The area where most amateur golfers lose shots is around the greens.
Three lucky readers were given the chance to sharpen their skills with a dedicated short-game day at Rockcliffe Hall’s Cleveland Golf Srixon Centre for Excellence.
Each player spent time with Dean Cracknell, product and custom fit manager, to get fitted into brand-new Cleveland 588 RTX wedges and a Srixon ball to suit their game.
Our golfers were then put through their paces in individual lessons with former European Tour winner and Cleveland ambassador Andrew Murray.
The European Senior Tour player explored all aspects of short game including chipping from around the greens, bunker play and putting.
With their new equipment and skills, our readers headed for the 1st tee on Rockliffe’s impressive championship course as confident new golfers.
This is what they learned from their big day.
Reader 1: Anthony Marshall
The key thing from the fitting was discovering more about my spin rates and how the revolutions on the ball were affecting the distance I was hitting my shots.
I was fitted with a new Cleveland RTX black pearl wedge which has definitely helped with my accuracy and my dispersion rates are a lot less.
When it came to the short-game clinic I was hitting a lot of my chip shots off to the right which has been a bit of a problem for me.
The main thing I will take away from my lesson with Andrew is the importance of my swing plane.
We worked on coming straight back and through the ball which is vitally important. I felt a lot more confident by the end of the session and my rhythm was much better.
After hitting lots of balls and looking back at the Trackman data I was fitted into a 58˚ wedge as an alternative to the 60˚ wedge I had been using.
Reader 2: Lee Duckworth
It was really interesting in the fitting session to find out that I actually hit the ball 10 yards shorter than I thought I did with all of my wedges.
To help me improve my distances and get my gapping correct I was fitted with a slightly firmer Srixon ball than the one I had been using previously. I was also fitted into more of a cavity-back wedge rather than a bladed wedge which should help me get the distances I thought I was hitting to already!
The most useful thing I took away from the short-game clinic was to practise throwing the ball onto the green and let it feed down. I tried to think about the weight and the trajectory then get the same feeling and flight with the wedge from around the green.
We worked on making a much bigger swing and using the bounce when in the bunker.
Reader 3: James Firth
One of the key things we looked at in the fitting session was my gapping which wasn’t quite correct. After hitting lots of balls and looking back at the Trackman data I was fitted into a 58˚ wedge as an alternative to the 60˚ wedge I had been using. The gap between clubs previously had been too much. I’ve been so much happier on the course since and I love the shape of my new 588 wedges.
I picked some fantastic tips from Andrew about using the bounce on the back of the club to make a better strike. It really helped with my bunker shots and I was able to splash the club through and take away more sand.
We worked on keeping a good solid base with my feet and not moving my weight around too much when in the bunker.
I holed my first bunker shot with the new wedge so it was definitely worthwhile!
Murray’s MasterClass – Eight ways to be better around the greens
1 – For me, the biggest things for amateur golfers and their short games are visualisation, shot selection and club choice. It’s something the pros seem to do instinctively.
2 – To be able to visualise the shot is key. Throwing the ball one-handed really helps to do this.
3 – Sometimes it is just about pitching the ball on to the front of the green and letting it work towards the flag. It’s not necessary to go for as much loft as possible and play that high lob-shot.
4 – A pitching wedge or a 54 degree is usually the right club. Using too much loft is a common fault among amateurs.
5 – The great Seve used the word ‘barrier’ to refer to the front on the green and for him it was often about getting the ball over that barrier.
6 – Unless you are Phil Mickelson or Colin Montgomerie, you wouldn’t play that high lob shot.
7 – If you can get the feel and visualisation of that underarm throwing technique then you’ve got half a chance.
8 – Use the back edge and bounce on the club, deliver a slightly downward blow and keep a nice rhythm. Easy!