YOU should have had a great few weeks for building confidence, with the golf ball flying further with the warmer air and running a long way with the hard ground conditions.

Some of you may have realised how difficult it is to control the ball and a bounce of line can make us wonder how you can stop your shots rolling off the putting surfaces, sometimes into trouble. Unfortunately, the results of even some well-judged shots can take an awkward bounce and put you in a difficult position, and miss the green in regulation.

This is where a simple but effective short game can come into force and make a big difference.

The amount of shots saved around the greens can change your scorecard much more over a round than anywhere else on the golf course; a few good tee shots will make you feel better but won’t necessarily change your tally.

Cleaning up your clubs from time to time will help control and, if you have practised, you might find the club head grooves dirty or full of sand. Your grips maybe needed a warm water scrub to get the rubber back to feeling tacky.

You may not think this is very important but your ball will react better to a clean face and your hands will certainly send a message of comfort to your head. If they have a good, soft-feeling grip on the club then light pressure is ample to control the movements.

Each of your short clubs have more than just one same ball height and same ball distance built into them.

A full gentle action can produce a simple up and down flight, whereas a more striking action with ball and turf moved afterwards will cause more lift and a more controllable spin on the ball.

It is important that you experience and practise the different shots available with the different lofted club in the bag. I can usually change my ball position and swing length to control the flight and run of the golf ball just from experience but I have always decided this beforehand.

The most important part of the shot to me is not the actual hit of the ball – which is quite simple really – but the planning and the decisions what to repeat from practice. We can make the actual movement as a practice swing but it is the making up your mind process before you hit the ball that counts.

Think about how far back and through do I need to swing this club. Where do I want this ball to land if I get it airborne? Will the ball run towards the hole and maybe go in? Or does the green make the ball run away from the hole? These are questions I spend a lot of time discussing with pupils on the course or practice green before they play, and many golfers will find that they really didn’t know the answers.

You might find holding the club further down the grip gives you a feeling of more control. Lose your glove too for all your short game challenges. I have always felt a glove to disguise some of the feel we need around the greens. If you can, concentrate on how the ball should make contact with the middle of the club face, not just the bottom edge.

This will have your hand forward a bit more at address. I can’t stress enough that a poor ball position can change everything that the club’s designed to do. We must be sure the club hits the ball first before the ground and that means being a little further back in the stance than we might think.

It’s vital for your brain, and instruction from the brain, to move certain muscles at certain times. We can’t operate if you don’t know what is required before you play. Working these things out in your head as we move will completely ruin any chance of smoothness, and probably success. We can’t process thoughts and make decisions when we are moving a golf club. Proof of this would be when if you were to have another go at the same shot that you didn’t have success with the first time, we usually complete simply and with such a high amount of success we think why I didn’t do that the first time?

Use this same brain process on the putting surfaces too. Think your movements through before setting up to play. Work out the ball’s movement and what to do if the ball misses the hole, and what direction it is going when it stops rolling.

There is much to learn over the summer but together we can master a few important steps to improve. If you always think like a good golfer, you will become a good golfer.

Next time you see a friend chipping and putting with his or her glove on then pass on my ‘feel’ tip to help.

l Is there anything you’d like to ask Chris to help improve your game? Contact 729061 or email