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Victor Dubuisson explains skills around the green

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TOUR INSIDER Victor Dubuisson in action during the 2014 WGCMatch Play Championship, where he reached the final Sharpen The talented Frenchman boasts one of the best short games on the European Tour. Here, Victor Dubuisson explains how you can improve your skills around the green. AFP 36 HK GOLFER・MAY 2016 Game HKGOLFER.COM HKGOLFER.COM HK GOLFER・MAY 2016 37 Your Short

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hen I was younger, I think I probably spent about 80 per cent of my time chipping. I just loved being around the greens. I didn’t really spend any time on the driving range – I either went out on the course or spent my time on the chipping green, because I enjoyed it. I think people underestimate how much time you need to spend on your short game if you want it to be really good. W “In terms of visualising the shot, it’s just experience and practice. You should have a set routine and make sure you keep things as simple as possible.” game. Most people just use a standard sand wedge from their set. If they had a fitting, the fitter would be able to give them the loft and bounce they need for their technique, without having to change the way they chip, which makes it a lot easier. The Frenchman, who enjoyed a magnificent Ryder Cup debut at Gleneagles two years ago, is currently ranked No. 50 in the world rankings Developing Feel The only way to become comfortable with your chipping and develop feel is to practice those difficult shots you’ll find on the course. Mix up your practice, put balls in bunkers, try lob shots, chip out of thick rough. Really try those tricky shots, and make it quite competitive – have a contest with yourself, set targets and try to beat them. General Rules Relevant Practice I see a lot of amateurs drop a dozen balls beside the practice green in a similar position, on the fairway or on the short grass. You’ll improve your technique if you do that, but you won’t improve your feel. The only way to develop feel is to test yourself in different scenarios. When I practise I like to drop balls in different spots around the green. I’ll never take more than five or six shots from the same place. I have a bag of 50 balls that I use to practise with, and I’ll chip from at least ten different positions around the green with those 50. Now, I only practice on the course, because that’s obviously where we play tournaments. It’s about trying to make sure your practice is as relevant as possible to what you face in competition. When I practise, I spend 20 minutes or so on classic chipping with a sand wedge, about ten yards away from the flag. Then I move on to chipping from the rough, and finish off with lob shots. I also make sure I’m chipping to a difficult pin position, too. It’s good to have a routine, but you need to make sure your routine is varied. For amateurs, it’s important to work on the lob shot if they don’t have much time, and they should also look at the club they use for that. A lot of people use 56-degree wedges, but 58 and 60-degree models will make it easier to get the ball in the air. In terms of visualising the shot, it’s just experience and practice. You should have a set routine and make sure you keep things as simple as possible. If you’re trying to play a lob shot, your weight should be on the right. If you’re trying to play a low shot with spin, your weight should be on the left. As a general rule, your weight should be on the left for most chip shots. You should also use a classic, neutral grip. The Chip and Run Amateurs often try to chip the ball in the air, when they’d be better off keeping it on the ground. I use a 58-degree sand wedge for most of my chips, but that’s because the greens we play on are so fast. But the chip and run is a useful shot to know how to play. The best advice is to grip the club – maybe a 7 or 8-iron – as you would when gripping a putter, and adopt a similar stance. Stand up straighter with the hands a little higher up and make a putt-like stroke. Also ensure that you make a smooth, rocking motion with your shoulders. The goal of the chip and run is to minimise spin on the ball, something you’ll create if you use your hands excessively. That goes for all chips: if you want to avoid putting spin on the ball, keep your hands quiet. Accept Good Luck Tools For the Job AFP So many amateurs try to force the ball up in the air when they’re around greens. They don’t let the bounce or the loft of the club do the work for them. Another problem is that many people haven’t had a proper custom fitting for their short 38 HK GOLFER・MAY 2016 I get a lot of questions about the two chips I played from the cactus in the final of the WGCMatch Play Championship [in February 2014] against Jason Day. With those shots, I knew I had the chance to hit the green, but I was just lucky that they went so close to the flag. However, on the last play-off hole [the driveable par-4 15th at Dove Mountain], I was unlucky. My drive finished to the right of the green and my ball wasn’t really playable in the rough. I could only chip to the other side of the green and Jason made his putt to win. You get plenty of bad luck in golf, so enjoy it when you get lucky! HKGOLFER.COM HKGOLFER.COM HK GOLFER・MAY 2016 39

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