This is the second article is our senior series. I was away for a while, so let’s get back to helping you seniors! If you missed the first article, take a look.
I live just a few yards from the green of a par 3, and it never ceases to amaze me the number of times I see two shots turned into three. Or more. All golfers, (particularly seniors) looking to cut their scores need to pay attention, not just to putts, but to the simple up and down opportunities that they missed. The par three by my house plays anywhere from 160 to 200 years, has a pond bordering the green on the left, and out of bounds (MY HOUSE) on the right. So it’s not an easy hole, and golfers miss that green all day; but even the poorer shots will come within 15, maybe 20 yards of the green. I see no reason a player should leave that hole with anything more than a bogey. Yet I see fives and sixes more than you can imagine…a chip shot is a very simple shot to learn.
MOST of your senior golf years should be spent chipping, pitching and putting. Here’s why:
After a certain age. or perhaps when one has played a certain number of years, your golf swing can be changed slightly at the most! By slightly I mean this: Let’s say you are a 15 handicap player, you are hitting around five greens a round in regulation. If you make huge improvement in your swing, you may get to seven greens a round in regulation (the average of a 10-handicap player). That still leaves you 11-12 times per round OFF THE GREEN. Now, it’s true of course that swing improvements can also lead to missing closer to the green, but even here we are talking perhaps a pitch instead of a chip from the edge. BOTH these shots are within the skill set of most any golfer if they think and play differently around the greens. Hitting more greens is not always in that player’s capability, but getting the golf ball in the hole in fewer strokes IS!
I’ll use the green by my house as an example: the green is over 25 paces (75 feet) long. Like most courses, carts are kept on the cart path on all par 3s. I can’t begin to tell you how many players leave the cart with ONE, maybe TWO clubs regardless of the length of the shot. Those clubs are very often a wedge (of some loft) and/or a sand/lob wedge. Again most golfers are short with their tee shots (on all holes not just par 3s). So now they are standing in front of chip possibly 70-80 feet long with a 55-degree club. They either stub it or skull it, leaving themselves in double-bogey (or worse) position. That club selection is like taking a hit on 16 in blackjack when the dealer is showing 6!
Again, I know studies show that ballstriking is primary. Of course, you have to get your swing to the point where you can get the ball in play off the tee, but let me ask this question: when ballstriking is as good as it is going to get, you will still miss plenty of greens. What then? Are you doomed to shoot 94 because your swing cannot change greatly? The answer is NO, if you think better, and learn to hit short shots better. A big change in a golf swing requires time and athleticism. Short shots need technique and feel, but MUCH less strength, flexibility or general athleticism.
As a general rule, I teach most of my students the following priority list when near the green
- PUTT whenever you can
- CHIP if you can’t putt
- PITCH only when you must.
Putting and straightforward chipping or bumping-and-running is a MUCH higher percentage shot. Do yourself a favor and play the shot that you are most capable of NOT the one you’ve seen on TV. Look, you’re probably not gonna hole a chip or pitch, so where do you want to be on your next shot?
Many of you have heard of the “rule of 12.” I’m going to try to explain this as simple as possible and suggest quick math for the course.
- Pace off the distance you want the golf ball to fly and land two paces (5-6 yards) on the green. NO FURTHER THAN THAT!
- Let’s say that distance is 4 paces (two yards off the green, two yards to land on the green).
- Now pace from that point to the hole. Let’s say for the sake of simplicity the hole is 8 yards (25 feet or so) from the landing spot.
- You have a 2 to 1 relationship of carry to roll.
- Here’s how to do quick course math in your head: 12-2=10 iron, PW
- If you have 3X roll vs carry, 12-3=9, iron.
- If you have 4X roll vs carry, 12-4=8 iron. and so on…
- This is NOT CAST IN STONE, it is merely a guide.
- NOTE: This applies to chipping only; next time I’ll deal with pitching. And course, just like putting uphill, downhill, into grain, down grain etc. have to be taken into consideration.
Simple drill: Put a headcover two paces on the green. Chip to it, no further! See what club it takes to reach various hole positions.
No one knows better than a golf instructor of nearly 40 years how difficult it is to get someone to change their habits. I can’t tell you how many times I have suggested people try another approach around the green, and invariably they go right back to their “favorite club.” It’s your choice, but PLEASE practice your short game most of the time!
PGA Tour to provide financial assistance to players and caddies during Coronavirus pandemic
The PGA Tour has announced plans to compensate both players and caddies after several Tour events were cancelled due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.
In a memo sent to players on Friday, it was explained that due to IRS regulations, the Tour is not allowed distribute un-earned financial benefits to members, but that the organization has developed some programs to help its players during the ongoing pandemic. Players and caddies will receive financial assistance from the PGA Tour with one of the primary programs to help players based on their current FedEx Cup standing.
Players can receive up to $100,000 in bonus earnings during this period which will subsequently be removed from their season-ending bonus after play has been restarted.
Tour pros will also be entitled to request advance payments (up to $30k) for future Monday pro-am spots and advances on future earnings, while the Tour also plans on allowing players to withdraw funds from their retirement plans based on financial need.
“Playing opportunities equate to financial opportunities, and we are concerned about the toll that canceled tournaments are having on some of our members” – Tyler Dennis, a senior vice president and the Tour’s chief of operations.
Included in the memo were caddies, who are entitled to a partial mid-season distribution of an endorsement program and who can also request financial support from the Caddie Benevolent Fund.
Play is not set to resume on the PGA Tour until May 21 at the earliest.
GolfWRX AUA (Ask Us Anything): TaylorMade fitters are answering YOUR questions!
With the downtime, #teamtaylormade are ready to talk golf!
Go to the link below to ask any TM specific questions you may have. TaylorMade fitters from across the US will be diving in the forums to answer questions, talk golf and get you dialed. Take this opportunity to go TM crazy.
Team TaylorMade fitters that will be participating:
- Chris Clegg, Georgia
- John Junkin, Pennsylvania
- Lewis Schnauble, Maryland
- John Tabor, Michigan
- Freddy Villarta, California
- Matt Zerishnek, Pennsylvania
- James Albright, Arizona
Report: 2020 U.S. Open to be rescheduled due to Coronavirus pandemic
This year’s U.S. Open will not go ahead as planned in June and will be rescheduled for a later date, according to a report from the New York Post.
Per the report, the plan is for the tournament to be played “later in the summer”, with the location of the event remaining at Winged Foot Golf Club.
Earlier this week, it was announced that Winged Foot Golf Club would be closing its doors indefinitely. The news came after New York governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order telling non-essential businesses to suspend trading immediately due to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
The New York area currently has 37,200 confirmed cases of Coronavirus as of Thursday 26 March.
Both The Masters and the PGA Championship have already been postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic with plans in place to play both majors at a later date.
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