Improve Your Short Game: Landing Zones

There are many aspects which combine to make a successful short game in golf.  The club choice, shot technique and balance are three of the main ingredients but the thought process behind the shot is also very important.

One of the key features of a chip shot from the edge of the green is planning where you want the ball to land. 

This will depend on many things but one of the most important is the slope of the green.  There is little sense in playing a chip shot directly towards the hole, if when coming into contact with the green, the ball is on a slope and that slope takes the ball away from the hole.

You must consider any undulations on the green and how they are going to affect the ball when it lands on the putting surface.  If the green is sloping away from you, you will need to leave the ball a little shorter then you would if the surface was flat as the ball could pick up speed as it heads towards the hole.

If the green is sloping uphill towards you, the ball is likely stop more quickly and thus you will need to either play the shot with a little more pace or attempt to have the first bounce of the ball closer to the hole.

As highlighted above, if the green is sloping away from the hole, either to the left or the right, you will need to consider where you want the ball to land so it can work its way towards the hole using the slope.  This will mean aiming away from the hole and while that can seem counterintuitive, you must take the break of the green into account, even when playing shots from off the green.

Consider exactly where you want the ball to land on the green to give it the best chance of finishing in or close to the hole.

The club you are using will also change the area on which you want the ball to land on the green.  You will get different flights and roll with each club and the best way to cope with this is to practice some shots from off the green with a variety of clubs.

Some clubs will see the ball roll further on the green than others, so make sure you know how the ball is going to react with each club before playing a round.  You can play short shots around the green with a lot more confidence and know exactly where you want the ball to land on the green with each club.

Finally, always consider the weather conditions when playing a short shot to the green.  If the weather has been hot and dry, the ball will roll further on the green and you will need to land the ball further away from the hole.  If the weather has been wet, the ball will not roll as far and you can land it closer to the hole.

Try using landing zones to plan your chip shots for better accuracy.