Help for a Short Game that has no Touch

Asheville Golf Home

Dear Jitterbug,

I have no short game touch, and I’m a good athlete. Everything I hit feels like a jab or punch, and too often my playing companions remark that I have hands of stone. If you ask me, it has to do with technique because with most shots I don’t even see how the club I’m using could possibly work. I’ve been playing for less than a year, by the way. Any help?

Billy Galica

Jitterbug Gang Fan


Too many golfers, especially those new to the game, experience the same troubles you describe.

You see, in all short game shots, the ball must be struck neatly for even mediocre results. Said another way, great “touch,” as exhibited by those who have it, is most attributable to club and ball meeting correctly. Accordingly, the fundamentals surrounding short game technique have less to do with “This is how hard you should swing,” and more to do with arriving at a posture and method of movement that make contacting the ball squarely easier to achieve.

Mr. Vaughn:

Basically speaking, if you’re having trouble making consistently clean contact, you’ve got extra movement. It’s either movement in the wrists, the body, or both. Go find yourself a qualified pro to teach you how to stay still over your short shots. In no time, you’ll find you have more touch than anybody ever gave you credit for.

Lord Berry:

From what I’ve seen, beginner golfers who suffer from short game difficulties are most plagued with the habit of taking too short of a backswing. Rather than taking the amount of backswing necessary to glide into the ball, beginner golfers naturally take the club back an insufficient distance. Sensing the need to make up the difference, they employ violent punch, empty of grace and rhythm.

The result is less-than-crisp-impact, and a great deal of anxiety, even on the rare occasion when the shot finds the vicinity of the hole.

My advice to all golfers, especially those eager to make short game progress, is they swing big enough to simply flow through their shots.

Asheville Golf Home

Ask Jitterbug - Golf Advice Column by Bobby Steiner

Ask Jitterbug - Author Bobby Steiner

About the Author

The following are a list of golf teaching columns generously donated to us by teaching professional and author Bobby Steiner. Bobby teaches golf at The Practice Tee in East Asheville during the summer months, and at The Westin Mission Hills Resort during the winter.

You can reach Bobby at: or

All the Same Distance

I hit all my clubs, seven-iron and longer, the same distance. Do you know of a cure?

Bad Rhythm

My swing rhythm gets fast when I play. Do you have any suggestions to help me slow down?

Bad Teacher

There is a young assistant golf professional at our club who plays extremely well, but could use some help as a teacher. Any suggestions that might help him?

Ball Position

Can you explain your take on ball position? Forward for longer clubs? Back for shorter clubs?

Die or Lag

Do you think it is better to be a firm putter, or to putt the ball so that it barely drops into the cup?

Fanning the Club

My tendency is to fan my hands to the inside on the takeaway. When I use a straight takeaway I can't hit the ball.

Fix is the Problem

My friend has a knack for giving me helpful tips when we play. It works for about six holes, then I totally collapse. Have you heard of this?

Get the Ball to the Hole

I have a very difficult time getting my putts to the hole. Can you help?

Golf Schools

Are golf schools worth the money?

Guide the Ball

My golf instructor tells me that I try to 'guide' the ball too much. I've never heard this term, is it a bad thing?

Hip Slide

Can you explain the proper way to pivot during the backswing?

How Many Hours

I'm currently a solid 8-handicap, but I've reached a plateau. How might I rework my practice regimen to improve steadily like I used to?

Kids Learning Curve

My thirteen-year old son and I took up golf four years ago. Now, I am still struggling to break 100 while he shoots low 80s. How do I catch up?

Length of Backswing

I've read that the putting stroke should be the same length going back as going through. What is your take on it?

Long and Slow

I have great touch, and play standard chip shots quite well, but I can't hit a soft pitch of any length to save my life.

Make Practice Swing

I have a beautiful practice swing, but it doesn't carry over to my real swing. Any Suggestions?

More Distance

I'm a good athlete, but don't get the distance I think I should. How can I hit the ball farther off the tee?

No Scoop Chips

I suffer from the chipping yips; I can't prevent my right hand from taking over and flipping under the ball. How do I avoid scooping the ball?

No Touch Short Game

I have no short game touch, and I'm a good athlete. Everything I hit feels like a jab or punch. Any help?

No Whiffing

Golf is frustrating to me because I hardly ever get the ball up in the air. Please help!

Range Brilliance

I'm a great range player, but can't get it together on the course. Do you have any advice to help me?

Sound Swing

An assistant pro refers to some swings as "sound," and others, "not sound." Can you compare and contrast the two?

Taking Lessons

I've taken golf lessons for years from many different instructors, but I never get better. Are golf lessons the biggest scam ever thought up?

Teacher a Good Player

Do you think it is important that a teaching professional be a good player?
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My short golf game has no touch.