Getting out of the winter doldrums and getting back on course can be daunting. Golfers often have not touched a club in months and that swing feels rustier than an abandoned Ford Pinto.

But every golfer has to start somewhere. Where best to begin to get that golf game in shape? Jeff Fought, our director of golf, has some advice: start with the short game and let the rest follow.

That includes concentrated work on chipping, long neglected by golfers everywhere. Fought’s drill is simple enough. Drop three piles of practice balls 10 feet apart around a short-game practice area, which are available at both Big Meadow and Glaze Meadow. Then chip every ball in the pile to a specific target.

“I like to start short, because I haven’t been chipping all winter, to get a little feel from there,” Fought explains. “Then I like moving back 10 feet and chipping from there. Then I like moving back another 10 feet and chipping from there.”

The drill is particularly important in the early season because it helps develop feel, which is important for a short game and is the basis of a full swing.

“I like starting off like this in the early season to get my touch back,” Fought says.

For more information on how to take a lesson from Jeff or any of our Black Butte Ranch instructors, visit The link also includes a calendar of Black Butte Ranch’s golf schools, clinics and camps.