Meditating: Randy practises getting the ball to three feet from the hole. *Photo by Nicola Muirhead
Meditating: Randy practises getting the ball to three feet from the hole. *Photo by Nicola Muirhead

Randy, an employee at Tucker’s Point, and a newcomer to golf, was set a challenge by the club’s pro Paul Adams. He must learn to play the game in 20 hours, compete in the Bacardi National par 3 on January 17-18, score respectably and qualify for the World Par 3 Championship in March. Not much then. Here’s his third lesson...

The focus this week is on the short game.

Paul’s point of view

The key to scoring is the short game — but that is like saying the key to being rich is to have lots of money.

What is it then that  allows you to score?

The key is chipping.

The most important part of the short game is to get the ball inside of three feet.

If you are chipping and do not get the shot within three feet, the chances are that you will miss. 

It is almost like a magic line around the hole.

So how do we get the ball to finish within this magic circle? 

The key is to control the distance the ball goes, this can be achieved in three different ways — the acceleration, the length of the swing and the quality of the hit.

The best way is to only control distance by the length of swing, then get used to varying the length of swing to be appropriate to the distance required.

The tricky bit is to slow everything down so that you are not accelerating to make up for an incorrect length of swing.

Finally we worked on having a narrower stance than usual to keep the body steady and leaning the shaft towards the target so that we create a descending blow, being clear to make the blow a U shape not a sharp V shape.

Randy’s point of view

What can I say? Some days my golfing is bad, really bad, and then the next, with a few great pointers I’m doing really well — even sinking a chip shot! 

We played a round of golf this week, and I was thankful it was Captain’s Choice!

It was really discouraging to rarely have my ball be the best ball, but it was definitely good practice and a good reality check.

I left the course vowing to never play again. And then the next day it was time to drag myself out to practice some more. We focused on the short game — putting and chip shots. 

The key things I had to remember is that the backswing controls the distance and to do my best to get it within three feet of the hole. 

Paul had me really slow down the game — making me focus on my breathing and relaxing before and through the shot? 

Is this yoga? Are we going to meditate on the green before a shot? 

Funny as it seemed, it really worked. 

I left that practice elated with my progress close to the green. Hopefully it will stick with me. n

The Golf Challenge is a new weekly column. Paul Adams is director of golf at Tucker’s Point.