LEMONT – Garrett Chaussard believes a system will lead to an improved short game.
A properly used 60 degree wedge also will help.
“I have a system for wedge play from 50 to 120 yards,” said Chaussard, a PGA Class A instructor who teaches at Cog Hill Golf and Country Club and is ranked No. 5 by Golf Digest amongst Illinois’ instructors. “It’s based on feel, but I know how much speed each swing creates.
“By changing the club and ball position, it changes the distance the ball goes. I think I can teach that to anybody. The technique of striking the ball comes first. You need consistent contact with the proper amount of loft on the club. Then good feel can be developed.”
Which is why when it comes to scoring shots and the touchy shots around the green, Chaussard doesn’t teach players to make drastic changes in their swing. Because muscle memory is vital when it comes to swing repetition, Chaussard wants a player’s swing to remain as intact as possible.
Once a landing point and shot are selected, the swing should be the same one used all round.
“Make as many set up or pre swing changes as you can so the motion – the swing – doesn’t change,” said Chaussard, who played in the 2008 U.S. Open after a four-year career as a starter at the University of Illinois. “Choke up or open the club face. Just make the same swing from an altered set up position. That will make the shot a lot easier.”
Though Chaussard has a system he uses as a player and teaches his students, he also developed an incredible short game imagination. He played at Green Hills Country Club, an Alister MacKenzie designed course in Millbrae, Calif., as a junior.
The sloped and speedy MacKenzie green complexes Chaussard grew up on are similar to ones the renowned British golf course architect also built at Augusta National. Every April they challenge professionals and provide entertaining television at the Masters Tournament. For Chaussard, they enhanced his feel and creativity.
“The first part of a short game lesson is to hammer down the fundamentals,” Chaussard said. “Then it’s a matter of working around the green to develop a feel for where the ball needs to land, which changes on how high or low the ball is hit. Also, match up the swing needed. develop the feel that’s the challenge of being able to mix up and choose the right shot in the right situation.”
To develop a feel for which shot is needed in a round, Chaussard recommends a student pick a hole on their practice green, use three golf balls and their 60 degree wedge. Hit a low, medium and high shot to the same hole. Notice the way the ball runs once it hits for each shot.
Perhaps most importantly, a player must use their whole body even on a short chip shot.
“Most players don’t use their body on this shot, just their arms and that puts them at the mercy of how good their hands are, said Chaussard who was the 2010 Illinois PGA Assistant Player of the Year. “Just watch the professionals on TV, they turn their chest through the shot and keep their hands low which produces a consistent downward strike on the ball. From there it’s a matter of a player choosing the right shot to play.”
The teaching facility at Cog Hill is the finest in the state. Ample space for players to hone their full swing, short game and putting is available.
Chaussard teaches full swing, short game and putting with the latest fitness devices and technology available. Contact him at www.garrettchaussard.com and follow the online reservation system.