Short Game: 18 Hole Up And Down Challenge

Getting up and down requires different skills: pitching, chipping, putting and maybe a little imagination. Whether you hit a great chip or make a 20 footer to complete the up and down, the score is still the same. I remember one of the parents of a junior I coached saying: “There are two parts – the up and the down, and it doesn’t matter how you do it but your goal is 2 shots or less”. When I watch some juniors play this game it’s almost like they give up if they hit a bad chip to 20 feet. Well you can still make that putt and your chances will increase if you remain calm and focused on the task at hand. This 18 hole up and down challenge game will be a good test of your ability and your composure.

We’ve all likely played some form of match play. We know how frustrating it can be when your opponent seems out of the hole and then makes a great save from off the green to tie the hole. The great short game players that I know seem to LOVE the challenge of saving par. If you practice this combined skill (short game/putting) then I believe that will also affect your mentality when faced with these shots in a positive way.

After chipping to 6 feet this player is going through his normal routine for putting.

How To Play

Each hole is a Par 2. You’ll hit your shot from off the green and putt out from there (unless you have to chip twice…ouch). Record your score and keep track of your progress. Mix up the difficulty of the shots based on your skill level.


– No preferred lies. You don’t get to place your ball in a perfect lie when you play so make sure your drop your ball for each shot and play the ball as it lies.

– Go through whatever routine you have (or don’t have) like you would if you were on the course.

– This is a great game to play with a friend. I’m a big fan of putting something on the line when you practice. I’ll often play this game for a certain amount per shot with some of my golf friends.

How often do certain handicaps get up and down?

Tour Player: 64%

Scratch Golfer: 55%

5-Handicap: 40%

10-Handicap: 32%

15-Handicap: 25%

20-Handicap: 19%

25-Handicap: 15%

If you keep track of your scores as you play this game you’ll be able to see your progress. Just because you’re a 15 handicap it doesn’t mean you can’t have a 5 handicap short game.

As you play this game pay attention to how the ball reacts once it hits the green. Try to soak up as much feedback as you can from each shot. Did it check up a little bit? Did it land firm and kick forward? What happens when you’re landing the ball on different slopes? I find that many people fail to watch their shots after they hit it, especially if they didn’t hit it exactly how they wanted to. When you aren’t paying attention you are robbing yourself of getting feedback that can help you improve. On that note, make it a point to watch how the other players balls are reacting as well – maybe you’ll pick up something that can help you hit your next shot closer to the hole. Hopefully this 18 hole up and down challenge can help keep you focused during your practice.

Practice well,


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *