Tim Mahoney Golf Blog

Tim Mahoney Golf Blog


Tim Mahoney Golf Blog

Low Short Game Shots


Low short game shots

By Tim Mahoney


The average professional golfer on any of the world tours hits an average of 11-13 greens a round.  As a result, 5-7 opportunities are presented for an up-in or an actual chip in.  After 35 years of teaching golf around the world, mastering the chip shot is the fastest way to lower your handicap, provide more enjoyment and assist all levels of golfers an opportunity to exceed their personal objectives. 


At the Mahoney and Troon Golf Academy we have eliminated shots titles: chipping and pitching and have replaced the situation with a low shot or a high shot.  In all short game situations the player’s goal is to land the golf ball safely onto the putting surface and allow the golf ball to release to the hole. Successful short game results are the effect of a correct set-up, swing motion, and club choice.


Club choice is the effect of the lie of the ball, the amount of green you have to work with and the distance you are away from your desired landing area.  Worse the lies choose a higher lofted club.  More green you have to work with, take a lower lofted club to allow for more run out.  The further you are away from the landing area, choose a higher lofted club in-order to land the golf ball safely onto the green.  When in doubt, choose the higher lofted club and produce a lower ball flight.


Preparation in the short game is 90% of the success of the end result.  For a lower lofted shot, position the ball towards your back foot, lean your body weight towards the target with the shaft leaned forward.  Keep in mind that the golf club will bottom out directly below your nose, Position your head in front of the ball and the club will find its low spot in front of the ball.


During your swinging motion, minimize the amount of hand action and pivot on the back swing and allow your upper body to turn back with arm motion.  The club head should remain under your hands.  On the forward swing allow your resisted core hips to initiate the motion with limited hand and wrist motion.  The club head should remain under your hands.  Hold your finish until the ball comes to rest.


Eliminate the shot titles during your golf rounds and attempt to the control your short game shots with elevation.  Set-up, club choice and motion will give you controlled results and lower scores.




Controlling distance with your Wedges


Controlling distance with your Wedges

By Tim Mahoney


Golf is a unique activity where you have the combination of distance, direction and trajectory control of the golf ball.  In the short game the ability to score is directly related to controlling the distance of the golf ball.   Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler have the ability to control the distance of their wedges within 95% of the required goal.  For an example, on a 30 yard shot, Spieth has the control of his wedges to hit the ball 28.5 yards, a differential of 1.5 yards in total distance.

Distance is controlled by club choice, length of club at address, length of swing, elevation of the shot, solidness of the strike and the speed of motion.  All golfers should have a minimum of 3 wedges with the lofts of 48, 52 and 56 degrees of loft.  All wedges should have a differential of 4 degrees of separation.  As you work with the wedges identify the distance of ½, ¾ and full swing.

Length of club at address will have a direct impact on the speed of the motion throughout.  Golfers should attempt to grip down the shaft, ½ of a grip and a full grip.  Combine this with different length of swings as well.  A shortened club will work with a shortened swing and a long club will work with a long swing.  All wedge swings should be balanced or symmetrical on both sides of the motion.  A partial backswing should match a partial forward swing. The golf swing needs to be balanced in order to control speed and distance.

A mirrored impact position and address, of the will assist with controlling the loft of the club. The impact position should be identical to the starting position. Unlike the full swing where the shaft needs to be forward leaned for speed in pitching the shafts needs to match. 

Solidness of the strike is the effect of the angle or plane of the swing.  A vertical swing motion will produce a toe hit and conversely a horizontal or flat swing will produce a heel hit or a shank.  The club must be swung on the desired angle or right angle to your spine.

Distance control in the short game is the effect of the club, speed, length of swing and solidness of the hit.  Control these variables and you to will pitch like Spieth.


Impact for Consistency

Impact for Consistency

By Tim Mahoney


As you watch golf on TV across all the different professional tours, you will see different grips, postures, swing shapes and ball flights. Regardless of the differences in all the unique swings, there is one constant in all good ball strikers – they look identical at impact. Perfect impact and your ball striking will improve.

Impact position consists of: a forward leaning shaft, hips open to the target line, shoulders square to the target line, left wrist flat and right wrist bent.  Establish the angles and plane during the backswing and maintain these angles at impact.  Anticipation of the strike or an in-correct mind-set will create impact misery and inconsistenctcy.  Simply rehearsing impact or an isometric exercise will assist you with your impact goals.  Start at address and move into impact

A drill that will assist you with the motion of impact and correct alignments is making small swings into an impact bag.  Allow the power sources to accumulate on the back swing and turn into impact.  As the club strikes the bag, note:  a forward leaned shaft, flat lead wrist, hips open and shoulders square. 

All golf swings are different: upright, flat, close faced or opened face.  But all great ball strikers are perfect at impact.  Work on impact and your scores will lower.


Ball-Flight Consistency

Ball-Flight Consistency

By Tim Mahoney

Consistency is the number one goal of all players from Jordan Spieth to Jack Nicklaus.  Distance, Direction and Trajectory make up the elements of the ball-flight.  Golfers need all three elements for consistent ball striking.  I believe that the sequence of learning is:  trajectory, distance and direction.  The three components are interrelated and we cannot have one with out the other.


Trajectory is controlled by:

1.       Club Selection- the club is designed to provide loft.  Allow the manufacturer to get the ball airborne.

2.       Angle of Approach- the correct angle of approach provides solid impact and the proper effective loft.

3.       Set-up- consistency starts here.  Grip, posture, ball-position, aim, mind-set and tension level are the fundamentals of the pre-swing.

4.       Swing plane- a vertical swing shape will produce high shots and a flat swing shape will produce lower shots.

5.       Swing speed- without swing speed the golfer has a difficult time producing loft.  Golfers with a limited swing speed will produce the same trajectory for all clubs.

Distance is controlled by:

1.       Club Selection- longer clubs longer shots.

2.       Length of motion- increased range of motion will assist in distance.

3.       Solidness of contact- hitting the ball in the center of the racket.  Path and plane are significant influences.  Vertical plane produces toe hits and a flat plane produces heel hits.

4.       Swing speed at impact.  Body rotation, arm speed and wrist movement are the biggest influences.  Overall swing speed is a goal not club head speed.

Direction is controlled by:

1.       Aim- parallel lines of the eyes, shoulders, forearms, hips, knees and heels.

2.       Clubface alignment at impact.  Clubface at right angle to your swing path at impact.

3.       Swing path at impact.  A swing path that is from the inside to along the target line to the inside.

Every golf lesson and group activity I participate in every golfer is in search of consistency.  Ball flight has three elements: trajectory, distance and direction.  You master all three in order to gain consistency.




By Tim Mahoney

Golf Ball curvature is the effect of a misaligned club face at impact.  Your club face is controlled by wrist cock, arm rotation and release.  All three of these aspects is directly controlled by the hold or individual grip of the club.  The quickest and simply the easiest means of improving your game is by perfecting your grip.  A perfect grip will improve an imperfect swing plane, an imperfect swing path and imperfect impact. 

Utilizing a gripping procedure will allow you to position your hands on the club consistently every time you swing the golf club. 

Step 1- allow your arms to hang freely by your sides as you position the club under the heel pad of your left hand with the club planed and the club face square.

Step 2-elevate the club and establish the width of the swing. With the club in front of you position your right hand on the club.  Connecting the hands by placing your life line on top of the thumb.

Grip check points include with the left hand include:  heel pad on top, thumb to the right of center and no gap between the thumb and the base of the hand.  Right hand check points include:  life line covers the thumbs, trigger finger to the side of the grip and no gap. The golfer has three options to connect the hands:  overlap grips allows for more wrist cock, an interlocking allows for more direction control and a baseball grip allows for a higher trajectory.

Perfect your grip and perfect your game.  The only contact you have with the club is your grip.  A perfect hold will perfect your ball flight.


4 Steps to Successful Putting


4 Steps to Successful Putting

By: Tim Mahoney


If you were to watch the good putters on any of the tours, they all have the same type of routine, a routine for success.  As you approach putting, your mind must be on your hands, assisting you with controlling distance.  Consistent players utilize fact not fiction.  Develop this routine, and you will become a great putter.

Step 1
- Walk into the golf ball with your right hand only on the club.  During this motion you have three goals:  establish an angle in the back of your right wrist (this angle must be maintained during the entire motion.)  Aim your clubface at your target.  Align your right forearm on the same plane as the shaft.


Step 2- Position your body (all shots in golf, you must align club than body.)  Position your eyes over the target line, weight even, golf ball forward in your stance with boxed feet.

Step 3
- Position your left hand onto the club.  As you slide your hand onto the club, position both thumbs on the flat part of the club with your palms facing each other.  Flatten your left wrist and maintain the bend in your right wrist.

Step 4
- Swing the putter with the arms.  Quiet torso motion as you maintain the hand position.  Hold the follow thru until the ball comes to a rest.  Your mind must be on controlling distance.  Perfect distance is the effect of maintaining the hand position.

All good putters develop a routine.  I believe great putters develop an angle in the back of their right wrist at address and they maintain this angle throughout the stroke.  As a result, pre-set this angle at address and maintain this angle during the entire motion.  Consistent performers utilize fact not fiction.