We all know how essential a good short game is if you want to score better but how many of us really believe it? A journalist who is an expert on the amateur game was watching Zane Scotland - who many tip to be a future champion - play in the Algarve Open as an amateur in 2002, when he took 26 and 27 putts in the two rounds they played because of storms.
After he chipped in for a third time in the second round, his junior organiser turned to the journalist and said: 'Remember Andy, your chip is your first putt.'
That, more than anything else, probably separates the very best from the rest of us. When we get around the green we just want to knock it on and hope to one-putt. Pros and the best amateurs are always looking to hole their shot, if at all possible.
When you next face a chip onto the green, simply tell yourself: 'This is my first putt' and keep a mental note of how often you get down in two; you should be looking to achieve it at least two out of three times.
And the mere act of paying closer attention to what you're doing will, if nothing else, highlight the areas of your game you need to improve.
|| 28 - NOVEMBER 2003