Stop practicing and start TRAINING for a great short game 

Karl Morris

Shane Lowry and Padraig Harrington (Photo by Matthew Lewis/ via Getty Images)

How many of you reading this article would like to score better? How many of you would like to reduce your handicap? Take the money of your pals on a Saturday morning? 

I am guessing many of you will have raised your hand to at least one of those options. Yet how many times have you ever come away from a round of golf feeling like you have scored close to the best of your ability today? I would be willing to bet a good chunk of cash on the fact most of the time you come of the course you feel like you have taken just about as many shots as you possibly could.  

Even at the highest levels of the game this is a really common complaint. However, the newly crowned US Seniors Open champion Padraig Harrington is a notable exception to this. He is one of the very few players who seems to squeeze the maximum from many of his rounds. He so often turns what could have easily been a 74 or 75 and somehow finds a way of shooting under par. The reason for this is Harrington’s magical abilities with the short game honed over so many years. So what is his secret? 


Of course he has tremendous ability but for me his great strength is the fact he doesn’t just practice his short game he TRAINS his short game for the demands he faces out on the course. So many golfers practice but they don’t train and there is a BIG difference. 

I have heard that Padraig has spent endless hours with his good friend Shane Lowry playing chipping games from all around the green. Both of them conjuring up magical shots from all manner of lies and situations. To the outside observer watching the two of them together it may just seem like a regular practice session but believe me if we look a little deeper under the surface we see a highly effective form of training for both brain and body.  

The games they play will involve one ball from one unique location, a score will be involved and I am sure there is a healthy wager on the side. In effect the ‘games’ they are playing are a direct replica of the exact demands the game itself places upon you. To repeat one ball, one unique location, a score and some form of consequence. 

Yet if we contrast this approach against what most golfers do it is night and day. If anyone does actually practice their short game, it will generally be with a bunch of balls playing the same type of shot over and over again. Whilst this form of practice has some limited merits if you are working on your chipping action you will gain so much more long term benefits by simulating the demands of the real game. 

If you are serious about your game and your improvement, I would like you to commit for the next couple of months to playing a game I invented over 20 years ago called ‘Par 18’ 

Very simply you go to your chipping area and you play 9 different ‘par 2s’  

9 different holes from nine different locations where you simply chip on to the green and then see if you can hole out in as few strokes as possible, each hole a par 2. Keep a score against the overall par of 18. Do everything you would normally do in a tournament round including using the golf ball you would normally play with. 

Keep your scores and I promise you that you will start to see some progress. At first it can be frustrating when you don’t get to hit another shot. You have to live with and respond to your mistakes. But you are challenging yourself in exactly the same way the course itself will challenge you. 

In time you will have evidence you are getting better at the short game. Evidence you can then take with you onto the golf course. So from now on make a commitment to do more TRAINING for golf not just hitting balls. 

Do you want to TRAIN to be a PERFORMANCE coach to players? Work with all levels of the game? Become a CERTIFIED MIND FACTOR coach with Karl Morris?

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