It's no secret that if you're going to shoot lower scores on the golf course, it's going to take a commitment to improving your short game.
In last week's "Best advice for breaking 100" piece, PGA Professional Rob Labritz put an emphasis on putting and chip shots.
This week, as we look toward breaking 90, Labritz says we're still going to use that idea of "working from the green backwards to the tee."
"The gist of it is this -- if you're a player struggling to break 90, chances are you're not hitting a lot of greens in regulation," Labritz said. "To make up for that shortcoming, you're going to need to get dialed in from 100 yards and in. If you want to consistently break 90, you need to dedicate time to working on pitch shots from 100 yards and in with all of your wedges -- pitching wedge, gap wedge, sand wedge and lob wedge."
With the ball in the middle of your stance, Labritz said to start hitting shots with all your wedges beginning at 30 yards and working yourself up to 100 yards in 10- to 15-yard increments.
"Using all your wedges results in two big positives for your game," he said. "First of all, you're going to develop touch by understanding how long a swing you need to use to reach those distances. Secondly, you're going to give yourself options on these shots."
Those options, Labritz said, relate to two things: trajectory and roll out on the green.
Since a shot with a pitching wedge will have a lower trajectory than one with a lob wedge, it's going to have more roll out on the green.
"You need to tighten up the wedges," Labritz said. "You're going to find out the different trajectories with which you hit each of your wedges and then you're going to see where the ball lands and where it rolls out. You've got to hit these shots from the fairway and the rough since the ball will respond differently from the rough -- it will affect the trajectory. Once you get the hang of all your wedges, you're going to have access to front flags, middle flags and back flags because you'll know how each wedge shot is going to react."
Early in this process of dialing in your wedges, Labritz recommends taking just half swings -- hip-high on the backswing and hip-high on the way through -- from 30, 40 and 50 yards out.
Once that feels comfortable, you can start moving back -- up to 100 yards tops -- and lengthening the swing. This process is designed to also help you build a solid foundation for the full swing, which will come later.
It's also important, Labritz noted, to spend time working on 8- to 10-yard bunker shots.
"Again, it's all about developing feel and getting familiar with how your ball reacts from different types of lies," he said.
The bottom line is this for those of us who want to consistently break 90: get comfortable with your scoring clubs.
Rob Labritz, who has played in four PGA Championships (he was low-Club Professional in 2010 at Whistling Straits), is currently the Director of Golf at GlenArbor Golf Club in BedFord Hills, N.Y. He was also the PGA Met Section Player of the Year in 2008 and 2013, as well as the Westchester Golf Association's Player of the Year in 2002, 2003, 2008, 2013 and 2015. You can learn more about Labritz at www.RobLabritz.com and you can follow him on Twitter, @Rlabritz.
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