Struggling from 100 yards away from the hole? Worry no more! I have put together a few of my favorite golf tips that are going to get you onto the putting surface and saving strokes! I see many of my beginning students struggle from this range only because they are trying to “help” the ball into the air with their wrists. Using the wrists causes many inconsistencies where the golfer either tops or hits behind the golf ball. If you have read any of my other posts, you know that using the wrists in your golf swing is the kiss of death! So let’s avoid this fault altogether by following my 15 simple golf strategies inside 100 yards!
15. Check Your Alignment!
If you are struggling with your golf ball direction, the first place I would have you examine is your alignment at address. Are your feet and shoulders going down your target line? Sometimes it can be this simple! Just lay a club down at your feet and see where you are aiming.
14. Strengthen Your Grip
Using a stronger grip is my remedy for taking the wrists out of the equation. Remember, trying to “time” your golf swing only leads inconsistent ball contact. To strengthen your grip, take your top hand and rotate it more towards the center of the golf grip. You should see between 2- 3 knuckles on your top hand as a sign that you have rotated enough and your golf grip will feel locked in place. I know it may feel uncomfortable at first but trust me; this is the easiest and fastest way to teach your muscles the correct timing of the golf swing!
Even if you have a perfect golf stance, make perfect contact, all is lost if you don’t accelerate through the shot. What do I mean by accelerating through? We have to make sure that the body and arms keep moving “after” we make contact. A good drill you can use to feel this movement is to point your chest at your target after making contact. This will teach you to get all of the momenta of your swing through the golf ball! This is crucial when trying to utilize the club’s loft effectively.
12. Scope the “Exact” Distance
The difference between one club and another when making a full swing is around 10-15 yards. This means that when you within 100 yards of the flag, most golfers have the option of 3-4 different golf clubs! Narrow down your club decision by finding and learning exactly how far each club travels when adequately struck. The easiest way to do this is to invest in a rangefinder. Just point and click, and you will find your exact yardage to the green and hone in your distance control. We’ll go over more about which clubs to use below!
11. Full Swing or Half Swing?
As mentioned above, the first step before making your golf swing is to find your exact distance to the green. Now that we know that information, do you make a full swing or a half swing with a lower lofted club?
My strategy for beginners: If you are 100-75 yards away from the green, make a full swing using the club that will get you closest to the distance measured. Next, if you are 75-30 yards away, take a lower lofted club (7 iron, 8 iron, 9 iron) and hit a half swing into the green. Why do I say to do this? 75-30 yard shots take a lot of touch and finesse when trying to hit the green. This means there is there is more room for errors to take place. So to avoid this and increase your chances of getting on the putting surface, why not just hit a half shot with a lower lofted club to get as close as possible! Even if you don’t make perfect contact, the lower loft of your club choice will still have plenty of roll that will get you into a better position. Remember to accelerate through the shot!
For all shots 30 yards or closer to the flag, learn how to hit a chip shot to get your ball up in the air and onto the green.
10. Put Your Feet Closer Together
When hitting approach shots to the green, I recommend that you bring your feet closer together during the setup. A narrow golf stance allows you to keep your weight more over the golf ball when making a full swing which leads to more consistent contact!
9. Rotation Makes the Swing
It’s all in the hips! To take the wrists out of your golf swing when trying to hit the green, feel like your hips are making the rhythm and you aren’t trying to “add” power with your arms. The arms should feel like they are just along for the ride and are dropping down at the ball when rotating.
The key to a perfect approach shot: Using the hips to rotate around the golf ball, we “must” keep our weight ahead of the golf ball and not fall back or slide behind. If you fall behind, you will have no choice but to flip the wrists to make contact ????. To eliminate the flip, it helps to put a little more weight on your front hip when setting up to the ball to give yourself a mental cue that your weight needs to stay loaded on that front side during the whole swing!
8. Hit Down to Go Up
We don’t need to help the golf ball into the air. Each club is designed a specific degree of loft that is only activated when you hit down at the golf ball. If you have ever watched a golf swing in slow motion, you may have noticed that when someone makes contact with the ball, their divot is ahead of the ball. So using the advice from Tip #9, keep that weight on your front side and hit down at the golf ball for you to use the club’s loft properly!
7. Change Your Mentality
Having seen 100’s of golfers practicing approach shots, I have found that the majority of them have the wrong mentality when attempting to hit the green. I call this mentality, “The Tiger Woods Illusion”.”Tiger was probably one of the best approach shot players this game has ever seen. There are countless highlights of him hitting a beautiful looking, high shot that lands a foot away from the hole and stops as the crowd roars! Because he did this so often, it almost became widely accepted that this was the proper strategy towards hitting shots into the green. Here’s the cold hard truth: We aren’t Tiger Woods! We don’t need to be trying to hit this fantastic, perfect shot right at the flagstick. That type of shot is challenging to pull off and comes with high risks.
Our number one goal when going for the green should be this: I am going to try and get as close to the green as possible! I have seen it over and over again when my students get rid of the “Tiger Woods Illusion” and focus on a shot that they know they can hit, their scores get lower!
6. Club Up
Feeling the nerves a bit? For anyone who is feeling a bit nervous or lacks confidence when hitting shots into the green, swing lighter and use a club with lower loft!(Ex. 7iron to 6iron) This simple strategy gives you a mental edge knowing that you have enough club to reach the green and helps release some of the tension in your swing by swinging softer. Don’t forget to accelerate through!!
5. Invest in a Gap Wedge
This tip is more for intermediate to advanced golfers, but it still warrants conversation. If you are making full swings with a pitching wedge and a sand wedge, there is going to be close to a 10-degree gap between clubs. This is the difference between two golf clubs! So instead of swinging extra hard or extra light to hit the green, purchase a gap wedge to bridge the gap between distances! To learn more about an approach wedge, read here
4. What if You’re in the Rough?
What is rough and why is it on the course? No, the grounds crew isn’t lazy, the long grass is out on the course for a reason. To grab your clubface and make it more difficult to make contact! To conquer this obstacle, we have to follow these two techniques when trying to hit the green.
- Open up you clubface so that your club can slide more easily underneath the golf ball.
- Keep your weight on your front hip to drive through the ball or else your ball will go straight up in the air and get little distance.
Following these two tips will help you cut through the rough and pop the ball up and back towards the putting surface!
3. Elevated Green? No Worries
If the green is elevated or bunkers are surrounding your usual landing spot, it’s best to hit a higher ball flight so it will land safely on the putting surface. To do this:
- Open up your clubface (just like when you are in the rough)
- Play the golf ball off of your front foot so that the swing path is lower to the ground when on the downswing
- Swing through pointing your chest at the target
If you follow these steps, your ball flight will have a much higher trajectory and land softly on the putting surface!
2. Play to the Center of the Green
Just as I talked about the “Tiger Woods Illusion” above, aiming at the pin isn’t always the best idea. Many greens are guarded by bunkers or water that prevent you from trying those types of “hero” approach shots. So why try? When our goal is to “get as close to the green as possible,” let’s aim at the most accessible spot to hit, the center! I don’t know about you, but I would much rather be putting on the green after hitting the center of the green than pitching again because I tried a high-risk shot at the flagstick. Play your odds and conservatively aim for the center of the green to save a few strokes!
1. Putt Like a Pro
Finally, I’m going to talk about putting! It’s no secret that the most essential part about improving your game inside 100 yards, is putting! The key to lowering those scores on the putting surface is to avoid three-putts to get the ball as close to the hole as possible. This process of mastering your putting stroke takes a lot of time and practice as it is a different type of golf swing than the rest of the clubs in your bag. So in order to putt like a pro, take a look at my full article here to learn all the skills needed to conquer the putting surface!
I hope these tips have sparked some confidence when trying to hit the green inside 100 yards! It is imperative that we remember the motto “get as close as you can” so that you increase your chances of getting onto the green!
Here is a quick review of what we went over:
- Use this link to learn all about the putting secrets that will improve your consistency on the putting surface
- Aim towards the center of the green to improve your chances of having the ball stay on the green
- Play the ball higher in the stance and open the clubface adding trajectory to your golf ball to reach elevated greens
- Open the clubface and load your weight on your front side when in the rough. Don’t forget to accelerate!
- Look into getting a gap wedge to narrow down your club selection when hitting approach shots
- If you’re nervous about the upcoming shot, club up and use a club with a higher loft to improve your chances of getting the ball to the green.
- Change your mentality to getting “as close as you can,” instead of hitting a miraculous shot at the flagstick
- You have to hit down at the golf ball to utilize the club’s loft
- Use the hips to rotate around the golf ball. Don’t slide or shift your weight backward during the swing.
- Play with your feet closer together so you can better feel your weight transition through the shot and increase consistency
- Use a full swing from 100-75 yards away from the hole. Hit a half shot with a lower lofted club when 75-30 yards away.
- Know your exact distance to the flag using a rangefinder or yardage markers so you can learn different club distances faster
- Remember to keep the arms and body moving after contact
- Use a stronger grip when hitting approach shots to eliminate the use of any wrist movement during the swing
- Make sure your feet and shoulders are aimed parallel to your target line to achieve better accuracy
You will soon start to see your scores start to drop after implementing these quick tips inside 100 yards of the green! For more tips and info on what you need to know before playing, check out my golfer’s survival guide here!