You can learn more about McLachlin’s journey here.)
You can get a bonus three short game myths by watching the video below (seven in total!), or scroll down to see four ways that McLachlin is modernizing shots around the green.
1. Greenside bunker blast
Myth: For a standard bunker shot, aim way open and swing along your toe line. This — supposedly — opens the face and deflects the ball toward the target. It doesn’t work this way.
Myth buster: Set up more square, stand a little farther away from the ball and set your hands lower. Then, swing toward the target, making your shot more of a full release than a drag.
2. Plugged bunker lie
Myth: Get really wide with your stance and close the face, so you have it “hooded” with the toe portion of the club turned in. All you’ve done with this setup is force yourself to make an aggressive — if not violent — swing.
Myth buster: In reality, you can stand a little closer to the ball, and your feet don’t have to be that far apart. The main thing? Set the face open. Hinge up the club and get really steep coming down, entering the sand just behind the ball.
3. Pitches and chips
Myth: Lean toward the target with your weight forward, play the ball back and angle the shaft with your hands ahead of the ball. Um, can you say too steep?
Myth buster: You want to produce a shallow angle of attack on standard pitches and chips, and you do that by setting up with the shaft more neutral and the ball played more off your front heel. Keep your weight neutral as well. Combining this setup with a wider — not steeper — backswing gives you the shallow approach you need to nip the ball off the turf.
4. Shot from the rough
Myth: Play the ball back with your hands way forward and “chop” straight down to catch the back of the ball.
Myth buster: Embrace the grass! Instead of worrying so much about producing the cleanest contact possible, accept the fact that grass will indeed get between your clubface and the back of the ball and plan for it. Spend a practice session getting comfy with leaving the face open, positioning the ball farther up in your stance and keeping the shaft neutral (i.e., not leaning). You’ll sweep instead of chop, and, instead of coming out low and screaming, the ball will fly high and soft.
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