Short-Game Secrets from U.S.P.G.A Championship Champion – Steve Elkington

[This post was about lessons learned from Steve Elkington’s shortgame video, but, it is not available anymore. The lessons are of course still valid – they are timeless. Read on and learn, and, I have a new training program on the shortgame here if you are interested.]

In this post I’m going to give you a detailed review about what I learned (plus some photos of Steve doing his thing).

1. Steve takes us through the different wedges and how they react to the ground/sand when one uses them.

2. Elk is talking about the different forces in the chip shot. The different forces he refers to are his arms and hands swinging one –

Steve talking about feel and the different forces in chipping

Steve talking about feel and the different forces in chipping

way – whilst his lower body resists or even feels like it’s going in the opposite direction. These are forces and feelings. They are very important, get this right and you can produce lag/drag; from this point you can now play any shot with confidence: a roll, hold or under with the wrists.  (He demonstrates the three different shots).

He tries to “load and drag”, when you drag the release is late (compared to a flippy wrist action). Feet resist forwards as arms swing back then visa versa. What helps do get this feel is a very open stance – this assists in creating resistance as your arms swing back and lag as you feet resist.

3. Key fundamentals that I see Steve using are: weight forwards and stance very open. I remember when I was a kid, my short-game was the best part of my game (we use to take the pin out when we were chipping – a lot of the time).  I remember having weight forwards with stance very open. Will focus more on this again.

4. Ball Position and low point. P.S… I have highlighted this point because for me – it’s a game changer. A couple weeks after viewing the video, I found myself living in a new state (no home golf course yet), at a new driving range and on a deserted chipping green (just rough fairway grass on the green).

On this practice day (about to got out and do it all again) I spent plenty of time hitting all different wedge shots. I started working on ball position – just as Steve demonstrated. Steve this point time after time in the video. The ball is opposite the left heel, but, it can feel like it is right back (if your stance is open and narrow – as it will be for most short shots. He is very deliberate with making sure is ball position is right. Get it right he says, and your arms and hands will always return to the “low point” of the swing (this applies to all shots).

This works superbly, it feels like how I used to hit them when I was a 13 year old! (I have had the ball to far up – in recent years; fundamentals…always important). Around this chipping green, it didn’t matter the shot; low runner, hit and hold, high lob, I’d pick the release and type of shot as normal, get the ball position correct, and the ball would go close.

Like I said, Steve goes into this quite a few times in the video.

5. Picking the shot to play. This is what Steve says in relation to picking the shot to play, it is identical to what I teach Steve Elk flop shot - a controlled fat shotin the Build a Better Shortgame training course, here.

Steve: “I have no real preference towards which club to use, I wait for the shot to tell me”. Me: “He knows the shot he is going to play before he plays it.”

6. Lob shot. Steve plays this audacious lob shot or high pitch witch re refers to as a “controlled fat shot”. Superb.

7. Bunker shots. Because Elk is so open on his pitch shots his bunker shots a quite similar – he uses different hinges (release) on his bunker shots. He also demonstrates a more standard bunker shot with a wider stance.

At this particular time, Steve is extremely confident with his bunker play. He using a different  left arm position, which

Steve "makes" a couple of shots from about 15 played. Impressive.

Steve “makes” a couple of shots from about 15 played. Impressive.

helps him to be aggressive through the ball (he holes two shots live – from varying lies). Very impressive.

Fried egg shots: Steve plays some amazing shots from fried-egg-lies. I have never really played the shot the way Steve demonstrates; he gives an excellent demonstration and explanation of how and why to play the shot in this manner.

7. Pitching from 50 yards. Superb…again, Elk feels the shot with his feet and forces moving against each other (lower body versus arms and upper body; and a perfect ball position).

8. Finally, Steve does some “troubleshooting (good for if your struggling with your short shots), and goes over the technique and the feelings you want to be working on when you are hitting short shots.

At the end of the video Steve say’s: “The guy that chips the best knows more”. Steve has done a lot of work on his short-game with various coaches over his near 40 year career – and it shows.

Summary and takeaway points

I especially like Steve’s focuses on the set-up (open stance and ball off left heel), the way he feels the shot with his feet (sounds a bit weird –  I know) and the feel and dynamics he is looking for when the arms swing back and through along with how his lower body works. (Open the stance up; while your arms go back, you should feel like your feet/legs are pressing towards the target; your creating torque and the correct technique).

If you want to dig in deeper, I thoroughly did recommend: Steve’s Tour Quality Short-Game Video, and excellent addition to your learning and game. It is not available anymore, but I have 25 new videos that cover how to hit excellent chips, pitches and bunkers shots, here.









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