By Josh Zander
Everything in moderation is a pretty good philosophy in life and it is in your golf game as well. Opening your stance for short game shots is ok if it is done in moderation but opening it too much leads to disaster. Setting up too open leads to glancing blows, pulls, chunks and excessive sidespin on your short game shots. More importantly, it seeps into other parts of your game which leads to inconsistency.
I recommend putting a shaft down on the ground to monitor your alignment. It will give you the sense of what is square so when you remove the club, anything other than square will feel awkward. If square is your baseline, you are setting yourself up for success. Setting up square leads to solid contact due to an on plane swing. Your ball will come off with pure backspin and an absence of sidespin. You hear people talk about trying to get the ball within a three foot circle in order to have a good chance at getting up and down. I try to hole all my short game shots. Knowing that my ball will have a predictable bounce because of pure backspin enables me to give the ball a good chance of going in. I even read the green on my chip shots much like you would on a lag putt. If your goal is to hole your shot, chances are that if it doesn’t go in, it will be inside that three foot circle.
The key to scoring in golf is predictability. Whether you are a hooker or a slicer, you can plan your aim and find the fairway if you know beforehand how your ball will curve. Setting up square will give you predictability of distance control because of your solid contact and predictability of direction due to square spin. Now go practice and hole some short game shots.