Secrets of the Short Game by Phil Mickelson — It has been a few years since this book came out, but it is our pick as the best golf short game book. We believe there is no better source of information for improving your chipping, pitching, sand play, and putting.
In his prime, and to this day, Phil Mickelson has demonstrated the talent, skills, and imagination that set him apart from his peers as one of the best golfers from 50 yards in. The Secrets to the Short Game distills Phil’s knowledge of the short game into a highly readable and actionable set of lessons that will help beginning and advanced golfers to improve.
The Secrets of the Short Game is easy to read, easy to understand, and has highly relevant photos to drive the key lessons home. The book covers all aspects of the short game with a strong mix of science and Phil’s unique flair.
The book has five extended sections:
- Sand Play
- Flop & Lob
Each section starts by teaching the basics of the stroke and then progresses through more challenging concepts and playing situations. For example, the chipping section has 23 lessons that will teach you everything from setup position, to trajectory, to how to handle a ball in a fluffy lie. Sand Play has 19 lessons teaching you how to hinge and hold the club, succeed with a buried lie, how to hit long bunker shots, and more.
Editor’s Note: I usually keep extra copies of this book at home to give away to friends when they are struggling with their short game.
Pros and Cons of Our Pick as the Best Short Game Book
- Easy to read and easy to understand
- Tons of visuals to reinforce the lessons
- Comprehensive instruction on all aspects of the short game
- You can clearly hear Phil’s voice and experience throughout the book
- The book does not come with the available DVD
- Some readers have felt that the putting instruction could have been a little more in-depth
An Alternative: Dave Pelz’s Short Game Bible
For those of you who want to go even further in your study of the short game, we would also highly recommend Dave Pelz’s Short Game Bible. This short game book has fewer images, much more science and less Phil flair. That said, it is genuinely considered to be the bible on how to improve your short game. Pelz is regarded as one of the true short game teaching masters. He has also been Phil Mickelson’s long-time short game coach. At 450 pages, you will be amazed at how readable and actionable the book is. Every serious golfer should own it.
Whether you believe Mickelson’s or Pelz’s offering is the best short game book ever, we think that either of these books is a fantastic start to learning the fundamentals of the short game. But to really improve your short game, you have to put the teachings into practice.
If you cannot get to a course that has a good short game practice area at a minimum, you should try to get some practice in at home. As an aid to training at home, we recommend this chipping net for backyard or basement practice. Take a look at our chipping net review by clicking here.