You hear a lot about the scoring zone in golf, the place where your score really gets made (or not). Some people say it's from 100 yards and in, there are books written about 60 yards and in. For the recreational golfer, it's 25 yards and in.
If you play once a week and can only practice that often or even less, your scoring expectations from too far away from the hole can not be too great. There is not enough time for you to learn how to get up and down from 50-100 yards consistently.
Apply yourself instead to learning how to get up and down from 25 paces from the pin or less. This, you can do. Those are the up-and-downs that can take bunches of strokes off your score. Here's how to make them.
Let's say you're just off the green on the fringe. The grass is cut shorter than the fairway, but longer than the green, and the lie is tight (there is not much of a cushion of grass beneath the ball). The club to pull is your putter. Forget your 6-iron or your sand wedge, or whatever you chip with. It's the putter that will put the ball tap-in close.
Arnold Palmer said that your best chip is as good as your worst putt. It's true. Spend some time on the practice green finding out how much harder you have to hit the ball to get it through the fringe. Find out how much fringe you can reliably putt through before you do have to reach for that sand wedge.
Say you're about 60 feet from the hole and about fifteen feet from the green. The club to use here is a pitching wedge. Take a short stroke, hitting down and through the ball, without breaking your wrists on the follow-through. That stroke will put loads of backspin on the ball. The ball will hit, check, and roll only a yard or two.
A few sessions on the practice green calibrating this shot with a 9-iron, pitching wedge, gap wedge, and sand wedge will give you access to pins you once thought were too far away to get close to. And it will not take too much work at all to get pinpoint close.
The third shot you should practice is a shot out of the rough. Use your sand wedge. The key here is to know where the bottom of the ball is, and make sure the sole of the club gets down to that point. When the ball is sitting well down in the rough, you have to go down and get it. But sometimes the ball sits up in the grass, and your club has to stay up where the ball is so that you do not slide the club underneath it.
If you have these three shots down, you will start making pars right and left. There's one other greenside shot I did not talk about is not there? The bunker shot. But since everyone says that that's the easiest shot in golf, you already know how to hit that one do not you?