Refining your short game is essential for a notable improvement in your scores. You can effortlessly transform potential disaster holes into pars by chipping the ball nearer to the hole and mastering distance control on lengthy putts.

Professional golfers emphasize their short-game prowess during significant championships like the 2020 ANA Inspiration at Mission Hills, employing the best short-game drills available. The dense, rough, and challenging terrain makes saving strokes around the greens paramount.

LPGA players Jennifer Kupcho and Stephanie Meadow utilized uncomplicated drills, considered among the best short-game drills, to sharpen their short-game skills in preparation for this week’s competition. The beauty of these exercises lies in their simplicity – requiring only essential equipment that you likely already possess – yet they yield significant results.

On practice days at the ANA Inspiration, I had the opportunity to discuss these short game drills with Kupcho and Meadow, gaining insights into their effectiveness. Incorporate these best short-game drills into your next short-game practice session, and you’re bound to see a reduction in your scores. If they prove effective for professionals like them, they’ll work wonders for you, too.

What is The Short Game in Golf?

The term “short game” encompasses shots played from relatively close distances around the green, comprising both putting and approach shots. Mastery of the short game demands control, consistency, and precision.

What is The Short Game in Golf

This aspect of golf includes:

1. Putting

Widely regarded as one of the game’s most crucial and specialized aspects, putting often marks the final step in completing a hole. As the “game within the game,” putting can significantly influence your overall round. It necessitates precision, unwavering focus, and a composed demeanor. Many golfers dedicate substantial practice time to honing their putting skills due to its pivotal role in their performance.

2. Chipping

Chipping entails short, low-trajectory shots from just off the green’s edge, slightly longer than a putter’s reach. These shots are ideal for short distances with a clear path to the hole. Typically, a sand wedge, pitching wedge, or chipping wedge is employed for chipping.

3. Pitching

Pitching involves launching the ball into a higher trajectory than chip shots, aiming for a soft landing on the green. This technique proves advantageous when negotiating obstacles or necessitating swift stops without compromising strokes.

4. Bunker Shots

Encountering bunkers is an inevitable aspect of golf, underscoring the importance of mastering bunker shots. These shots are executed from sand bunkers or similar obstacles, requiring the utilization of a sand wedge or lob wedge to extricate the ball onto the green.

The Significance of the Short Game

The Significance of the Short Game

The short game is a pivotal component of your skill repertoire, wielding substantial influence over your overall score. 

A robust short match is critical to reducing golf scores, enabling adept recovery from challenging scenarios, salvaging strokes, and capitalizing on scoring prospects on the green. 

Numerous professional golfers devote considerable practice hours to refine their short-game prowess, striving for enhanced proficiency and unwavering consistency in these pivotal domains.

Best Short Game Drills

1. Alignment Sticks

While many of us find ourselves indoors more than ever, practice need not halt. The alignment sticks drill offers a viable indoor solution with minimal investment. Lay down two unused clubs parallel to each other, approximately a putter’s width apart. 

Execute 50-100 practice strokes sans a ball to ensure consistent square alignment of the putter’s face to the sticks. Gradually narrow the gap between the clubs to heighten difficulty and precision.

Alignment Sticks

2. Putting on a Playing Card

Mastering accuracy on a diminutive surface like a playing card enhances putt speed control. Begin with the card positioned three feet ahead. Putt until the ball lands on the card five consecutive times before advancing. 

Incrementally increase the distance by 2-3 feet following each series of successful attempts, simulating diverse putting distances encountered during an actual round of golf.

3. Putting Mat Practice

Investing in a putting mat proves invaluable for honing your game. Opt for a mat featuring a central cross to facilitate putting from varying directions and angles. 

Enhance the challenge by incorporating a playing card or introducing unevenness with towels or foam pads underneath, simulating irregular greens.

4. Towel Drill

Although primarily focused on chipping, the towel drill offers a budget-friendly solution to sharpen your short game. Place a towel 5-10 yards away on the ground and aim to chip into it consistently. 

Progress to the next drill only after successfully landing the ball on the towel ten times, refining chip shot precision and speed.

Towel Drill

5. Three-Quarter Chip Drill

Investing in a chipping mat and net facilitates the execution of the three-quarter chip shot drill. Practice chipping into the net from various angles and distances, preparing you for challenging situations around the green.

6. One Footed Chip Shots

Combatting balance issues during chipping is crucial for trajectory and accuracy. Utilize your chipping mat and net, restricting yourself to chipping while standing on one foot or placing one foot on a raised surface. This drill, requiring no additional purchases, substantially enhances chipping proficiency.


Welcome to the short game challenge. You’ll conquer those close-range shots, escape bunkers, and effortlessly sink putts through consistent dedication. 

Moreover, ensure you’re equipped with forgiving golf clubs while honing your short-game skills. These clubs provide leniency, correcting less-than-perfect shots and refining your technique. They’re truly a beginner’s best friend! 

And remember to incorporate the best short-game drills into your practice routine for optimal improvement.

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