What’s harder for Tour pros to keep sharp: short game or putting? | Fully Equipped

This week on the Fully Equipped podcast, GOLF’s managing editor for equipment Jonathan Wall spoke with PGA Tour player and short-game coach Parker McLachlin, aka the Short Game Chef, to discuss everything from the best ways to optimize your wedges to how to handle expectations on the course. McLachlin

With McLachlinn’s coaching duties becoming more in demand, one of the first topics they dug into was how to stay sharp.

“What is more difficult to maintain for a Tour pro,” Wall asked. “Is it harder to maintain the short game and keep that in a good spot, or keep the putting in a good spot?”

Wedges fitting
Indoor wedge fittings provide unique benefits | Firsthand with a Fitter
By: Ryan Barath

“I would say the putting because you have such high expectations and you think you’re going to make everything inside 10 feet, and that’s what PGA Tour players think, (even though) obviously the stats don’t show that,” McLachlin said. “But, if you’re chipping and ‘bunkering,’ you understand that the lie might not be that good and the goal might be to get it inside a 4-5 foot circle. If I’m in the rough and it has an unpredictable lie, your expectations go down. It’s the same for the bunker in that when you get it inside a 6- to 8-foot circle, you’re fine with that.”

Titleist Vokey SM9 Raw Custom Wedge

For every shot, every lie, every course, there’s a grind fit for your swing. Finding the right grind to match your swing and playing conditions will give you the best turf interaction, contact and shot performance. Master Craftsman Bob Vokey has spent decades crafting, developing and improving his tour proven grinds to fit players of all levels. Anyone can manufacture a wedge, but it takes a master to turn a piece of high-performance technology into an instrument of creative control. Bob’s six tour-proven grinds are designed to offer maximum creativity, versatility and consistency, all meticulously developed through years of working with the best players in the world. PROGRESSIVE CENTER OF GRAVITY SM9 features a progressive center of gravity (CG) throughout the lofts, which optimizes ball flight, accuracy and forgiveness. Using tapered top lines and varied hosel lengths, the Vokey R&D team has raised the height of the CG in the higher lofts, which promotes a lower, more controlled flight. The CG is also forward of the face, resulting in increased MOI, exceptional feel and a club face that simply wants to square up at impact. SPIN MILLED GROOVES SM9’s patented Spin Milled grooves are meticulously engineered through a new cutting process to maximize spin and durability. The process starts by cutting the face perfectly flat with a high-speed saw. Then every groove is individually cut based on loft and finish; low lofts (46°-54°) are designed with narrower, deeper grooves, while higher lofts (56°-62°) have wider, shallower grooves. Micro-grooves are individually cut in between grooves, which maximize spin on partial shots. A proprietary heat treatment is applied to the impact area which doubles the durability of the groove without impacting feel, making it the most durable groove in golf. The process is only complete when every Vokey wedge is 100% inspected for utmost quality and performance.
View Product

McLachlin added: “When you’re on the green, and the greens are perfect and they’re rolled and they’re all uniform, you’re expecting to make a lot more putts. So, when you start missing putts… you start to question whether it’s your will power, your stroke, your read — and when you begin to question all those things, putting can kind of go away because you think you should make every putt.”

It just goes to show that even for some of the best players in the world, managing expectations on and around the greens can help have a downstream effect on your overall game and performance.

You can find the entire interview with McLachlin below, or anywhere you listen to your podcasts.

Ryan Barath

Golf.com Editor

Ryan Barath is GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com’s senior editor for equipment. He has an extensive club-fitting and -building background with more than 20 years of experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour players. Before joining the staff, he was the lead content strategist for Tour Experience Golf, in Toronto, Canada.