Master Your Short Game: Ultimate Tips from Tour Coach James Ridyard

Are you struggling to get up-and-down on the golf course? Frustrated by inconsistent wedge play? Worry no more! This is your ultimate guide to mastering your short game. Whether it’s generating more spin, striking chips cleanly, or avoiding common pitching mistakes, we’ve got you covered.

1. Creating More Spin

The ability to generate spin on your wedge shots can dramatically improve your short game. Here are some key factors to consider:

  • Environment: Ensure your club is clean with good grooves and a quality, soft golf ball.
  • Conditions: Long grass, moisture, and dirt can affect spin. The landing area’s slope also influences how quickly the ball stops.
  • Technique: Quality contact is essential. Aim to hit lower on the clubface, and manage your spin loft by opening the clubface slightly to deliver high loft with a forward shaft lean.

2. Avoid Thins and Duffs

Consistency around the greens can save you numerous strokes. Here’s how to strike your wedges cleanly every time:

  • Margin for Error: Build in some margin for error by controlling the depth of your swing. Aim to keep the low point of your swing shallow.
  • Technique Adjustments: Raise the butt of the club through impact and avoid driving the club downwards. This helps maintain consistent ground contact.

3. Choosing the Right Wedges

Selecting the right wedges can be overwhelming. Use tools like Ping’s WebFit Wedge app to guide you. Consider:

  • Gapping: Ensure you have the correct lofts to fill gaps between your pitching wedge and shorter clubs.
  • Conditions: Choose wedges based on typical turf and sand conditions you play on.
  • Technique: Your pitching technique (square vs. open face) and ball position can influence your wedge selection.

4. Pitching Techniques

Pitching within 50 yards can be tricky, but avoiding these common mistakes can help:

  • Flight Control: Don’t try to launch the ball too high. Instead, deliver more shaft lean through impact.
  • Distance Control: Use a clock face system to vary your swing length for different distances, ensuring you have multiple yardage options.

5. The Best Short Game Drill

To improve your short game, practice with this simple drill:

  • Finish Position Check: Focus on ending your swing in a balanced position where your chest is fully rotated, arms are soft, and the club is aligned with your center. Use a coat hanger in your grip for immediate feedback.


Improving your short game is all about consistency, proper technique, and having the right equipment. By incorporating these tips from James Ridyard into your practice routine, you’ll be better equipped to handle any short game situation and see your scores start to drop. Remember, practice makes perfect, so take these pointers to the course and watch your performance improve!

For further information, visit Golf Monthly.