In this tutorial, we break down the short game technique of World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, a six-time winner on the PGA TOUR, including the 2023 PLAYERS Championship, which is the TOUR’s flagship tournament. Scottie is one of the best short-game players, if not the best, on the PGA TOUR. One of the reasons why he is so great around the greens is because he lands the ball in the area he wants to with the correct trajectory and release. He does this with great technique and feel, controlling the amount of spin or roll on a shot. Sometimes he tries to spin a shot, other times he wants it to release. He’s very good at controlling those key factors. If he has a lot of room between where he chooses to land the ball and the hole, he’ll use a less lofted club. If he needs to stop the ball more quickly, he’ll go to a more lofted club.
Assessing the Correct Shot
One of the things Scottie does different from a lot of TOUR players is he uses a variety of clubs (Photo 1) based on how far he needs to fly the ball and how far he wants it to release. He holes out a lot of chips because his ball tends to roll a lot in the last 10 feet. As it approaches the hole, it’s rolling more like a putt, as opposed to coming in with a lot of speed and check-spin.
Hence when analysing a situation, figure out where you want the ball to land, what club you need to use to land it in that area, and then how you want it to release towards the hole after it lands.
Pick the Right Club
Scottie has the vision to use anything from a straight-faced club like an eight or nine iron all the way up to a lob wedge for his chips – depending on the situation. In the final round at the 2023 PLAYERS Championship, Scottie holed out a shot from beside a bunker to a front hole location for birdie and take control of the PGA TOUR’s flagship tournament.
Instead of hitting a high flop, he gripped down on his lob wedge (Photo 2) and made a very small, short swing (Photo 3), flying the ball onto the edge of the green and letting it release towards the hole like a putt.
Scottie didn’t try to do anything fancy with his chip. He gripped down for better control and there was not a lot of wrist action (Photo 4) as he swung the club up and dropped it down on the ball with really ‘soft’ hands, a trait of all good short-game players. When the hands are ‘soft’ and you make a strike under the ball, it floats off the clubface. Conversely, if you’re stiff and rigid, the ball comes out hot and fast. Allowing the club to just fall on the ball under its own momentum gets the ball coming off softly with less spin and rolling like a putt.
Give this shot a try and I’m sure it’ll help your short game and see you holing some chip shots.
TODD ANDERSON is the Director of Instruction at the PGA TOUR Performance Center at TPC Sawgrass, home of THE PLAYERS Championship. The 2010 National PGA Teacher of the Year has seen his students amass more than 50 victories across the PGA TOUR and Korn Ferry Tour, including two FedExCup titles. He is currently rated by Golf Digest as one of the top 20 golf instructors in the United States.