At the United States Golf Academy our approach is simple. We are going to do what ever necessary to help you lower your scores. While the how and why of swing technique is important, even a perfect swing will not automatically help you shoot lower scores. Why? Because of the importance of the short game, the shots inside 100 yards, shots played around the green and putting. The fastest way to lower scores is improvement in these areas.
A basic problem in creating a short game strategy is understanding the difference and relationship between air and ground. How far should the ball fly and how far will it roll? Too many of our students consider only the distance between themselves and the hole and that is not enough. The following are some steps to follow that might help you get closer to the hole.
Does the upcoming shot require a low or high trajectory? Look at the shot and try to imagine the best way FOR YOU to get the ball close to the hole. What would the shot look like if you hit it high? What would the shot look like if you came in low? Obviously there will be some bias based on your preference or ability. Some prefer to carry the ball to the hole, some have more success playing lower shots that roll out more. ONE CHOICE IS NO BETTER THAN THE OTHER!! What matters most is you make a choice.
Once you have made a trajectory choice you must now choose the spot where you need the ball to land. This is critical. Whatever club you choose will have a ratio of air to ground. For example my 52 degree gap wedge on a level surface will roll just about as far as it flies. My pitching wedge is closer to 1/3 air to 2/3 ground and my 58 degree wedge is more like 2/3 air to 1/3 roll.
Knowing what club to play and where to land it a personal decision, so when you get a chance to practice try the following experiment. Without any target hit some shots with different clubs using the same length swing and tempo. Watch how the ball reacts. How far did it fly and how far did it roll. This will go a long way to helping you choose the right club and spot to land the ball to improve your short game.