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Observations From a Golf Course Employee


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#181 BillyClub

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 12:33 PM

View Postandrue, on 12 July 2017 - 02:27 AM, said:

I do have a laser but I only use it for chipping

Hell if you use a laser for chipping you might as well bring it on the green and use it for putting too. :tongue: I can't remeber when the last time I actually checked distance from inside 20 yards. All feel here.

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#182 Mcgeeno

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 02:44 PM

Funny on Champions Learning centre, Jeff Sluman goes:

Well I've probably played with 30 thousand amateurs and none of them ever hit enough club to get the ball to the pin.

Like the OP said, and like I've said most poor golfers just think because they hit a 7 iron 160 once that is what they should always hit.

Scores would lower if they took more club and got it pin high a couple more times a round.

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#183 hahanice

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 09:00 PM

I almost never would rather be long. Unless the green is being guarded I guess. But I'm finding that I need the ball to roll up to the pin, so if I land it at the pin I'm usually rolling off the back. And at new courses it's usually hard to see what's behind the green. I would rather not chance it that it's ok behind the green

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#184 bobfoster

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 10:18 PM

View PostSean2, on 06 July 2017 - 04:57 PM, said:

View PostDCSerafin, on 26 June 2017 - 11:10 AM, said:

View Postjester, on 13 June 2017 - 09:14 AM, said:

Do more people use carry distance or total distance when figuring what club to hit into greens?  I know everyone talks about carry distance being the most important but unless there is a hazard in front, most people I play with seem to be using total distance as their main priority when picking a club.

I would think more people don't even know what their carry distances are for most if not all there clubs, therefore I'm guessing more people are using their total distance.



I use carry distance when selecting a club because that is a much more accurate number...total distance can vary widely depending on conditions.


I think carry distance is a good rule of thumb.

The actual issue is consistency. The pros practice for endless hours - and even they get distances wrong. As an amateur, I use averages.

The reality? A pro has a 160 club. A great amateur has a 155 - 165 club. The average amateur has a 150 - 170 club.

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#185 Mcgeeno

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 10:44 PM

View Posthahanice, on 23 August 2017 - 09:00 PM, said:

I almost never would rather be long. Unless the green is being guarded I guess. But I'm finding that I need the ball to roll up to the pin, so if I land it at the pin I'm usually rolling off the back. And at new courses it's usually hard to see what's behind the green. I would rather not chance it that it's ok behind the green

Its not about being long.

Its about the majority of high cappers never getting to the green let alone the pin.

Sure they might hit the odd one per round long and in trouble past the green in the deep rough. But they would also have 5-10 more realistic putts if they just took more club.

They rarely take enough club to have a legit look at a make-able putt and this just keeps adding strokes to the scorecard.

Edited by Mcgeeno, 23 August 2017 - 10:46 PM.


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#186 Bingo1976

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Posted 24 August 2017 - 12:47 AM

I always work on carry - total distance varies between -1 yard if the green is soft, and + 10 yards if the greens are baked and crusty.

Most courses I play punish you for missing left, right and long, whereas short is usually an easier uphill chip with little slope. If it's a front pin then I will hit an extra club as short siding is going to kill me, and a 30-40 foot putt is better than being under a bunker lip.
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#187 andrue

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Posted 24 August 2017 - 02:41 AM

View Posthahanice, on 23 August 2017 - 09:00 PM, said:

I almost never would rather be long. Unless the green is being guarded I guess. But I'm finding that I need the ball to roll up to the pin, so if I land it at the pin I'm usually rolling off the back. And at new courses it's usually hard to see what's behind the green. I would rather not chance it that it's ok behind the green
Plus the further you hit the ball the more likely you are to get in trouble. What I used to find with my old swing was that the first shot I had that was in range of the green was typically a long iron. A high handicapper attempting an 'approach' with a 6, 5 or even 4 is likely to end in tears. At the very least it'll cost an extra shot attempting to chip onto the green from wherever your ball finally stopped and could cost more.

So if it's likely to cost at least one extra shot it makes more sense to me to pay that extra shot by laying up. Layups almost never get you into trouble and from a sensible distance give you a pretty good chance at an up and down. Typical result is a bogey, worst case is a double bogey. Compare that to 'going for it' where a double bogey might be a lucky recovery and lost ball a common outcome.

Thankfully with my new swing I'm finding that my first 'in range' shot is an 8 or better but that carries more risk than a PW or SW.
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#188 Wedge Wizard

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Posted 28 August 2017 - 12:51 PM

First of all, why are you watching golfers hit their approach shots when you are suppose to be working. Edging the bunkers is not just a job for anyone. It takes a person with attention to detail, smooth hands, and a eye for beauty. A bunker that is edge bad cause devalue the integrity of the golf course, and put the question in the consumers head, I'm paying this much for that.
OSHA wouldn't want you operating the machinery without your up most attention. Also your superintendent is trusting you guys to do the job right, not analyze golfers playing.  

The old saying goes, most good players lay up, but it takes courage to go for the green.

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#189 fillwelix

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Posted 28 August 2017 - 01:39 PM

View PostWedge Wizard, on 28 August 2017 - 12:51 PM, said:

First of all, why are you watching golfers hit their approach shots when you are suppose to be working. Edging the bunkers is not just a job for anyone. It takes a person with attention to detail, smooth hands, and a eye for beauty. A bunker that is edge bad cause devalue the integrity of the golf course, and put the question in the consumers head, I'm paying this much for that.
OSHA wouldn't want you operating the machinery without your up most attention. Also your superintendent is trusting you guys to do the job right, not analyze golfers playing.  

The old saying goes, most good players lay up, but it takes courage to go for the green.

Golfers hit shots into the green what, once every 10 minutes or so? I think it's safe to assume someone can pay attention to the job they're doing, and do it well, if they also notice where an approach shot lands (which only takes a second) every 10 minutes
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#190 xjohnx

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Posted 28 August 2017 - 01:45 PM

View Postfillwelix, on 28 August 2017 - 01:39 PM, said:

View PostWedge Wizard, on 28 August 2017 - 12:51 PM, said:

First of all, why are you watching golfers hit their approach shots when you are suppose to be working. Edging the bunkers is not just a job for anyone. It takes a person with attention to detail, smooth hands, and a eye for beauty. A bunker that is edge bad cause devalue the integrity of the golf course, and put the question in the consumers head, I'm paying this much for that.
OSHA wouldn't want you operating the machinery without your up most attention. Also your superintendent is trusting you guys to do the job right, not analyze golfers playing.  

The old saying goes, most good players lay up, but it takes courage to go for the green.

Golfers hit shots into the green what, once every 10 minutes or so? I think it's safe to assume someone can pay attention to the job they're doing, and do it well, if they also notice where an approach shot lands (which only takes a second) every 10 minutes

Also, you're either misinformed on what this thread was originally about or misinformed about what your "old saying" is referring to. Coming up short of the green on an approach shot is not "laying up". It's either a poorly struck shot or poor club selection.


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#191 panther73

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Posted 28 August 2017 - 02:31 PM

When I played 3-4 times a week, I played carry to the pin (laser yardage since 96), qualified for Mid Am on my home course, missed cut for Shinnicok Hills Open. Now injured and recovering from knee surgery, I would play to 2-3 yards short of back fringe, unless it is a front pin, then 2-3 yards past middle of green. The ortho can not say when I will be back on course, but it is killing me that I can not play right now. In regards to google earth, I put together a yardage book for my home course that does not offer one, was great for when I played different tees to comply with the requirements of playing with other golfers; but someone stole it out of my cart. All yardages were lasered, angled greens had multiple front edge carries, yardages to water, sand, encroaching trees. Will make a new one, but it will be stored in the locked pocket of my bag from now on. Also had green slope measured by % slope every 3 feet across entire green, now that is a chore that takes a hour per hole, did one a day (not every day) until finished. But in general, everyone I play with (with exception to single digits) comes up short most of the time; over the greens are jail (Bob Roseberg "he doesn't have a shot") with 80% slopes down to forest trees with tons of loose leaves, pine needle's, and bushes. 2-3 stroke penalty most of the time, lost ball or multiple hacks to extricate the ball from the area that should be marked as lateral hazard for a drop that at least has a swing. Follow the example of the 18 handicapper who shot 79, with 3 3 putts, try it for 2 rounds and assess your results.

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#192 Z1ggy16

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Posted 28 August 2017 - 02:40 PM

View PostRSinSG, on 08 May 2017 - 10:54 PM, said:

Well, kind of an employee anyways. My buddy and I are both retired from and work four hours on Monday mornings at The Ledges. Nice public course that attracts all kinds of players.

Our job is edging the bunkers so we see a lot of approach shots. After doing this for 4 years here is my non-scientific observation: 95+ percent of golfers under club their approach shots. Maybe closer to 99%. It seems the only shots that go long are mis-hits.

It seems like such a simple fix yet literally 9 out of 10 golfers I watch consistently come up short – every time.  If I could give one bit of advice to someone struggling with GIR’s it would be for them to take one extra club. Ask yourself – how many times do you miss long?  Try it and see if it makes a difference.
At most courses I play, going long is 5x worse than being short. I go long... even by 5-7 yards, I'm in massive fescue type grass, at the bottom of a 8 foot slope, or in trees/OB. I come up short, I can chip on, maybe save par or worst case I'm bogey. If I'm long and the hole has any of those things, I'm lucky to save bogey.

Most of the time I'm not too short of my target. I'm usually around the green, but not actually on it (struggle with dispersion horizontally, aim, etc). Generally my chips when I am short are going to be easier pitching on to the green, then they would be from behind the green. But I do get the intended point... but I don't personally feel like it applies to me. It really does depend on the course. Some are lined with trees all over but in exchange for a shorter track. Some are flat and more open, but are longer or have much more undulation on the greens. I think that's why many golfers do pull up short though, it's their subconscious brain not let them accidentally crank that 6i 165 over the back when they really needed a strong 7i that went 155.
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#193 jmilacek

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 07:35 PM

I have to say, this thread is really perplexing. And it reminds me of a reddit post I saw: DJ was hitting his clubs, and telling a guy with a Trackman how far he hit them. Everyone in this reddit thread was blown away that he somehow knew! I mean, I could understand if he was like "yeah that one was 161.5" and he was within a yard. But he was within a few and people were so impressed by this.

Well, I suck - I shoot barely below 90 on a good day - and I know pretty much exactly how far I hit all my clubs, and could tell you when I hit them how far they went, assuming it wasn't a shank or huge chunk, +/- 5yd.

And that's how I play the round. I laser the flag, it says a distance. If that flag is middle I try to hit that distance, because I will have a club for it. I err on the long side, but I don't club up because that'd be almost 15yd past the flag if I hit it properly. So I have a 145yd shot, I hit 9 iron. Perfectly it's going to go 150 (10% chance), hit well but possibly not center of the face it'll be 145 (60-70% chance). Anything else is, distance wise, is a chunk which I can't prepare for - it could go 20 yards, it could go 120. It's literally impossible to prepare for.

If I clubbed up to an 8, now I have even more places to miss. First of all, I hit 9 better than 8. So now I've introduced an additional factor of just being worse at hitting longer clubs. Now I can miss long, left, right, AND short because it's definitely possible I'll hit the 8 fat as well. So I'm no better off, and if, worst case, I thin it or a hit a pull, it could be 20-30yd long.

The real point here is to just know your distances. OP, are these people short hitting good shots? Or are they hitting it fat? That's important to know. I'm rarely, rarely short if I've hit a good shot because I know how far a good shot goes. Now, my "good shot" percentage may be like 65% of the time, but the other options (chunk, thin, slice, hook) are all much smaller percentages that really can't be planned for.

In general, just...how do people not know their distances? Have they never been to a range before? I don't get it. I got Game Golf recently, and distance-wise it's just confirmed how far my good shots go. The annoying part is it gives an average which includes every shot. Well if I chunk a 9 iron 20 yards, hit it sort of fat 130, and pure it 150, my average is now 100 yards! I'm certainly not going to be 100 yards out and hit a 9 iron based off of this knowledge.

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#194 North Butte

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Posted 09 September 2017 - 05:50 AM

By the way, if every hacker that DJ sees coming up 20 yards short with a 7-iron had pulled 5-iron instead, it is quite likely they would have also mishit the 5-iron and still came up well short.

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#195 596

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Posted 09 September 2017 - 08:38 AM

^^^^  This is most likely very true.   I worked on a course until a few weeks ago, when I retired, and 80% of all approach shots are well short.  10% are long only because it was skulled and 10% will hit the green and stay.  

Did they under club?  Probably not if they had hit a perfectly struck shot.  But 90% of them did not and the ball landed short, or skulled. 50% of the people I watch hit the ball way fat.  40% skull the s*** out of it and 10% hit a nice shot where they are aiming.

I was asked  a lot if I was afraid of getting hit by a ball.  In the 5 years I worked at the course, no one really came even close.  I worked on the greens nearly every day for 2 of those years and no one ever came close.   If I was hit it would have been on the foot with a rolling ball.  The best place to stand was behind the green in the middle.   I'll suppose that getting hit with a chip shot would probably not hurt.   That's 90% of all approach shots......chips!!


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#196 TollBros

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 05:27 AM

View PostNorth Butte, on 12 May 2017 - 02:28 PM, said:

I heard an after-dinner talk by an ex-Tour pro years ago, on the subject of golf course design and the Tour player. He said Tour players tend to like course where being pin-high left or right is better than being long or short. To their view controlling your distance correctly and just misses a few yards to one side of the other is a "better" shot than one coming 10+ yards short and therefore ought to be rewarded.

Of course that's the opposite of a lot of old-school courses with the back to front tilt and flanking bunkers, often with run-up areas open in front of the green. Hackers tend to enjoy that older style and not like courses with flattish greens protected in front by water and bunkers.

I agree 100%, and say that all the time. Green design should reward distance control over slight misses in direction. I'd much rather hit into wide, shallow greens.
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#197 freowho

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 06:39 AM

But we're selling hope people. Selling hope. I'm a big fan of course management and try and help my higher handicap playing partners when I can but you can't take an extra club because you think you will mishit it. Why would you play with the assumption that everything will be a mishit? I've often played bad rounds where 1 good shot is enough to come back again.

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#198 king_biscuit

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 11:59 AM

View PostMcgeeno, on 23 August 2017 - 02:44 PM, said:

Funny on Champions Learning centre, Jeff Sluman goes:

Well I've probably played with 30 thousand amateurs and none of them ever hit enough club to get the ball to the pin.

Like the OP said, and like I've said most poor golfers just think because they hit a 7 iron 160 once that is what they should always hit.

Scores would lower if they took more club and got it pin high a couple more times a round.

I think this is one of the most cliched things said about golf.  Good amateurs know their distances, and the great majority of crappy amateurs Sluman has played with can't hit the center of the clueface one time 18 holes, so it doesn't really matter what club they play.  Scores lower when people learn to keep the ball in play and chip and putt.

Edited by king_biscuit, 10 September 2017 - 11:59 AM.


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#199 Mcgeeno

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 08:13 PM

Yeah what would Sluman know. What a dummy.

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#200 BNGL

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 09:49 PM

View Postfillwelix, on 28 August 2017 - 01:39 PM, said:

View PostWedge Wizard, on 28 August 2017 - 12:51 PM, said:

First of all, why are you watching golfers hit their approach shots when you are suppose to be working. Edging the bunkers is not just a job for anyone. It takes a person with attention to detail, smooth hands, and a eye for beauty. A bunker that is edge bad cause devalue the integrity of the golf course, and put the question in the consumers head, I'm paying this much for that.
OSHA wouldn't want you operating the machinery without your up most attention. Also your superintendent is trusting you guys to do the job right, not analyze golfers playing.  

The old saying goes, most good players lay up, but it takes courage to go for the green.

Golfers hit shots into the green what, once every 10 minutes or so? I think it's safe to assume someone can pay attention to the job they're doing, and do it well, if they also notice where an approach shot lands (which only takes a second) every 10 minutes


Another thing to consider is that these greenskeepers are yielding to the golfers, which is a requirement to work at quite a few places I know. I get on my crew regularly for not yielding to play, especially around green complexes. I remember when I was a greenskeeper we were edging greenside bunkers, at a military base golf course DURING an air show, and one of the members asked us to stop the weedeaters while they were putting. I was a little incredulous, as the Thunderbirds were literally right overhead...but I learned a lesson that stuck with me and served me well. Most crew members do not play golf at all, but members have commented many times about how considerate the crew is in relation to letting golfers have the right away.

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#201 Petunia Sprinkle

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 10:44 PM

People 'underclub' in everything, not just golf. I think it was Dean Reinmuth who would have students guess the number he was thinking, only telling them if they were too high, or two low. Invariably, they would all keep guessing numbers that were too low. I've done this, a lot, with all kinds of people. Same thing, all their guesses are too low. The odd thing is, the higher they guess, the more absurd it seems to them, as if higher numbers are inherently more ridiculous than lower numbers. I'll tell some of them to make me say "too high" with their next guess. Most of them fail. Some will say "infinity" and then laugh as if they were joking. I just say "too high." (Stupid sheep.)

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#202 Quasimoto

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 09:10 PM

We used to stand right around the flagstick when waving up players on par 3's at a certain course I was member.
They were all fellow members so it was great to see if us standing there would give them the incentive to get it to the pin!
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#203 RSinSG

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 11:39 PM

Well, nothing has changed since my original post. I think 596's estimate of 80% is fairly accurate. Other than the lower handicap players that stand out and are easy to identify, almost everyone is short. Short as in 15 - 20 yards short. The next shot is a tricky pitch that is almost always short (unless it's skulled) leaving a vey difficult par or worse putt.

One thing I've gained from my observation is to always work hard on getting GIR's. When I miss the green it's typically a left or right miss as my buddy and I keep track of our short misses - especially putts, and coming up short gets you a ribbing.

For the record, and for any OSHA official who may be concerned, we stop working when players are hitting approach shots, and typically we move past pin high because that is a 90% safe zone. The only time I've been close to being hitwas from a nasty slice from the adjoining fairway.

I'm not telling you how to manage your game, but think of your last 10 rounds and consider how many times you lost strokes because you it too far. Now compare that to how many lost strokes from hitting it short and not getting up and in.
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#204 North Butte

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 05:05 AM

Most of the times I am 15-20 yards short of the hole (which would typically be 10 yards or so short of the green) I use my putter from the fairway.
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#205 QuigleyDU

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 08:00 AM

View PostRSinSG, on 14 September 2017 - 11:39 PM, said:

Well, nothing has changed since my original post. I think 596's estimate of 80% is fairly accurate. Other than the lower handicap players that stand out and are easy to identify, almost everyone is short. Short as in 15 - 20 yards short. The next shot is a tricky pitch that is almost always short (unless it's skulled) leaving a vey difficult par or worse putt. One thing I've gained from my observation is to always work hard on getting GIR's. When I miss the green it's typically a left or right miss as my buddy and I keep track of our short misses - especially putts, and coming up short gets you a ribbing. For the record, and for any OSHA official who may be concerned, we stop working when players are hitting approach shots, and typically we move past pin high because that is a 90% safe zone. The only time I've been close to being hitwas from a nasty slice from the adjoining fairway. I'm not telling you how to manage your game, but think of your last 10 rounds and consider how many times you lost strokes because you it too far. Now compare that to how many lost strokes from hitting it short and not getting up and in.

thank you for the info. Personally, i dont feel that i struggle with this but it is still something to consider when working on your game. there is a pretty good youtube video of Tiger woods doing a demo around 04 where he talks about always trying to be pin high.

Someone else mentioned that pros have great yardage control. it that especially comes into play with wedge play. when you are hitting half, 3 quarter etc wedge shots that require a lot of control in your swing. i tend to end up being long which can be just as bad of a killer. lots of down hill fast puts that end up as 3 jabbers.

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#206 HatsForBats

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 09:27 AM

When I am playing with someone I know and they keep coming up short I encourage them to hit more club. If they balk at the idea I tell them 'if the pin is on the back of the green then maybe back off half a club if you are worried. Otherwise until you consistently start hitting it to the back of the green or over the green keep clubbing up 1 (or more)'.

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#207 gambit

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 04:58 PM

View PostZ1ggy16, on 28 August 2017 - 02:40 PM, said:

View PostRSinSG, on 08 May 2017 - 10:54 PM, said:

Well, kind of an employee anyways. My buddy and I are both retired from and work four hours on Monday mornings at The Ledges. Nice public course that attracts all kinds of players.

Our job is edging the bunkers so we see a lot of approach shots. After doing this for 4 years here is my non-scientific observation: 95+ percent of golfers under club their approach shots. Maybe closer to 99%. It seems the only shots that go long are mis-hits.

It seems like such a simple fix yet literally 9 out of 10 golfers I watch consistently come up short – every time.  If I could give one bit of advice to someone struggling with GIR’s it would be for them to take one extra club. Ask yourself – how many times do you miss long?  Try it and see if it makes a difference.
At most courses I play, going long is 5x worse than being short. I go long... even by 5-7 yards, I'm in massive fescue type grass, at the bottom of a 8 foot slope, or in trees/OB. I come up short, I can chip on, maybe save par or worst case I'm bogey. If I'm long and the hole has any of those things, I'm lucky to save bogey.

Most of the time I'm not too short of my target. I'm usually around the green, but not actually on it (struggle with dispersion horizontally, aim, etc). Generally my chips when I am short are going to be easier pitching on to the green, then they would be from behind the green. But I do get the intended point... but I don't personally feel like it applies to me. It really does depend on the course. Some are lined with trees all over but in exchange for a shorter track. Some are flat and more open, but are longer or have much more undulation on the greens. I think that's why many golfers do pull up short though, it's their subconscious brain not let them accidentally crank that 6i 165 over the back when they really needed a strong 7i that went 155.

I agree with this. For me, at most of the courses I play, long is really not a good thing especially when greens are fast. Usually cart paths go behind the green, if there isn't much rough, so who knows where you're ball may go. If there is a good amount rough then it's usually a steep slope to be chipping down into a fast green. If I'm hitting my irons pretty good my miss is pin high, but usually left. Hitting a little fat or off the toe will obviously result in a shorter shot, but I'm usually still on the front of the green with a long putt or just off where I can chip pretty comfortably.
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#208 king_biscuit

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 01:28 PM

View PostRSinSG, on 14 September 2017 - 11:39 PM, said:

Well, nothing has changed since my original post. I think 596's estimate of 80% is fairly accurate. Other than the lower handicap players that stand out and are easy to identify, almost everyone is short. Short as in 15 - 20 yards short.

That's two clubs on a well hit shot.  I doubt all of these hundred shooters are simply pulling the wrong club, more likely they are mishitting their shots, and it wouldn't really matter what club they hit.

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#209 TollBros

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 04:23 AM

View Postfreowho, on 10 September 2017 - 06:39 AM, said:

But we're selling hope people. Selling hope. I'm a big fan of course management and try and help my higher handicap playing partners when I can but you can't take an extra club because you think you will mishit it. Why would you play with the assumption that everything will be a mishit? I've often played bad rounds where 1 good shot is enough to come back again.

I'd argue for most players that center contact is the mishit. Barely on the grooves off the toe side is where their wear pattern is, so that's their typical strike.
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#210 uitar9

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 08:16 AM

Been reading this post on and off. I don't hit long. A 200 yard drive is good for me. That includes roll.

Played a private members course yesterday I've only played the front 9. Last time there shot 55 for the front 9. Shot a 95 off the mens Whites. 6100 yards.

As I approached a green, especially in the 125 to 150 yard area, I used that extra club. I ended up hitting 3 or 4 greens I previously would have been short. I was never long. and those 3 or 4 greens translated to a few more saved shots, from chunking another short or sculling one across the green.

For example; my 6 iron rolls out to 115. Anything between 106 and up to that I used a 6. If it was 117, I used a 5. I didn't just hit my 6 harder.

I keep hearing a male should hit 7 iron 150 yards. If I try to achieve that I'm gonna have no fun golfing. I can only hit what I can hit. Forward and findable.


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