My Golf Instructor

Get Answers To Your Golf Questions From a Top 50 Instructor

Sign up for the Ask Maria Featured Question of the Day
By clicking Sign Up, you agree to our Terms of Use and our Privacy Policy.

Today's Featured Question:

My short game, putts and <100 are probably the most consistent part of my game, yet still not very consistent. I understand the "each shot is the most important" mentality. I'm just looking for any tip to "feel" it and keep that focus (without having $100 on the line!).
--Ryan L. from Waterloo, IL

Thanks for the question Ryan. I'm assuming when you say "each shot is the most important" that you mean all shots are equally important as you need to have a full arsenal of shots to be able to shoot low scores. I would also add that the shot at hand, the one in front of you is always the most important, so mentally we need to stay in the present.

I'm not sure by your question if you are asking for a mental tip when you say feel or a physical tip, so I will try to answer both.

Physically, the best way to develop good feel in your short game is through 1) practice and 2) pre-shot routine. If you put in enough time on practice, you WILL develop feel. Next your pre-shot routine needs to consist of a good visualization of the shot including the trajectory you want on the shot, where you want it to land and how you want the ball to release. Once you have a good mental picture of the shot, your practice swings should be realistic and mimic the swing you feel you need to put on the ball to get your desired result. Above all, make sure to keep your routine consistent from shot to shot and day to day.

Mentally...adding to what I wrote above about pre-shot routine which is both mental and physical, I find that when I'm the best with my short game things feel light, smooth and slow. What I mean by that is I feel tension free and like I"m not rushing anything. When you get quick you get jerky and accelerate at the wrong points in your swing. Whether it's a putt or a pitch, try feeling light and relaxed and like the downswing feels a bit slower than usual with gradual acceleration. It helps to visualize your favorite player and try to mimic how smooth, balanced and professional they look.

I hope this answers your question Ryan. Best of luck and thanks for signing up with Be sure to check out our short game and mental game articles and videos for further help with your short game.


Other Related Tips on Mental Game
Who is Maria Palozola?
- Top 50 LPGA Instructors in the World
- A Golf Digest Top 10 Teacher in Illinois
- A Golf Magazine Top Teacher in the Midwest

All Student Questions

Golf Questions by Category

Latest Video Responses

How long will it take for golf fitness drills to make a difference in my golf swing? Will I notice better distance or more accuracy first?
In Golf Fitness Tips. Mar 12.
What is the most common injury in golf and how can it be prevented?
In Golf Fitness Tips. Feb 19.
My putts seem to go right of the hole most of the time..........what am I doing?
In Putting Tips. Asked by Mary R. Feb 11.
What is the difference between being in good shape and being in good golf shape? I"m thin and consider myself fit as I run and workout, but does it need to be golf specific?
In Golf Fitness Tips. Feb 5.
I need to get my swing more consistent. Also, I need to learn how to read greens correctly. Thanks in advance.
In Putting Tips. Asked by Andre R. Jan 29.
How can I hit low flighted, high spinning pitches with little to no divot? Higher pitches with medium spin are no problem for me. So I have my basic pitch shot.
In Chipping Tips. Asked by Marc C. Jan 21.
I am inconsistent with my chips and short pitches. Can you offer suggestions?
In Chipping Tips. Asked by James N. Dec 19.
What is the most important muscle for power in the swing?
In Golf Fitness Tips. Nov 21.
I have trouble with bunker shots around the green where I have to carry the ball a long distance. What is your advice?
In Bunker Tips. Asked by Mike C. Nov 14.
I have a problem with bunkers. I hit fat shots.
In Bunker Tips. Asked by Mike D. Oct 21.
I've been having trouble lately with hitting my intermediate range pitches heavy (25-100 yard). I suspect an early release is the problem. Any tips or drills to create more consistency in this part of my game? Wyatt BoothRaleigh, NC
In Chipping Tips. Asked by Wyatt B. Oct 3.
How do I consistently get out of green side bunker?
In Bunker Tips. Asked by Bob M. Sep 26.

Latest Answers

Who is Maria Palozola?
- Top 50 LPGA Instructors in the World
- A Golf Digest Top 10 Teacher in Illinois
- A Golf Magazine Top Teacher in the Midwest
- More about Maria
- Golf Questions
Golf instruction made simple
Golf Overview
Overall Game
- Getting Started
- Equipment
- Golf Fitness
- Junior Golf
- Mental Game
- Practice
- Rules of Golf
Short Game
- Bunkers
- Chipping
- Pitching
- Putting
Full Swing
- Pre-Swing Fundamentals
- Shot Making
- Diagnosing Problems
- Driving
- Hybrids and Woods
- Irons
Playing Golf
Ball Striking
- Fitness (78)
- Course Management (82)
- Getting Started in Golf (75)
- Practice (66)
Course Management
- Club Selection (66)
- Equipment (107)
- Driving (68)
- Putting (127)
- Golf Rules (69)
Short Game
- Bump and Run (72)
- Chipping (82)
Ball Striking
- Chunking (79)
- Distance Control (86)
- Fat Shots (92)
- Flipping (48)
- Poor Accuracy (118)
- Slicing (48)
- Thin Shots (85)
- Topped Shots (52)
- Lack of Distance (108)
- Putting Accuracy (72)
Swing Plane
- Blocking (50)
- Inside Out (56)
- Outside In (59)
- Over the Top (49)
- Pulling (54)
- Pushing (66)
- Releasing Early (47)
The Swing
- Grip (65)
- Alignment (55)
- Balance (50)
- Ball Position (80)
- Posture (77)
- Setup (117)
Swing Plane
- Backswing (84)
- Controlling Trajectory (47)
- Divot (48)
- Downswing (67)
- Impact (103)
- On Plane (85)
- Path (84)
- Power (71)
- Shaft Plane (63)
- Swing Plane (112)
- Weight Shift (79)