Short Game Thoughts

Myth Buster - Putt Over a Dime to Check Start Line September 06 2017

I've seen a drill like this for the last couple of years and always felt uneasy about it. It just didn't pass the smell test. The other day, I went out to take some pictures and measurements and did the math on it. Here goes.

Here's how I usually see the drill set up. The quarter on the left is about 1 foot (30cm) away from the dime on the right. The drill then states that if you can roll the ball over the dime (diameter of .705 inches or 1.8 cm), you're start line control is satisfactory. Certainly the distance the dime is placed can vary. I've seen 10 inches to 18 inches away but 12 inches is the most common distance I've seen.

This image is a close up of an estimation I made. Because the golf ball is heavier than the dime, it sits lower in the grass. This causes more places on the ball that can touch the dime aside from just the bottom. The green lines represent the center of the ball on either side of the dime where no part of the ball no longer touches the dime. This spacing between the green lines is roughly 1.5 inches (~3.75cm). This means that if the player can roll the center of the ball between the two green lines, the dime will get hit thus passing the drill.

Well, here's the math on what was truly accomplished. To be fair, let's say I was too generous with my markings and testing procedure so I'll use a smaller spread of 1.25 inches (3.175cm).

From 12 inches (30cm) away to a spread of 1.25 inches we can use these figures and some right triangle trigonometry to find the angle of the start line window. Doing the math and looking up on the tangent tables gives us an angle of just under 6º.

6º!!!!!!! That is a huge angle for start line. That's 3º either side of the center of the dime. For me, that does not pass for satisfactory start line control at any level of golfer. From 10 feet, a 3º miss would miss the edge of the hole by 4 inches for a straight putt. That's a big miss. My goal for my players is to get within 1º either side of their start line. I think a fair goal for most club players would be +/-1.5º.

Let's figure out where the dime should go to produce this 1º either side tolerance. If we assume the same 1.25 inch window around the dime, the dime would need to be almost a yard away (35.8 inches). So, if you rolled a putt that hit a dime 3 feet (90cm) away that would be very good start line control of 1º either side of the center of the dime.

If we expand our tolerance to 1.5º either side of the dime, the dime would be placed 2 feet away (23.8 inches). This would be a better drill for players during a group clinic of members or something like that.

To be fair, let's also put down some math of where I think this drill idea came from. If we take the actual diameter of a dime which is 0.705 inches (1.8cm) and run the numbers again, at 13 inches we see a 1.5º spread for either side of the dime. This may be where the drill idea came from. It's just that in the real world, the spread where the ball will hit the dime is greater than just the actual width of the dime.

In summary, for most green speeds and for club players, if you use this dime drill make sure you place the dime at least 2 feet away and up to 3 feet away depending on the skill level you wish to work toward.

Thanks for reading and please share if you feel others would benefit from reading.


John Graham

Changes to PGA Tour Green Maps December 04 2016

Just wanted to share with you some recent changes that occurred out on the US PGA Tour. As many of you surely know, the players/caddies have the opportunity to purchase course and green books at the events they play. Some will purchase just course books or use ones from previous years (assuming no major course changes). Others will purchase both. 

At last years Open Championship, a new player in the green book market started in Europe and was producing much better books for the players. Over time, the pressure for adjustment in our books grew and at this years Barclays, the change occurred.

Here is a picture from an older green book the players could use to help with approach strategy and green reading. Lines represent areas of equal elevation. The closer the lines are together the steeper the slope in the area. Arrows represent the direction of the slope at that location.

You can see large areas where nothing is represented. These are areas that are very subtle in terms of slope change. That doesn't mean no slope change. It means not enough to show change on the scale the book is using. More and more often, these are the places where pins are placed. They do this to try and nullify the use of the books and force players to use past knowledge or their eyes to solve the slope question. These are also areas where slope direction can change in the opposite direction. Subtle double breakers happen here as well.

Now take a look at a newer green book. This image is just half of the green book. The other half looks similar to the one above but I'm sure you can guess there's more detail.

You can clearly see much more detail in the new books. It will be interesting to see if more players start adopting these newer books. At least one of my players has and has seen the biggest improvement from long lags as he can see the flow of the green better with these.

One of the constant issues with using a green book to read your putt is the accuracy of the pin placement on the green relative to the pin sheet and the players ability to locate themselves on the green relative to that position. If either of those are off, green reading answers can be off and trust in the books can diminish.

Hope you enjoyed this little peak into the inner workings at PGA Tour events.


Elite Player Mid Season Evaluation April 08 2016

When James Ridyard and I sat down to discuss our brand, one of the main things that kept coming up is that the information we provide be equally useful for the elite player and the club player. Our videos were created with the club player in mind as the main market. Honestly, this has happened more from an education of instructors that have spread our ideas to their clients with fantastic success than direct sales to club players. This is good for golf and that's the important thing.

We often get the question, "How is this different than what you would show or teach a Tour Player?" or "How is this different than what you would show a beginner?"

The simple answer is that it isn't different. The information we provide allows for significant differences in ability and style to be successful. It was very important to us that this be true. It's not a one size fits all method but rather a deeper understanding of a spectrum of styles and how they work. This allows for adaptability to whoever you have in front of you. As a coach, we take great pride in the reviews and testimonials we've received from other coaches about how this information has helped them with their daily clients.

To that end, I want to share some information from a player I started working with full time on the US PGA Tour late last summer. This player is a top 30 career money earner (Charles Howell III) that needed improvement in his short game. We initially met to discuss AimPoint Express and it blossomed into a full short game discussion. 

Year to date evaluation 2016:

26th Strokes Gained Total
13th Scoring Average
17th Scrambling
63rd Strokes Gained Putting 
36th Sand Save Percentage
27th Season Money List
23rd Fed Ex Cup Points List
91st Official World Rank

Nice start to the year.

Early focus on short game and short range putting going well. Time to focus on mid range putts.

2015 (year end)

59th Strokes Gained Total
88th Scoring Average
151st Scrambling
143rd Strokes Gained Putting 
161st Sand Save Percentage
77th Season Money List
79th Fed Ex Cup Points List
147th Official World Rank

The information and drills that we have worked on are the very same ones available in our videos. James' short game info has helped significantly and my putting ideas have done the same. Work with his full swing is also coming along nicely which plays a role in these statistics as well.

Thank You again to all of our supporters. Those that have purchased our videos and those that have come to our Schools. It means so much to us.



Understanding the Importance of Impact Location Part 2 - Spin! December 09 2015

If you’re the type of player who is looking to spin the ball more with your wedges it’s important to understand the nature of spin and how it’s best produced. A number of factors such as club quality, ball quality, interference from foreign material and impact location are all important, as you can see I am going to focus on impact location alone in this blog.

The graphic from testing using Foresight GC2 with HMT below illustrated three different impact locations with the other variables kept as similar as possible such as attack angle, delivered loft and speed (which was kept with a 2mph window). The intent was to only adjust impact location which isn’t as easy as it sounds without adjusting those other variables!

As you’ll quickly notice the shot with the most spin came from the lowest impact location and the shot with the least spin came from the highest which was pretty much the C.O.G of the club head. The differences are significant and important to comprehend so here we go!

There are two key spin generating factors that rely on impact location, the first being vertical gearing. Gear effect as a phenomenon is found on all golf strikes, whether it be a driver when it’s at it’s most severe or a wedge and it’s the vertical gearing that enhances the interaction between club face and ball. You’ll see that despite the highest spinning shot also having the highest delivered loft it had the lowest launch, this in part due to the vertical gearing which pulls the flight down and it works more effectively with the cover of the ball. The second and perhaps lesser know factor at play here is the attack angle, you might wonder where this is going but stay with me.

The attack angle on shots hit below the C.O.G of the club head is likely to change DURING the impact interval, in this low face contact instance it dives further downwards thus adding to the downward pull of the club face against the ball cover thereby increasing spin even more.

So now you know why low impact location increases spin how should you go about achieving it? First of all lets address something crucial to low impact location and that is the lie of the ball, if it’s sitting on hard pan low impact is unavoidable, you couple that with zero interference from the grass (as there isn’t any) and you have a perfect storm for spin. Problem is that’s hard pan and you probably don’t get to hit off it that often. The main issue when grass is introduced to the equation is the space you now have underneath the golf ball, the more space you have the harder low face contact becomes. As always you have choices as to how to try and get it right. The first is to look for a more level attack angle, you could either do this by raising the butt of the club into impact thereby canceling out the downward trajectory of the club head. Alternatively you could release the shaft to somewhere near vertical by impact, this is ensuring both a level attack and no low dynamic loft. The main problem that a more level attack angle produces is that of increased interference between club and ball so all that hard work to lower the impact location is quite easily undone by friction killing grass! So what’s a player to do? My preferred option is to keep enough downwards in the attack angle to reduce interference and release the shaft fast, there are many keys to doing this successfully though… maybe enough for another blog post.

If you're interested in learning more why not join us for am exclusive seminar at Lake Nona on January 26th or take advantage of the Wedge Game 2.0 Pre-sale. Here's to great wedges!

Understanding the importance of Impact location November 22 2015

I often repeat that the key to good wedge play at it’s core is controlling Spin Loft and still believe that to be so, this is because so many other factors that influence how your golf ball behaves fall under the umbrella of Spin Loft. Impact Location is one of these variables, let me explain briefly why it falls under the Spin Loft umbrella and then we’ll move on to just how crucial it is to hitting great wedges. Impact location is a product of a few things such as attack angle, dynamic loft and the type of lie the ball finds itself in. You’ll notice that the first two factors are a basic definition of Spin Loft. Dynamic loft defines some limits to where on the face impact can occur, attack angle and lie conspire to define exactly where within those limits impact finally occurs.

So let’s talk about the effects of impact location and how significant these can be, particularly the vertical component of it. I’ve taken data from a couple of shots during a recent practice using Foresight’s GC2 with HMT and put them into the graphic below to illustrate a couple of important points.

Firstly let me draw your attention to the club delivery differences between shots A & B, shot B has a slightly steeper attack angle and a little less dynamic loft. This should add up to a lower launch angle but as you can see the launch is in fact 1.6º higher with the less lofted and steeper attack. This is entirely down to the impact location moving 6mm lower on shot A, impact location has over powered the combination of attack angle and loft when it came to creating the launch.

So what use is this to us? It should assist us with choosing the best method to create the slightly lower impact location that will produce lower flights and more spin (did you notice the difference in spin rate?) 

As a simple guide, more shaft lean (lower dynamic loft) will move impact location up and a steeper attack angle will do the same. So if you wanted the lowest impact location you would be best served with minimal shaft lean (high loft) and a shallow attack angle, these tend to go hand in hand so are relatively easy to achieve as long as you can control the bottom of what would be a fairly sharp arc. You can of course choose different combination to control either factor and that’s ok too, so long as you understand the implications and risks/benefits of doing so.

As mentioned the lie will have an influence on impact location and the flight it creates, firmer = lower, softer = higher. Be sure to bear this in mind when selecting the trajectory of the shot you want to play.

If you liked this and would like to learn more about the great wedge shots why not join us at Lake Nona for our PGA Show week short game seminar, find more details here and keep an eye out for my new wedge game videos due in December.


Can you teach a new dog old tricks? November 09 2015

There’s a conversation a few months back that bothered me. It came after spending some time with another instructors pupils working on their wedge games. Now this is relatively new territory for me bearing in mind that an instructor would never ever allow another to teach their pupil full swing knowingly and even invite them to do it.

The conversation I refer to wasn’t really that much of a conversation, more of a collection of comments that started to bug me later on. The comments centered around the instance of a player who was struggling to even make decent contact with the ball and the thought that I was attempting to provide “tour player” instruction to someone with the skill level of a novice.

The assumption must have been that the ideas were too sophisticated and not applicable to a player at that stage in their development. For me it was an incorrect assumption. The reason it was incorrect is that anything I do revolves around finding function and I’m confident enough in my system of doing things that I don’t feel the need to have a special approach for anybody. If the motion is always going to be a balancing act of components that can either match up or not then why would anyone veer away from that just because someone is struggling (and would no matter what you do)? The whole point in having a system to find functional is that you are giving the player the best possible chance of success! The level of the player is totally insignificant!   

Admittedly the goal with the end product might be different but the process is identical. For example, the player who is struggling to get the sweetspot within the same postcode as the ball versus the player who is trying to deliver the club with the optimal spin loft for them could feasibly have exactly the same mismatches but the latter has a skill level that can over ride the issues and deliver the sweetspot to the ball in a sub optimal manner. Should I then approach the lesser skilled player with a totally different philosophy? Do I get them standing on one leg with a ton of shaft lean and have them punch balls out low with contact but no control? Is that going to be satisfactory for them? It wouldn’t be for me.

Going back to the original comments, teaching a hacker to pitch it like a tour pro… even if that were the case (which I hope you can see it isn’t now) would that be so bad? It’s become clear that good wedge shots really share a lot of the same characteristics and the variance in how the ball is launched is actually relatively small, why would you not teach someone towards that goal? Surely anywhere else is going to be limiting but hey they can really hit that ball with a wedge…

Do I teach everyone the same thing? Yes. Except no. I understand where functional lies for a multitude of different styles, if my way of finding that functionality is consistent then I do teach the same thing. If I deliver it with a variety of thoughts, feels and challenges to create better wedge games entirely tailored to the individual then no, I don’t teach the same thing to anyone.

Removing the barriers to performance shouldn’t be skill dependent, from tour player to relative beginner.

If you want to learn more about our information why not try our video set covering the entire short game here 

Coming soon: How skilled players can make poorly matched components work but may suffer as a result


5 "Secrets" from Coaching on Tour November 03 2015

As we approach the beginning of the new calendar year, I thought it would be a good time to share with everyone some "secrets" from my time out on tour this year. I'm sure for many of you these will not seem that surprising but I hope you will find it interesting.

1) Professional Golfers are just as neurotic as your club players. When I say this, I mean they are trying things, lots of things, to get better. Standing on the range at a tour event sounds nearly the same as standing on the range at your member-guest or any junior event. Some have headphones in, some are talking about cars and girls, some are telling stories and jokes and some are talking golf. That last group, is talking about grip changes, new clubs they are trying, swing thoughts and the like. It's the same stuff. I found it quite amusing listening to the stories and the golf talk and it made me very comfortable. The difference is in their talent and ability. These players are just better.

2) Time flies by. This one was a big surprise to me. Going to events and being part of practice rounds, pro ams and then tournament days gave me an insight into how little time players really have to spend with their family or "work" on their game. Include in this fitness time, interviews and other sponsor responsibilities and it's just amazing how quickly the time goes. Working in this environment has helped me greatly to discover new ways to maintain or gently nudge performance in the direction we want it to go without diminishing the state of their game currently.

3) Performance rules all. The large majority of my time working with tour level players has been at tour events. It has not been back home away from tournaments. This is a very different environment than most of us have back at the range/course where we do our coaching. There are things you just shouldn't do at a tournament site that you may attempt back home. This being said doesn't change the fact that our job is to improve performance regardless of the environment we have to work in. As I mentioned in number 2, many players simply don't have time to wait to go home for a few weeks and then work on something. They are working and traveling and some will want coaching in the environment they are dealing with. The best part is, as a coach, the aesthetics of things goes away quickly as they need to shoot lower(not look better). You really get to test yourself and your ability to think on the fly in this environment. Critical thinking and a deep understanding allow for very simple ideas to flow that create that evolution from where they are now to somewhere that produces lower scores. Figuring out ways to improve performance without "working" on things has been a great puzzle for me which I thoroughly enjoy and thankfully have done well with so far.

4) Opportunity comes for visibility.  This one is less of a secret than a confirmation. What I mean by this is if you are out teaching on tour, there is a greater likelihood of players asking your opinions or thoughts than if you are not. Again, because of number 2 above, the amount of time players have to really investigate a coach is highly limited. So, just like at home, referrals play a huge role. Also, players are looking at other players. Players seem to have a general idea or history of where they stand relative to others and with which part of their games. If players see another player improving in an area they wish to improve on there's a good chance you may end up with some questions. From there, number 5 rules the day.

5) Performance improvement builds loyalty. This is where the rubber meets the road. Coaching on tour is inherently a short run gig. There are many reasons for this like time, the ebb and flow of golf, personality differences, etc. But, if you produce increased performance, you will have the best chance for sustained relationships on tour. I've mentioned this in other seminars but for me, I need to be me to produce my best. I used to have this idea that I needed to be someone else when working with high level players. That didn't work for me. If I was more me, I never had to worry about dropping my guard or saying the "wrong" thing because I was acting. I love knowledge and understanding. I mean I love it. Imparting ideas that increase performance is what it's all about. It's not about being right or wrong.

James and I have been lucky enough to have the opportunity to work with some of the best golfers in the world. Our goal at Short Game Secrets is to help players and coaches in this area by informing you what the best players are actually doing. Then it's about helping players improve. In my case, putting is really varied in terms of how the best players are doing it. Trying to find a model for everyone is absolute folly. That being said, we know what has to happen for putts to go in. We know what the pieces of the puzzle are. Our videos are designed to help you understand those pieces and all the ways they can go together and ways they generally shouldn't. I hope you enjoyed this post and please take advantage of our anniversary sale. It includes our original 5 video(download) set and 2 bonus videos for the price of $99.99.

Click here to purchase --> Anniversary Sale

Is the Wedge Game as easy as we think? October 07 2015

It’s fair to say that with the advent of some terrific technology we know more about the game of golf than we ever have before, we understand how to make the game easier but we also now know just how difficult it really is to advance a small round ball from A to B. If you ever want to look at the game in the same way you might want to stop reading here, alternatively if you want to realise that perfection is unattainable and we merely do the best we can then read on!

The hardest club to hit straight in the bag is driver, it’s the longest club, it has the least loft and we attempt to hit it as far as possible the majority of the time. The margin for error is incredibly small, a dimple off centre with your contact? Good luck hitting a fairway at 250 if you aim down the middle. A face a couple of degrees open or closed to the path? You’re going to miss it at 250. A combination of both errors? It could work for you or massively against you. 

It’s not easy.

Wedges are easy though right? They have the most loft and the shortest shaft, it’s kind of hard to curve a wedge shot so it must be easier. Except it isn’t. It’s just different. You see with a driver we’re really working in the horizontal or X-axis. We measure face to path relationship horizontally, we really only concern ourselves with non centered strikes horizontally because at the end of the day we’re not really worried about exactly how far it carries but where it comes to rest laterally.

Wedges however are the complete opposite. That extra loft and shorter shaft mean it’s easier to have a pretty good dispersion laterally but we need to be more concerned with the vertical or Y-axis as it's really a game of distance control. How the Attack Angle and Dynamic Loft are delivered to the ball, how the centeredness of contact is vertically. These are the crucial factors to hit the ball the correct distance besides speed of delivery. If you get these wrong you can forget about putting for birdie and hope you don’t 3 putt if it really goes wrong.

It can’t be that hard though right? I mean how much error could it possibly make? A few degrees here, a bit steeper there or a little higher on the face…

Well let me show you.

These pictures are part of my current presentation on the wedge game and they illustrate proximity errors. All but one have been given something like perfect speed for the distance we were shooting for, the only other errors are loft, or more accurately ‘spin loft’. A little off with attack angle, slightly off with dynamic loft, a little off with face to path. Any or all could easily conspire to make a 4º spin loft error, it’s not hard.

As you can see the chances of making the next putt get low really fast for a PGA Tour quality putter, nevermind a weekend warrior. It fast reaches the point where if you combine a speed error and loft error you’re missing greens by significant distances. 

The problem is that speed generally takes the blame. It’s true that speed error is often a contributing factor but I wouldn’t place it at the top. It’s a close run thing between speed and smash factor. Why did I only use the term smash factor now? Well your delivered spin loft is pretty much the same thing, minus impact location.

Turns out hitting great wedge shots is hard. You’re never going to be perfect but with a little understanding you can increase the predictability substantially. Remember, long shots are a game of horizontal errors, short shots are all about the vertical.

If you want to hear a little more why not visit my video vault on my website, you’ll find the PGA Summit presentation there which will not only explain the problems but also what you can do about them.





How to generate more spin around the greens April 29 2015

During a day working with a few professionals in Denmark last week I was fortunate enough to capture a perfect example of how to improve spin rate around the greens. It required a club selection change, a technical change and a bucketload of faith in what I was suggesting as it defied convention and superficial logic.

I use the term superficial logic because it seems prevalent in the game of golf and is often to our detriment. When thought goes a little deeper into our actions and choices you can often supersede that flawed logic with better solutions, yes it requires more thinking and perhaps a better depth of knowledge but once you break the cycle of weak thinking improvement is almost unavoidable. As players and coaches we need to remove our blinkers once in a while and really think things through, putting the wisdom we have garnered over years of experience to one side and taking a fresh look.

I am extremely cynical about everything, it spills over into my everyday life (which sometimes isn't helpful) so I'm always asking 'why' and 'what if', if the answers aren't satisfactory then I keep digging, and so should you (yes I just used an Oxford comma). So take a look at the case study video, it might help and it might not, one size can't fit all remember.

Click here to view if video player isn't visible

If you want to know more about the secrets to take your short game to the highest level why not buy our video set, currently 7 videos for just $99!

Tiger Woods has/had THE YIPS!!! April 11 2015

Tiger has THE YIPS

 At least that’s what we’ve been led to believe over the last couple of months from a number of sources, these quotes below are simply from the first page of a google search for “Tiger Yips”. You’d be forgiven for believing it, after all we’ve seen shots most unlike one the greatest scramblers the game has ever seen, thins, fats and all sorts in between. 

Bill Harmon, brother of Tiger’s former coach Butch, told me this: “[Tiger] does have the chipping yips. I also think he has the yips with the driver. Fear will make anyone ordinary. When a golfer is unsure of and fears impact around the greens it’s a totally different game.”

“Let's be serious. Tiger Woods has the yips.

It doesn't have anything to do with Tiger's new swing consultant, Chris Como, and what they're working on in his full swing. It isn't because the fixes in his long game are leaking into his chipping. It isn't a mechanical flaw. It isn't pressure.

It's the yips.” Hank Haney

“Tiger Woods has the yips. Woods has done a lot of astounding things in his career, but the past two days at the Phoenix Open were as startling as anything we've ever seen from the 14-time major winner. Tiger simply couldn't hit a chip shot or pitch shot onto the green. It's one of the more basic aspects of the game and an area every PGA Tour-caliber player has mastered. It was sad, uncomfortable, and amazing to watch from perhaps the greatest player of all time.”

“Hi, my name is Robert Damron, and I have the yips.

Phew, there ... I said it.  Admitting you have a problem is the first step to getting better.

And believe it or not, I know a few guys with the same atrocious condition. You've probably heard of one of them. His name is Tiger Woods. He shows all the symptoms of my affliction even though he hasn't been formally diagnosed.”

Being fairly stringent and anal on definitions labelling Tiger with the yips is fundamentally flawed from the outset in my opinion, for me the yips are a neurological condition, focal dystonia. Psychological issues on these more delicate shots probably shouldn’t be labelled as the yips as the majority of the time they are not. But that is merely my opinion of the yips and I digress.

The psychological issues we see fairly commonly are almost certainly rooted in a technical malfunction, at some point the player has attempted to play some shots with a chronically mismatched set of components in their action and attempted to compensate in one way or another. This has then led to the psychological barriers that make the shots in question unbearable. This then requires a greater fix than technical alone as it’s become part of the mind game, therefore it’s not technical... or is it? Of course it is, just because it has become deep rooted in the mind doesn’t mean it’s no longer technical, it’s both.

So what should you do? Identify or have someone with the skills identify what is off, believe me it’s obvious when you know what you’re looking for. Once identified the mind needs to be distracted or the focus taken away from the mental mountain they have created. This dual approach almost always gets it done.

Back to Tiger for a moment though, you don’t hit shots like Tiger did on the 11th on Thursday if you have the yips by anyone’s definition. To create that much speed, that kind of contact and associated spin just wouldn’t happen. It needed a late release point and for the arc to be short on the followthrough, the bottom of the arc would have had a very sharp radius, about as non-flatspot as you could get, it needed to be precise. It was a thing of beauty. A yipper would have kept the shaft leaning forward, sharpened the leading edge and reduced the spin loft to a point where the ball would have just shot through. Poor short game technique pushes players towards the vicious cycle of comfort and flawed logic when attempting to prevent poor shots, it never gets fixed that way, what seems counter intuitive to most is usually what is really needed.

Here it is for your viewing pleasure, like I mentioned on Twitter a few days ago while sharing a superb video of his practice session you can hit all the creative shots from the right kind of delivery and also get quite a generous margin for error.



Short Game Secrets - Year in Review 2014 December 09 2014


It's amazing to me what has happened in the last year. So many interesting events and opportunities for us beginning with the main one being the release of our Short Game Secrets 5 video set. James and I have known each other for a very long time. In fact he was one of the very first people I ever interacted with when I started to investigate this brave new word of internet golf forums.

We've talked back and forth about many subjects. We will use each other as a sounding board as we look at things very similarly and our thirst for knowledge is quite strong. One day, James decided it was time to do something instead of just learn about something. From that single conversation came Short Game Secrets. The success of the video series inspired us to add more videos and continue our research in this specific direction.

Early in 2014, we offered our first Short Game Secrets school. This lead to another and another as our product lines grew and the feedback from the series fueled us. Over the summer, we met for a few days in England where we started some 3d collection of different wedge shots and putting strokes. It was a great opportunity for us to test some ideas and search for information to make our products better.

From this research, James was able to really advance his own personal understanding of the wedge game and why the different variations we see work. This advancement was discussed during a 3 day seminar in Denmark by James which was received very well. I began working with some players on the US PGA Tour utilizing some of the exact same information provided in our video set along with some newly added stuff.

Next up for us was a three day trip to Seoul, Korea. Short Game Secrets provided 2 days of teacher training on how to analyze and coach the short game. A third day was used to teach actual players in a group setting so the teachers could see how to apply what we had talked about. It was an amazing trip and we met so many new friends. Look forward to going back some time in the future. Keep your eye on Goya Advanced Golf as they strive to bring great instruction to Korea.
Shortly after that event, a very well know American instructor (Mike Adams) did a seminar in Denmark and was informed about the great 3 day seminar James had provided. After hearing about the quality of the seminar, Mike put the wheels in motion leading to James being asked to speak at the US National Coaching and Teaching summit.

2015 looks to be a very promising year with more schools and workshops already planned.  If you are interested in hosting us for your PGA Section talk please let us know. It's easiest to reach us by email

Finally, thank you to everyone for their support in our endeavor and we look forward to providing the best short game information around. As we mentioned in our first video set, we aren't looking to provide safe information. Our goal is to provide the best information and then show you how to both perform it and instruct it.

Wedge Game Wizardry August 09 2014

The Application of our 3D Research - A case study

Perhaps the most exciting thing about the research study I’m currently undertaking is the practical application of it, here is a case study of a recent pitching lesson which yielded phenomenal results fast.

Issue: Direction and Distance Control

The inability to control distance can be attributed to 3 factors; Face Angle, Shaft Lean & Speed. Strike is a given. This particular player really struggled with directional control primarily which led to difficulty controlling distance.

In all golf shots the club needs to return to the ball after being swung on an incline of some sort, in the wedge game as well as the full swing there are a multitude of ways to make the clubhead move down, out and forwards. All are somewhat unique yet there are enough commonalities to classify these into different ‘styles’.

This players style required a high amount of lead arm rotation to move the clubhead outwards enough to hit the golf ball, this isn’t an issue for me and I wouldn’t attempt to directly change it, especially if it fits in with full swing traits. The problem to be aware of with this style is that the arc the clubhead travels on will be sharper i.e the clubhead path will be changing at a higher rate than other models.

The real problem here though was where the required lead arm rotation came from, as you’ll see in the picture below the lead hand is in a very similar position to address yet the lead elbow isn’t even close. The player is getting the rotation from the lower forearm/wrist and is proving uncontrollable.

I set out to alter the address alignments, bringing the lower forearm and elbow joints into closer but not identical alignment and asked him to think of them as more of a unit. The result of this was a slightly steeper plane angle, which by nature requires a little less lead arm rotation, an added bonus. The first half a dozen balls were small pushes, not a surprise as the lower forearm was much quieter. This then enabled me to increase the amount of shoulder turn on the downswing and straighten out the path that way, more desirable than relying on lead wrist.

Once we had the direction under control we set about reducing the smash factor to somewhere between 1.00 & 1.10, a combination of club choice and club path brought this down nicely and improved the consistency of the smash. Suddenly we had control of both distance and direction.

In summary we identified the players wedge style, the inefficiency in how it was used and fine tuned it into something that worked. Suddenly the magic numbers were far easier to find.

Short Game Secrets UK Seminar - Monday 21st July - Cumberwell Park July 02 2014

An exciting opportunity to learn from both founders of the highly successful Short Game Secrets video series this one day seminar will cover:

The Wedge Game: Learn from 3D, Ball & Club Data of the very best wedge players in the world. Optimise club delivery and use the clubs design to the players advantage. Find out what is compatible and incompatible in the world of wedge play, how to generate the most spin, most consistency and control over the golf ball.

Green Reading: Learn the ultimate step by step approach on how to read a putt as accurately and quickly as possible. John was one of the first AimPoint Certified Instructors in the world and has taught the system in over 10 countries across the world and to high level players like Charles Howell III and Edoardo Molinari

Putting: Learn how to quickly and positively effect aim and stroke by understanding and using putter design. This fascinating field of study can dramatically change your approach to equipment selection and coaching will accelerate the progress you can expect from pupils significantly. 

Short Game Performance: Learn how to utilise the best metrics to assess and drive the improvement process in the short game. Are all statistics created equally? If not what's best to use and how do we use it?

Practice: Numerous drills, games and practice routines as used by the most elite players. Be sure to bring your clubs along as one of the main goals of this seminar will be practical application that you can add to your coaching toolbox.

Located at the finest short game facility in the UK in Cumberwell Park we look forward to revolutionising the way you see the short game and how to improve it. Class goes from 10-5. Bring you, your clubs and a notepad.



Cost: £200 including lunch, drinks and all learning materials.




Cost for Dying the Ball in the Hole June 13 2014

At Short Game Secrets, we understand that putting is a multiple solution problem. For each situation, the player needs to come up with a solution they think is correct and that they can do. Because there are multiple solutions, there be some benefit and cost for each solution chosen.


Here's a quick little video talking about one of the costs of trying to die your putts in the hole.

Hope you enjoy it and please consider sharing using the buttons below.



Mobile users click this link---->



Short Game Secrets 5 Video Set US Open Sale and Contest June 03 2014

Short Game Secrets is happy to announce another Major Championship discount on our popular 5 video set. From now until the first day of the 2014 US Open, the sale price for the 5 video set will be $99.99. This video set has recently been featured by Today's Golfer, one of the UK's top golf instruction magazines.
Along with this sale, we decided to give you chance to win the set for free. After purchasing, you'll be able to vote for a player to win the 2014 US Open and if they win, you'll receive the full purchase back as a refund. Over 3 hours of top quality short game instruction possibly for free.
To receive the $99.99 price you'll need to enter the discount code USOpen14 during check out.

Click here to purchase your set and enter to win it for free.

We hope everyones season is off to a great start and please keep that feedback coming. We love hearing from you. Tell us how your stats have been improving and scores dropping. As always, we will continue to bring you cutting edge information and videos.

Best of luck to everyone. Choose wisely.

JG and JR

Can You Buy That Elusive 30º Launch Angle with a Sand Wedge? June 02 2014

Short Game Secrets would like to try and answer this question along with some others. How much of a role does technique play on creating that low launching, high spin shot?

One of the concerns mentioned by coaches is whether or not the low launching wedge shot is a better alternative for the club player than a higher launching shot with a steeper landing angle to stop the ball. It's a fair question and one that should be looked at seriously. Recently, information has been presented to suggest that the higher shot would stop the ball faster than the lower shot and we thought we would do a similar test to see what we could find out.

Our results didn't match as our data suggested that the lower launching shot stopped closer to the landing point than the higher one. This test is described in the video below but while we were testing for that, we found something we felt was even more interesting.

In our data, we really struggled to get the ball to launch high regardless of the technique (while not rotating the face open). A square face at address with forward ball position and fast overtaking rates couldn't produce a higher launch assuming a good strike. It required us to put something on the face to get a higher launch.

This got us thinking. Is the 30º launch something that just happens with a new premium wedge, premium ball, tight lie and adequate technique or did it require something special? How important is the lie to the final launch conditions and thusly the final outcome?

This short little video attempts to touch on these subjects. Hope you enjoy it and please feel free to share it around.

Mobile users: Click Here-----> Can You Buy That Elusive 30º Launch Angle with a Sand Wedge?


The Ball that should change the market FOREVER May 15 2014

I recently posted a blog entitled "The Premium Balls Test" that included a video discussing the results of 6 premium balls tested against one another to determine if there really is a difference between the balls we are convinced to spend hard earned money on, if you'd like to refresh your memory on what happened you can view it here

This generated a lot of interest and I promised that by mid May I would reveal the wildcard ball that is not in the premium ball price range yet outperformed almost all of them.

So here we are, it's mid May!

And the surprise package is.... TaylorMade Project (a)

TaylorMade Project (a) - UK Website

TaylorMade Project (a) - US Website

So TaylorMade have produced a ball that is long off the tee & very soft around the greens, in fact they have produced a ball that should shake up the premium ball market forever and here's why..

I'm not sure why anyone would choose the more expensive balls (even from the same manufacturer) when this is available at almost half the price, what reason could there possibly be besides ego? Remind yourself when you next buy balls that this game is ALL about performance and this ball out performs the majority, if however you derive confidence from playing a more expensive ball then that is also going to enhance performance so that might be the way for you.

Just do me a favour and try these balls out, would love to hear your thoughts (you might even thank me!).


Wedges: Path, Smash Factor & Spin Rate - A Pilot Study May 12 2014

Is there a best trajectory and curve for a wedge shot?

Which one spins most?

Which one is more accurate?

These are very popular questions. At Short Game Secrets, we strive to present information as clearly and factually as we can. There's a lot of great information being shared in the world of golf currently, particularly about the wedge game. A good mixture of the purely theoretical and the practical but there is little consensus about this very complex field. One thing that is clear is that occasionally the theoretical and the practical do not match up. The only way to clarify what is really happening is constant measuring and testing but with equipment shortcomings even that has it's own issues.

This video aims to address the concept that a wedge shot hit with a draw spin axis will spin more than one hit with a fade spin axis or a straight shot. The results are not conclusive as it's only one player's data and this topic really comes down to the individuals tendencies which likely have an effect on which spin axis produces the most spin and or consistency.

We believe that putting and wedge play information needs to be individualized whenever possible which is why we present our ideas in a way to cover different players patterns and tendencies instead of blanket statements or ideas to be applied by everyone.


We're looking forward to having more players conduct this test to gain a more comprehensive understanding but for now have a look at the video and let us know your thoughts.

Common Advice - Not Always Right Advice May 10 2014

Just wanted to share with everyone a little video case study on green side scrambling from James Ridyard. Very often, the common advice given to students to help with their chipping can have poor side effects that aren't explained to the player.

This video shows a comparison between the common advice given and advice given to produce more options than the normal stuff you might see in a magazine tip.


Hope you enjoy it.



The Premium Ball Test April 22 2014

Attention Golf Consumers:


As a player, I've long wondered whether or not there are any significant differences between premium golf balls around the green. Certainly, there are differences off the tee but what happens when the shots become shorter and impact is less explosive? Does the technology that costs millions pay off for you the golfer? 

I decided to make a short video to show you the differences I found amongst a small group of premium golf balls (in the $40, £40/dozen price range and higher). The conclusions I drew are easily understandable and will hopefully make a difference to your ball selection so you get the most out of your game going forward.

Are you really getting what you are paying for and can a better more informed decision be made that best fits your needs and preferences. Most importantly, for some of you, can I get premium performance without the premium price. This video will provide some information to help answer these questions. We can't give you the names of the golf balls just yet but take a look and see what we have to share then stay tuned for the final answer coming later in May.

At Short Game Secrets, our mission is to provide you with the information you may not find anywhere else and help you, the player and consumer, get the most of your time and hard earned money.

Click Here to view on mobile

The Greatest Short Game Shots of All Time - Part One April 20 2014

We recently asked on Twitter what our followers thought was the best short game shot of all time. Here in Part One of a new series we take a look at Tiger Woods' incredible hole out from behind the 16th green at Memorial, it was truly spectacular and an extremely good example of using your set up to improve the probability of a good result. Something we here at Short Game Secrets place a lot of stock in, we hope you enjoy it and maybe let us know your favourite shot of all time.

Greatest Short Game Shots of All Time - Tiger Woods



Club Face Direction in Wedge Play March 13 2014



Just wanted to share with you a video and picture that you need to have a good understanding of to truly understand what happens to the club face when changing it's shape during wedge play. There have been many discussions in the past about what opening the face does to the direction of the ball.

It's important to us that you have a full and deep understanding of the 3 dimensional ramifications and how to use them to your advantage. If you've purchased our 5 video set, some of this will sound familiar.




Hope you enjoy these and don't forget, our Short Game Secrets Drills and Games Video will be released March 18th and we have extended the sale price till March 25th.





Drills and Games - New Short Game Secrets Video February 28 2014



We are proud to announce that our 2nd video - Short Game Secrets Drills and Games - has finished shooting and is currently in editing. This video, as the title suggests, will give about 20 drills and games for making more putts and about 20 more for wedge play.

Nearly 40 drills and games James and I have chosen to show you that we use in our own teaching of every level of player.  These drills are designed to improve the quality of your outcomes, not necessarily just drills on technique. James and I are comfortable knowing that the short game is a problem with multiple solutions and technique change could need to be very personal. These drills will touch on technique but most are geared toward measuring your current techniques ability to perform and score a set of tasks.

The putting drills cover the putting skills of targeting, touch and start line. Technique and games that require different types of makes to play are also included to help a player visualize more than one way to make a putt.

The wedge drills cover the wedge play skills of spin control, trajectory control, and distance control. Just like the putting drills, the wedge play drills will touch on technique but they're focused on making your practice time more fun and productive.

Pre-order sale pricing of $19.99 starts today and goes till March 17, 2014 at 30% off the normal price and can be purchased here:

Video should be ready to download in 2-3 weeks and links will be emailed out once available.

Stay tuned for an upcoming trailer in the next few days.

Masters of the Wedge Game 2012 January 21 2014

Who has the best wedge game on tour? I don’t think many people would look past Tiger as having the best wedge game on the PGA Tour yet in 2012 Tiger was officially average on all shots up to 100 yards from both sand and grass. In fact, he was average in all the sub categories also, barely gaining or losing any strokes to the average PGA Tour player performance in these categories.


Wedge play has been separated into 5 categories; 0-20 yards, 20-60 yards, 60-100 yards and sand shots from 0-50 yards & 50-100 yards. In the video accompanying this blog I've taken a look at the leaders in the three 'from grass' categories to identify a few points that enable them to have led their respective categories, I think you'll see that the styles are very different and lend themselves to a particular type of shot which offers a partial explanation as to why they excel in some areas yet struggle in others.

The leaders of the 5 categories were:

0-20 yards: Charlie Wi

 20-60 yards: Trevor Immelman

60-100 yards: Brian Gay

Sand 0-50: Chris DiMarco

Sand 50-100: Sung Kang

I hope you enjoy the video

Masters of the Wedge Game Video