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Original Issue

Crispness in the short game

Feel and crispness in the short game are all-important and also very closely correlated. To attain crispness, and thus gain feel, I find two techniques very helpful.

The first is to assure that the backswing and the follow-through are approximately the same length. Beginners and high-handicap players often have an exaggerated backswing with an abrupt, choppy follow-through. They are inconsistent, as a rule, and subject to a variety of bad shots. Among low-handicap players, however, a too short back-swing (which makes for an overly long follow-through) is surprisingly prevalent. Why this should be I don't know, except, maybe, that the better player thinks that shortness produces decisiveness. Frequently, unfortunately, the desired crispness is never achieved, and the back-swing becomes shorter and shorter.

My second pointer on feel and crispness concerns mainly the average player and beginner. They should remember that the shorter the approach shot the farther down the grip one holds the club.

One final thought on this matter of getting your backswing and follow-through about the same in length: remember that this applies to pitches, chips, long putts and short putts—nothing else.

HARVEY PENICK, Country Club of Austin, Texas



THE LENGTH of the backswing and follow-through should be approximately the same.