Todd Sones: The Finesse Sequence

Emiliano Griollo
Around the green, you should use a finesse sequence, not a power sequence.

Short game shots and scoring are really important in golf. That goes without saying. But what’s the difference between the greenside finesse sequence and the full swing power sequence? Your upper body leads the short game.

Todd Sones is a Golf Digest Top 50 and Golf Magazine Top 100 Instructor who teaches out of White Deer Run Golf Club near Chicago. He also currently serves on the Golf Academy of America’s National Advisory Board.

In this week’s tip (below), Todd demonstrates the finesse sequence. I transcribe these videos because they only stay up for about a week. You can always gain access to this tip and more by becoming an Impact Golf Member at

It’s a different sequence when you’ve got a greenside shot (as opposed to) a full swing shot. If you’ve got a full shot, you would start with your lower body. Your lower body starts down, then your upper body, and finally, your arms. You’re storing all the energy so at impact, everything releases. That’s a full power sequence.

“Greenside, we call that a finesse sequence,” says Todd. “What that means is that when I take the club back, I don’t want to store all that energy and all that lag for impact. I’m trying to hit a softer greenside shot here with control of distance.”

When the club goes back, instead of starting with your legs and storing all that lag, start down with your upper body and club together, not keeping any lag. Your legs should not start in your short game.

When you go back and you start down, make sure the club is coming down in front of you. Your legs should be firm. They’re not driving. Then the club comes down in front of you, your upper body stays on top of the shot, and you compress the golf ball.

The mistake so many people make is that they get to the top of the backswing for the shot they’re hitting and actually start with their legs. Their legs start, then the lower body runs out in front, and the upper body goes back. They skull the shot, or they hit it fat.

So remember this: at the top of your backswing when you start down, keep your upper body on top and moving forward. A tip Todd always tells people is that at the end of a shot around the green, they should be able to do three things: lift their trail leg, fold their elbows, and pull the club into their body. If you start with your legs, you have to lift your forward leg because all of your weight’s back.

Start with the upper body. You should be able to pick up your back foot, fold your elbows, and pull the club right into your belly button, and you’ll be great around the greens.



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