David Gil is one of the PGA golf professionals at “Tramores Golf Academy by Michael Campbell” at Villa Padierna Hotels & Resorts. He was 19 when, in 1988, he started working as a golf professional in Almenara (Sotogrande), creating the first CAR academy in Andalucía.
He subsequently travelled to England where he worked at the David Leadbetter Academy. On his return, he created the Sotogrande Junior Golf School, where players who went on to become top professionals have been coached.
Always linked to education, in 2010 he became involved in an international project in Sicily, where he was closely associated with Italy’s national teams and coaches.
With a masters degree in management and golf course management, David worked in golf operations for Andalucía’s leading courses until, in 2018 the Villa Padierna opportunity arose. The “TGA Golf Academy by Michael Campbell” is a vibrant project that is growing day by day, and currently is recognised as among the best golf academies in Spain.
The Short Game
This is clearly a facet of the game that significantly helps us improve the final score on our card. So this issue I will reveal some key technical details outlining ways you can improve your short game.
Much the same could be said about putting, but we will dedicate a separate lesson exclusively for that shot.
For this lesson I will try, as always, to help you with technical concepts, differentiating between and focusing on two of the shots that we use most often. They are considerably different to each other, although sometimes we are not sure about the correct option when facing a short shot to the green.
1 The Chip
2 The Pitch
This is defined as a very short shot near the green, during which the ball rolls for longer than the time it is in the air.
My advice on which club to use is that, depending on the player’s ability, the shot should be played with different clubs. Players at a high level tend to have more control of strength, direction and spin, and will be able to benefit from clubs with more loft. On the contrary, for medium or high-handicap players, I recommend clubs such as a 7-iron or 8-iron.
1 Position yourself very close to the ball.
2 The club shaft should be more vertical.
3 Rest the club on the ground, lifting the heel slightly.
4 Position the axis of your chest (polo shirt buttons) slightly in front of the ball, with 80% of the weight on the left leg.
These four elements will ensure less rotation of the clubhead during the swing, so the movement is in a straighter line.
This is a fairly basic movement, as it is quite short, but one of the most common mistakes is to let your body become blocked.
1 What happens if you block?
The normal result is that your arms become tighter and you top the ball. When players block too much, they can also stab the club into the ground.
2 How do we rectify this?
You can correct this problem by rotating your knees slightly on the way down. You will be able to keep your arms straight while your club moves forward more freely.
3 The angle of attack should be negative (hit the ball first and then the ground).
This is defined as a shot always under 70 metres, during which the ball remains most of the time in the air and rolls just a short distance after landing on the green.
As for my advice on which club to use... We have in our bag several clubs that can be used for the short game. I always advise my students to avoid forcing the swing and, above all else, to try to make short movements, as these will be much easier to control and therefore the execution of the shot – and the result – will be more accurate.
So leave your 58 and 60-degree clubs for very short and high shots and start using 54 or 56-degree clubs. With a good movement, these clubs will give you the ball flight you need.
1 Your feet should be closer together than your shoulders.
2 Distribute your weight equally on both legs: 50% on each.
3 Ball and hands in the middle of the stance.
Aim for a position that is both neutral and comfortable, with your body properly aligned and not over-forcing the angle of your shoulders.
Once your stance is correct, you need to avoid using clubs with a very open loft so you don’t end up with a long and fast movement.
1 Swing Length
- Work on a half or three-quarter swing. Sometimes it will be enough with less than half a swing.
- Always try to ensure the length of the upswing and the position at the end of the swing are similar or the same.
2 Wrist Control
- If you move your wrists too much, the club will rotate very close to your body and you will lose a lot of power, at the same time as the club angle on impact will be very open.
- If you block your wrists, the club will move away from the body and it will be a lot easier to hit above the ball.
3 Angle of Attack
As with the chip shot, the angle of attack should be negative (hit the ball first and then the ground). My advice would be to hit a couple of practice shots first, and aim for the club to brush the ground if you make a divot.