7 Great Short Game Drills To Keep Improving!

We don’t want to point any fingers, but it’s no secret that a lot of golfers overlook their short game practice.

Most people prefer to spend their time in the driving range rapid firing balls into oblivion and wasting both their time and money.

How you practice and how you bring that to your game is so important in golf, therefore the short game drills you choose to implement in your practice routine need to be the most useful you can use.

So we’ve collected some of our favourite short game drills for golf that you can take to the driving range or the putting green and take your time with .

You might find it most useful to use a few of these drills in one practice session, but hopefully you should be able to practice these drills from home.

Let’s get started!

Short game drills. A golfer watches their ball at the takeaway.

7 Short Game Drills

1. One-Handed Shots

If you have a hard time with your distance and power control, this short game drill is for you.

And the way you practice this drill is quite simple, you just take a few shots in a row with only one hand, preferably using either hand or swapping between the two.

But don’t just hit the ball and hope for the best – control the power and tempo of your swing, think about your swing path, and try your best to make a shot as well as you would with both arms in the swing.

This is only really possible with irons, and we’d recommend taking your wedges out and using the bounce to your advantage for this drill.

Good luck hitting a decent shot with your driver and good luck using that to consistently to practice!

Make sure you have a target in mind when taking your one-handed shots, like all short game drills, this drill this drill is focused on both your swing mechanics and your accuracy.

golfers with their putters at a tournament.

2. Flop Shots

For the short game, the flop shot can be your best friend.

That’s why it’s worth working in a flop shot drill into your practice routine, and while this could definitely be ranked as the hardest drill on this list, if you can pull it off it will pay off in bucketloads.

Essentially, you need an obstacle. It can be anything, as long as it’s tall, around your chest height or higher. We wouldn’t recommend using your buddies or your kids for this drill, it could result in a trip to the hospital.

All you’re trying to achieve is a nice steep flop shot that shoots up and over whatever obstacle you’ve set up in front of yourself.

This will take a lot of time to get consistent. But that’s why it’s a drill, you have to repeat it over and over until you get it right.

Pro tip – make sure you use an obstacle that t is either sturdy enough to not get damaged by a wayward golf ball, or something that you don’t mind getting a bit beat up.

And don’t try this drill indoors. Golf balls and ceilings are not a great mix.

A golf instructor helps a young golfer.

3. The Hula Hoop

This is one my favourite short game drills and can be really useful in helping you get consistent and precise bump or chip and runs.

This drill is all about solidifying the connection between your body and your mind when you’re making a shot.

Here’s how it’s done:

  • Set up a hula hoop around 30-40 yards away from you. If you’re a more experienced golfer, set it up wherever you want, just make sure that it’s a challenge.
  • Use whatever club you need the most practice with, but we recommend using a wedge or any high-lofted iron if you want to work on your short game.
  • Simply try and hit the ball into the hula hoop, but there’s a catch.

Hitting the ball into the hoop is trouble enough, but try and get the ball to stop in the hula hoop after it runs along the grass.

This drills should help you visualise how long a ball will run for after it’s landed, and help you unconsciously factor that into your swing.

Golf clubs and a bucket of golf balls resting against a tree.

4. Front Foot

This drill is great for any golfer that has problems with their swing balance or with consistently hitting chip shots.

A lot of beginner or amateur golfers struggle with hitting good chip shots and distribute their weight further to the back of their position.

Having your weight in the rear of your swing can lead to a number of swing errors as it makes it harder to hit down on the ball, which is necessary for both hitting a good chip shot and getting spin on the ball.

To practice this drill, all you ned to do is practice some chip shots with your back foot slightly lifted off of the ground.

You might find this difficult if you struggle with swing balance, so take gentle short shots first, this drill is unlikely to help you much with your more powerful shots anyway.

golf balls in a hole.

5. Up and Down

This drill should hopefully help you shave off some of your higher scores towards the end of your game.

Of all the short game drills, this one in this list, you may find this to be the most useful for your overall game.

Here’s how it’s done:

  • Take around 10-15 balls to the apron of a putting green.
  • Using a pitching wedge, hit every ball as close as you possibly can to the pin without trying to sink your shot.
  • Once you’ve hit every shot, head onto the green with and try and sink every putt.

You can chart your score as well so that you can track how you’re improving and what needs the most work, e.g. 10/10 chips withing 4-ft of the pin, but only sunk 6/10 putts.

The better you get, the further away your initial shots can be.

This is one of our favourite short game drills as it can really help with your accuracy and confidence.

If you know that you can sink 9/10 up and downs in practice, what’s to stop you in a tournament?

And once you’re confident enough with your up and downs, you can start to incorporate that skill into your course strategy and try shots you might not normally go for.

Golf is all about building your strengths and working on your weaknesses, so if you know that you can rely on a bulletproof short game, you can start to have more fun with the rest of your game!

A group of golfers tee off together.

6. The Bunker Drill

I know I fear the bunker, but there’s no need to really. Hitting a shot from a sand bunker should be simple if you’ve got the practice in, and this is a great drill to improve your confidence if you find yourself in the dreaded trap.

Here’s how it’s done:

  • First, find a bunker that you can practice in where you won’t be getting in anyone’s way. i.e. don’t stand in a bunker on the 18th hole, find a driving range with a practice bunker.
  • Make sure the lie is flat, and use your club to draw a straight line in the sand parallel to your target.
  • Set up 5-10 balls along the line in the sand and an inch or two away from it.
  • You should aim for your club to to draw a straight line perpendicular from this line in the sand with every shot, starting at the line.

If your divot starts before the line in the sand, you’re chunking and your swing plane is off.

If you’re not leaving any mark on the sand, your swing might be too steep or your stance might be off balance wit the ball too far forwards in your stance.

Don’t let a trip into the sand-pit ruin your day! Put the hours in now and you won’t regret it later!

A golfer plays a shot out of a bunker.

7. Worst Ball

If you have an hour to kill, this is one of our short game drills that is not only useful, but can be a lot of fun.

Since this is one of our short game drills and not a regular practice session, you can head to your local pitch and putt for this drill.

  • Take at least two balls with you out onto the pitch and putt. You only need two, but you might lose one (let’s face it, we all do).
  • Hit both of them and make sure you keep an eye on where they’ve landed,
  • Find both balls and identify the best and worst shot. Whichever is the worst, hit two shots from that location.

This drill will help you play from any position, and if you use it at the pitch and putt, you’ll be improving your short game!

So, that was our guide to the 7 best short game drills to improve your game. There are always more you can try, or different drills that might work better for you.

It’s worth trying all of these over a few practice sessions and finding the ones that you both enjoy the most, and that help you work on your problem areas.

If you fin one of these short game drills especially difficult, it might be because that’s one of the areas of your game that needs the most work!

Don’t settle for less than a challenge!

Keep reading for our guide to chipping game you can play to have fun while you practice!

Photo of author
Adam is a writer and lifelong golfer who probably spends more time talking about golf than he does playing it nowadays!

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