The fastest way to improve your score is to improve your short game from 100 yards in.

If you watch the best golfers in the world, they all miss the fairway more than 30 percent of the time, but from within 100 yards, they expect to knock it close every time. This is golf's scoring zone; it separates the winners from the losers, the low handicappers from everyone else.

The following golf tips will have you master your short game in no time:

Hit it low: The pitch and run

For chip or pitch shots to an uphill or back pin location, adjust your stance so you are lined up parallel to the target. Play the ball in the middle of your stance using a 7, 8 or 9 iron, as opposed to your wedges.

Place your hands slightly ahead of the ball at address, and use the same motion you do when putting (an arm swing gives much better results than too much hand action).

Medium height shots: The pitch shot

Pitch shots fly higher than the chip shot, but they release and roll out once the ball hits the green. They're used for shorter shots than the chip shot or to pitch over an embankment, high grass or traps where there is plenty of room to land the ball on the green and run it to the pin.

Start by opening up your stance slightly, but keep your clubface square to the target. Play the ball in the middle of your stance, hands slightly ahead of the ball. For these shots, use one of your wedges (which wedge depends on the height of the shot you want to hit).

To hit these shots lower, use an arm swing; to gain more height, use a little more wrist in the shots. Experiment when practicing, and you will create the optimal pitching motion for each shot selection.

High pitches: The lob shot

To hit a high lob shot to a tight pin, start by taking a narrow stance and open it and the clubface, and play the ball forward off your front toe.

Aim slightly to the left of the target (right-hand golfers) because the ball is going to fly where the clubface is facing. This shot calls for an accelerating and descending motion into the ball. Finally, set your wrists early in the backswing, and use more hand action on these shots.

This is the most difficult short game shot to master, so practice these shots often.

Steve Nixon is the head golf professional at Chockoyotte Country Club in Weldon. Call the Club at 252-536-3166.