Gary Smith Short Game Principles and Actionable Golf Drills

“Anyone who struggles with the short game tries to create more and more control over the golf club and the ball, and of course the best players do the opposite.” Gary Smith 

Gary Smith is a Golf Monthly UK Top 25 coach and has 14 years experience working with England’s top amateur stars as an EGU Technical Coach working with European Tour players including Danny Willett, Justin Rose, Chris Wood, Ross Fisher, Ollie Fisher, Richard Finch, David Horsey, Seve Benson, Nick Dougherty, and Gary Wolstenholme. Gary is the go-to man for short game lessons in the UK and I had the fortune of being coached by him back in 2004.

Gary has also played in The Open Championship three times, and a winner on the European Tour. Gary is based at Sutton Green Golf Club 

In this particular episode, Gary explains his philosophy on the short game, sharing the drills and technique he teaches his players. He also shares a funny story on how he creates an incentive for his players if they don’t execute on certain shots.

Ep: 3: Gary Smith Short Game Principles and Actionable Golf Drills

Ep: 2: Gary Smith Short Game Show Notes 

  • How Gary communicates his lessons and what makes them so effective. [04:30]
  • What Gary looks at when coaching the linear method [07:45]
  • Gary challenges coach’s advice to aim left to hit the ball straight at your target. [10:00]
  • What is the process to put in place to hit a 15 yard short? [11:30]
  • Why ball position should be relevant to the sternum. [12:20]
  • Gary philosophy on coaching a player. [17:00]
  • Gary shares a story of Olly Fisher. [19:20]
  • We go through my notes from my first coaching lesson with Gary. [23:00]
  • The process of club selection. [24:30]
  • Gary explains the lie and how to use simple routines [25:40]
  • Matty Perry’s process for determining a certain shot [26:40]
  • How can a player use bounce/slider? [28:35]
  • Gary tells the story of how he met Wayne Riley and the interesting game they used to play. [33:00]
  • The process of being selected for England. [36:00]
  • The importance of having specifics (data) about your game before going to a coach. [40:00]
  • Software and feedback on yardages. [42:00]
  • Gary’s recommended resources and gear. [51:00]

Gary Smith Short Game 

Gary Smith’s Action Challenge

The four stations of implementing new lessons by Gary Smith 

  1. No target: When implementing a new technique, start by getting a feel of the new positions and forget about the target. You can call this “The Technical Station.” Where you are introducing changes. Be open to change and embrace it. Look for a positive attitude to change.
  2. No Target but further distance: Start playing around with different flights or different clubs, have fun and be creative.
  3. Aim at Target:  Start to hit towards specific targets. Flags on the driving range or yardage markers. Now you are embracing what that new technique may look like in a competitive situation.
  4. Aim at the target with consequence/ under pressure: Make it real. How many can you do out of 10? Putt money on it or do 100 push ups.  You will see pretty quickly what you would be like in course situation with a card in your hands.

Gear/Resources Mentioned

People Mentioned

  • Oliver Fisher
  • Danny Willett
  • Nick Faldo
  • Wayne Riley
  • Gary Wolstenholme

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