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It's time to work on your short game

dennis clark short game putting instruction

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#1 zakkozuchowski

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 11:59 AM

By Dennis Clark, GolfWRX Contributor

Let me bore you with some statistics: The average handicap in this country is 18 for men, 28 for women. But that's misleading, because the real average golfer doesn't even have a handicap.

There are 25 million or so golfers in the United States. Of those, perhaps 5 million have registered handicaps, the so-called avid golfers. So the handicap system is utilized by no more than 20 percent of all people who list golf as a hobby in this country. The rest either play too infrequently or, for whatever reasons, do not choose to record their scores. So there's a good chance that the real average golfer handicap is a lot higher than the figures I quoted above.

We use the phrase Greens in Regulation (GIR) to describe the number of times a golfer is on a par 3 in one shot, a par 4 in two shots and a par 5 in three or less shots. But let's flip that stat to "Greens Missed in Regulation" (GMR). The scratch (zero handicap) golfer misses seven to eight greens a round, the 85 shooter misses 14 to 15 greens and the 100 shooter misses all the greens on average.

That is why short shots constitute 60 to 65 percent of the game (putting alone is 40 percent). So the 85 shooter will take roughly 50 to 55 short shots a round. Yet 90 percent of the requests I get are for full swing lessons. In other words, 10 percent of golfers want lessons on the shots they play 65 percent of the time and 90 percent of golfers want lessons on shots they play 35 percent of the time. Go to a driving range or any practice facility in the country. If you see 20 golfers practicing at that facility, I'm betting that 17 or 18 will be hitting balls, and maybe two or three will be chipping or putting. This should be in Ripley's Believe It or Not!

I want you to consider this: If students are missing 14 greens a round, and they work hard on their swing and make a huge improvement in their ball striking, those golfers will still miss 12 greens a round in regulation. The point of all this is obvious: Take more lessons and spend more time on the short game. Here's why I think it will lead to better scoring: Most golfers could practice until the cows come home and never hit the golf ball anything like a professional. There is so much going on in the full swing, it is unrealistic to even consider another 40 yards or the type of compression a pro generates. But I do not think it is unrealistic to believe the amateur could chip and putt perhaps, not like a pro, but more "pro like." The motion involved in a chip, a putt or even a little pitch can be learned so much easier than a full swing. Practicing these shots is by far the quickest way to lower scores.

Every year at the beginning of the season, it is a great idea to set goals and make golf resolutions. All the people who play for a living keep statistics on their games. These stats help them identify weaknesses. Maybe something like: I missed 12 greens; I was left with two bunker shots, three pitches and seven chips. How many chips did I get up and down, how many pitches, how many three-putts etc. Sometimes when players think they are strong in a certain area, they tend to spend less time working on it. By charting the shots, they soon discover how they are actually doing in that area!

Final thought: Often golfers think they lack feel in this area of the game, when in fact what is lacking is technique. I know for myself when I am thinking mechanics, I have zero feel for that shot. Worrying about hitting the ground or how far back the club goes or any other mechanical part of the swing is a prescription for disaster! Take some short game lessons, develop confidence in the stroke, and then all your  focus can be on feeling that shot. Get the little swing down so routine that you don't have to think about it.


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#2 juststeve

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 12:47 PM

I couldn't agree more but in time you will find folk who disagree strongly.  I wish we had some reliable way of knowing what kind of handicaps those who think the secret to scoring is in the long game play to.

Steve

#3 wetdogsmell

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 12:54 PM

So you are saying I need a new shaft for my putter and wedges? :)

#4 whatsecret

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 01:17 PM

If you can't chip and putt, you can't score. But if you slice a drive OB on the 1st you might as well go home; that ain't gonna be much fun.

I think this is what you're missing. You stated yourself the percentages that don't even have a handicap; if they could consistently hit a full shot
to get into a scoring position then they might worry about chipping and start thinking about a handicap.

That's the way I look at it and am goin about it.

#5 Dennis Clark

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 01:22 PM

View Postjuststeve, on 31 January 2013 - 12:47 PM, said:

I couldn't agree more but in time you will find folk who disagree strongly.  I wish we had some reliable way of knowing what kind of handicaps those who think the secret to scoring is in the long game play to.

Steve

Well Steve Ive got 30 years of teaching those people under my belt, I'd say that's a fairly reliable source of watching handicaps...I had a guy once who could not break 40 for nine holes whatever he did.  On the lesson tee the ball GREAT.  So i played nine holes with him.  I said, "you hit the ball once on the par threes, twice on the par fours, and three times on the par fives, the ILL FINISH THE HOLE FROM WHEREVER THE BALL IS".  We shot 37.


#6 theothertomjones

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 01:30 PM

Honestly my short game is the strongest of my game. My putting could use some work as I 2 putt I would say more than half my putts. My handicap is in the high teens.

Historically its my drives that kill my game. I was able to straighten out my driver this past week mid-round right at the turn. That typically left me with ~100 yard approaches on short par 4's, and around 150-170 yard approaches on longer par 4's. This is much more manageable than me leaving the driver in the bag, using 3W off the tee, and leaving at or more than 190/200 yard approaches on longer par 4's. I usually hit my 3W about 220-230. Driver is around 240-260.

I cut 4 strokes off the back 9 by straightening out my driver. +13 on the front, +9 on the back, just started playing a year ago.

To your (fantastic) point:
When I go to the range I always start and finish with chipping while picking 2 or 3 specific clubs to work on in-between. In that in-between Im hitting wedges, mid irons, long irons, or hybrid/fairway woods. I hit around 300-400 balls/week. When chipping I focus on 15 - 65 yard shots. Besides, its the easiest way for me to warmup and cool down with a bad back. Then I go to the putting green for about 15 minutes.

Edited by theothertomjones, 31 January 2013 - 01:32 PM.


#7 sonofagunn

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 01:35 PM

I don't disagree - but for the non-handicap crowd that shoots 100 or so, the game just isn't that much fun when you're in lakes, out-of-bounds, popping up drives, chunking irons 30 yards (and then walking up and doing it again), etc.

For *enjoyment* purposes, those people need to fix their full swing until those really bad results become less of a problem, then switch to short game to really lower their scores.

#8 theothertomjones

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 01:45 PM

I agree you need to, in the basic of a golf swing, hit a ball straight with contact. You dont have to have consistent ball flight and shape shots, but at least get the clubhead square to the ball and send it in front of you. From there worry about your chipping/putting. I think the article addresses the golfer after the former, which is why he focuses on the latter.

#9 Dennis Clark

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 01:47 PM

Exactly.  See that's the point I'm making.  MOST people don't come to me to score better.  If they did I'd give all short game lessons.  Hitting the ball better, though it has very little to do with scoring better, is more FUN.  And that's people want.  That and keeping up distance wise with their buds.

#10 Jens0n

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 01:58 PM

Dennis, I'm with you 100% !

Cat one golfer of the last 22 years and the best scoring years have been those where I'm spending much time practicing the short game.

Good article, thanks.


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#11 mikpga

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 02:32 PM

Amen!

#12 Dixie Flatline

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 02:53 PM

Dennis, I agree and disagree about the importance of short game.  I think the value is a little more nuanced than that.

First, I'd nitpick your numbers a little bit.  You write that the 85 shooter is missing 14-15 greens and taking 50-55 short shots per round and you end up thinking that the short game is 60% of the game for that player.  That technically maybe true, but most players (even scratch guys) finish most holes by tapping in or making a putt of less than 6'.  So that's probably 15-16 or more of those 50-55 shots.  That's technically short game, but not the chipping and putting everyone thinks of.  I think of putting as a different skill set.

Second, I'd differentiate between the advantages of basic competency and being truly skilled. I agree that most 85 shooters need short game lessons and to practice, but passed a certain point, it needs to take a backseat to ball striking.  Numerous studies have found that the biggest predictor of score is GIR.  You don't need to be a short game wizard and think you can get up and down from everywhere, you just need to be able to hit solid chips and pitches, so that your bad shots are still on the green and no more than 15'-20' and that you can hit the green out of the sand.  If you can do this, your short game isn't necessarily "costing" you shots.

Putting is huge to me.  Everyone can be taught to be a decent short putter and lag putter.  If you are a good short and mid-range putter, your short game is better automatically.

What every 85 shooter needs from his short game is to reliably take no more than 3 more shots to hole from anywhere within 40 yards.  

Once that yard stick is accomplished, getting the long game to a point where he can be on or around every green in regulation is way more important than working hard to make sure the chips finish stone dead instead of 5'-6'.

And finally, I disagree with your assessment of most people's full swing ability.  You write that they could practice forever and never hit the ball like a pro.  That's absolutely true, but that's mainly because they'll never generate that level of power.  I'm a ex-pro and decent am and I certainly don't.  But that doesn't mean that people can't learn a swing that allows them to swing on a decent plane, hit the ball somewhat solidly (ball first contact), with a little lean, and a somewhat square face.  You need to eliminate the disaster shots:  the OB's and lost balls, tops, shanks, and chunks.

Then they have to just accept the power they have and play the appropriate tees.  Tiger hits a smooth well-sequenced 7 iron and it goes 185.  I do the same and I get 160-165.  A guy at our club is 70.  He hits it solid and probably gets 130 out of the 7.  If he tried to hit it 160, his swing would get all messed up.  If I try to hit it 185, I get all out of sorts.

The remedy is to hit the appropriate club and play the correct tees.

I'm sure you're reading this and thinking that most people won't practice enough or correctly to achieve the things I listed as doable for the full swing.  But if those people won't invest that time in their long games and take lessons, they probably aren't going to do so for the short game, either.

So, in short, I think you focus on short game early as a way to both achieve basic competency and reinforce proper impact.  Then it's just maintenance of short game technique and long game until the player gets to a level where he's hitting 11-12 GIR per round.  Then that short game becomes the weakness.

IMO, the fastest way for most guys to improve their scores is to practice putting.  Learn the basics of good putting technique.  Work on setup, alignment, aim, and the stroke with feedback devices at home for 10 minutes per day.  It doesn't take much work to just reinforce those fundamentals.  Then everyday you practice, stop by the putting green and work on 6' putts.  Hit four six footers from around the cup, then lag all the balls to the next cup and repeat.  Roll a few from 3' and 9' to see how the reads change.  For most guys, making 50%-60% of the six footers will take several strokes off the cap pretty quick.

#13 sblack5

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 03:13 PM

How many people that keep a handicap keep a long and short game cap tho?......I did and it helped my instructor figure out where I was losing strokes.....turned out that I could hit greens even from a rough lie and had a 70% save rate but Id lose 6 shots a round from driving the ball ob.   Some of it was full swing and some was course management....managing how I thought to play a hole helped me to better select how to tee off and what club to pull that would give me the highest percentage of chance that I could hit to scoring position off the tee.  Working on my full swing so I had better contact thru the bag so I could properly execute what I wanted to do also made a huge difference
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#14 sonofagunn

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 03:18 PM

I use golfplan - which, if you also use golfshot, will compare your stats (fairways %, GIR %, scrambling %, putts-per-GIR, and sand save %) to others of a similar handicap. I have slightly better driving and GIRs, and my short game is worse than others with a similar handicap, especially sand saves.

#15 juststeve

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 04:28 PM

Dixie:

You are living in the land of make believe if you think average golfers should get their G.I.R. to 11-12 and then work on the short game.  The average G.I.R. on tour is currently 70.15 % or a bit more than 12.  That's well beyond the reach of most golfers.

The thread starter was exactly right in suggesting that work on the short game is the road to better scores.  One reason folks don't score better is they would rather work on things that don't lead to better scores.

Steve

Steve


#16 Dennis Clark

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 05:10 PM

View PostDixie Flatline, on 31 January 2013 - 02:53 PM, said:

Dennis, I agree and disagree about the importance of short game.  I think the value is a little more nuanced than that.

First, I'd nitpick your numbers a little bit.  You write that the 85 shooter is missing 14-15 greens and taking 50-55 short shots per round and you end up thinking that the short game is 60% of the game for that player.  That technically maybe true, but most players (even scratch guys) finish most holes by tapping in or making a putt of less than 6'.  So that's probably 15-16 or more of those 50-55 shots.  That's technically short game, but not the chipping and putting everyone thinks of.  I think of putting as a different skill set.

Second, I'd differentiate between the advantages of basic competency and being truly skilled. I agree that most 85 shooters need short game lessons and to practice, but passed a certain point, it needs to take a backseat to ball striking.  Numerous studies have found that the biggest predictor of score is GIR.  You don't need to be a short game wizard and think you can get up and down from everywhere, you just need to be able to hit solid chips and pitches, so that your bad shots are still on the green and no more than 15'-20' and that you can hit the green out of the sand.  If you can do this, your short game isn't necessarily "costing" you shots.

Putting is huge to me.  Everyone can be taught to be a decent short putter and lag putter.  If you are a good short and mid-range putter, your short game is better automatically.

What every 85 shooter needs from his short game is to reliably take no more than 3 more shots to hole from anywhere within 40 yards.  

Once that yard stick is accomplished, getting the long game to a point where he can be on or around every green in regulation is way more important than working hard to make sure the chips finish stone dead instead of 5'-6'.

And finally, I disagree with your assessment of most people's full swing ability.  You write that they could practice forever and never hit the ball like a pro.  That's absolutely true, but that's mainly because they'll never generate that level of power.  I'm a ex-pro and decent am and I certainly don't.  But that doesn't mean that people can't learn a swing that allows them to swing on a decent plane, hit the ball somewhat solidly (ball first contact), with a little lean, and a somewhat square face.  You need to eliminate the disaster shots:  the OB's and lost balls, tops, shanks, and chunks.

Then they have to just accept the power they have and play the appropriate tees.  Tiger hits a smooth well-sequenced 7 iron and it goes 185.  I do the same and I get 160-165.  A guy at our club is 70.  He hits it solid and probably gets 130 out of the 7.  If he tried to hit it 160, his swing would get all messed up.  If I try to hit it 185, I get all out of sorts.

The remedy is to hit the appropriate club and play the correct tees.

I'm sure you're reading this and thinking that most people won't practice enough or correctly to achieve the things I listed as doable for the full swing.  But if those people won't invest that time in their long games and take lessons, they probably aren't going to do so for the short game, either.

So, in short, I think you focus on short game early as a way to both achieve basic competency and reinforce proper impact.  Then it's just maintenance of short game technique and long game until the player gets to a level where he's hitting 11-12 GIR per round.  Then that short game becomes the weakness.

IMO, the fastest way for most guys to improve their scores is to practice putting.  Learn the basics of good putting technique.  Work on setup, alignment, aim, and the stroke with feedback devices at home for 10 minutes per day.  It doesn't take much work to just reinforce those fundamentals.  Then everyday you practice, stop by the putting green and work on 6' putts.  Hit four six footers from around the cup, then lag all the balls to the next cup and repeat.  Roll a few from 3' and 9' to see how the reads change.  For most guys, making 50%-60% of the six footers will take several strokes off the cap pretty quick.

Dixie:  Thx for reply.  11-12 greens is a PLUS handicap, playing off the appropriate tees.  My students over the years have not simply lacked the power of a tour pro, they lack the consistency of even a good player.  To bottom out in front of the golf ball, and square the face is a much greater challenge than non-teachers may realize. It is a very rare occurance, to say the least.  And to do it time after time with force is something 99% of golfers can only dream about.  When you spend all day every day teaching this game for 30 years, you get a keen appreciation of how difficult it is to consistently propel the golf ball.  I have had very few cases where I made a significant change in a golf swing to the point where it becomes unconsciously competent. It is much easier, from a teachers perspective, to achieve that state from 50 yards than 150. But i certainly appreciate your point.   DC

#17 Dennis Clark

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 05:13 PM

View Postsonofagunn, on 31 January 2013 - 03:18 PM, said:

I use golfplan - which, if you also use golfshot, will compare your stats (fairways %, GIR %, scrambling %, putts-per-GIR, and sand save %) to others of a similar handicap. I have slightly better driving and GIRs, and my short game is worse than others with a similar handicap, especially sand saves.

Great idea; then you know exactly where you stand in relation to your "peers".  When I hear "short game is the best part of my game" my thought is:  Compared to what or who?

#18 chirotennis

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 05:55 PM

I'll take only a slightly altered view of this...  2 years ago I was averaging 105 on a medium difficulty course (71.4, 126), the first thing I worked on was my driving and full irons because I was all over the place (trees, water, bunkers)  and you can't score if you aren't in position to, after a year I was shooting 88-90.  I was putting myself in a position to score, but not able to.  I then transitioned my preparation over to working on 100 yds and in, after about 6-9 months of that, I broke 80 for the first time.  My putting still needs lots of work, but now I'm an 8 hcp.

I will say for the player that shoots over 95, the long full swings are more important, first off people won't stick with the game long enough to get good if they are playing from behind trees, in rocks, and elsewhere all over the course getting frustrated, and secondly, even if they do stick with it, they won't ever get NEAR the green in par or less...

However, if a person wants to get into a single digit handicap then your above statement is absolutely true.  You can't get to a single digit without being able to score from available positions, just remember you have to be in those positions in the first place.
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#19 cac022

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 05:57 PM

Cheers for the article Dennis.

It doesn't help your short game being in the North of Scotland and having pretty poor short game facilities! I was out in Florida last year and played at OCN a couple of times. Loved that place! Was able to spend much more time on the short game out there.

I go from playing links to parkland here and most of the courses are 6000 odd yards and pretty tight of the tee. When I go out I'm thinking more about keeping the ball in play than chipping and putting well. Knowing that if I drive straight I'm going to have a short club in my hand.  Would you not agree that on some courses hitting the straight ball rather than chipping and putting well will have a greater significance on the score?

Have you seen this scoring tool on the aimpoint site? Its says that GIR accounts for 43% towards your score

http://www.aimpointg...o.uk/score.html

#20 theothertomjones

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 05:59 PM

View PostWoodlands2, on 31 January 2013 - 05:13 PM, said:

When I hear "short game is the best part of my game" my thought is:  Compared to what or who?

In comparison to my long game I suppose? Perhaps I should have said Im most comfortable with my short game than long game?

Its much easier for me, personally to be more accurate with a SW than a 4H. But I would think this generality is true for most everyone.


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#21 fairways4life

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 06:07 PM

Good read.

I'm a 6 handicap and the first to admit that I spend way more time on the full swing than I do with the short game. Why? Because chipping and putting is boring to me. I can stand on the range all day and hit moonshots and never get tired of it. It's fun. But after 10 minutes on the putting green or chipping green I just lose interest.

I know I could be a low handicap or even a scratch player with an improved short game and putting. It's something I've wrestled with many times before. I've tried playing little chipping and putting games to make practice more fun but to little avail. I average 8 greens per round but only break 80 on my better days.

It's no secret to me where I need to improve if I want to lower my scores. This article just pounded into my head what I already knew. I think there's plenty of golfers out there just like me. People who love hitting balls but find little pleasure in chipping and putting.

#22 PJ72

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 06:19 PM

View Postjuststeve, on 31 January 2013 - 04:28 PM, said:

Dixie:

You are living in the land of make believe if you think average golfers should get their G.I.R. to 11-12 and then work on the short game.  The average G.I.R. on tour is currently 70.15 % or a bit more than 12.  That's well beyond the reach of most golfers.

The thread starter was exactly right in suggesting that work on the short game is the road to better scores.  One reason folks don't score better is they would rather work on things that don't lead to better scores.

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I think you both have valid points but the pros play courses that are upto 1000 yards longer than your average golfer plays. 12/13 GIR is incredible on 7000+ yard courses. I play off 8 and i hit around 10 greens per round but the course is only 6600ish. My weak point is my driving, and i regularly lose a ball or two OB.

Dixie has an interesting view point on the 'short game stats'. I mean if 60% of shots are classed as short game, then probably a third of that are just tap-ins. You don't need to practice them. So, i think he's right - the short game is probably on an equal or slightly more important footing than the long game.

Edited by PJ72, 31 January 2013 - 06:22 PM.


#23 Dennis Clark

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 06:23 PM

did you say you average 10+ GIR and you're an 8 handicap?  Did I read that right?

#24 Pepperturbo

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 06:31 PM

I disagree with the thinking 100yds in is, for most golfers, the answer.  Most golfers do NOT hit their drive far enough to have their 2nd shot in be a wedge of any sort.  I'd tell people to practice mid-long irons, and when those are reasonably tuned, move to wedges.  Least then, there is a greater chance of reaching the green, or being inside of 50yds.  I can't count how many times I've watched someone with a wedge in hand, miss the green.

When someone misses the fairway, it means either mid-long iron or replacement club towards the green, which likely misses, leaving a +/- 50yd shot to the pin.  Heavy practice from Sixty (60yds) improves the odds of getting the ball closer to the pin, so making a putt grows possible.  Remember, PGA pro proximity to the hole is 35' 8", and scrambling is 63%.  IMO  determine "how to..." is just as much part of good judgment as course management.

Edited by Pepperturbo, 31 January 2013 - 06:33 PM.

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#25 stryper

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 06:36 PM

View Postfairways4life, on 31 January 2013 - 06:07 PM, said:

Good read.

I'm a 6 handicap and the first to admit that I spend way more time on the full swing than I do with the short game. Why? Because chipping and putting is boring to me. I can stand on the range all day and hit moonshots and never get tired of it. It's fun. But after 10 minutes on the putting green or chipping green I just lose interest.

I know I could be a low handicap or even a scratch player with an improved short game and putting. It's something I've wrestled with many times before. I've tried playing little chipping and putting games to make practice more fun but to little avail. I average 8 greens per round but only break 80 on my better days.

It's no secret to me where I need to improve if I want to lower my scores. This article just pounded into my head what I already knew. I think there's plenty of golfers out there just like me. People who love hitting balls but find little pleasure in chipping and putting.

But that pleasure increases exponentially when you start getting it up and down from everywhere, when missing a green means a kick in par for you, as opposed to a bogey or worse for your mates.  Yes you do have to get it close to the GIR, but you'll raise a whole lot of eyebrows when you're killing them with wedges.

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#26 goobers80

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 06:49 PM

You are trying to convince peoples ideas that they will never agree with. Just be content knowing the ones who *WanT* to gets betters , will seek short game help , or maybe are embarassed to ask , or you coulds come rights out and says you woulds like them to spend some time on short game stuffs to improve scorings. They will give an answer.

I gave guy on here tip abouts chipping and he says golf has never been more *relaxing* to him.  I thinks have to show peoples what they are *missing* or *overlookings* before they are willings to accept it on just a Website article or words from mouth.

Peoples call my golf game boring , which is okays for me. I have made it all so simple , hard to really mess up badly. So , soons i will be working hards at keeping up my level of finding fairways. If i am in play , i keep a great score. If not , i keep near par. I wants great scores instead.

For me , i was always in play but never quite sure how to hit greens. It sounds sort of dumb to says , but on advice of my caddy , i took *full* shot approaches outs of my game and hit over 10 greens a round now. I will punch outs to 80 or 100 yards if under trouble and have a par putt. I makes bogey at worse and never make those double or triples from the *hero* shots.

I coulds hit 80% of fairways and hit like 5 greens before , so i knew it was more *How* i played golf , not how i swung.

I use *upper body* swings from 150 yards and in now. Won a state tournament and hit i think 16 greens in regulations. I made 0 birdies, nots from putting bad , but nots really having idea how to make a putt.

So , caddy gave tip on how Freddie Couples used like a clock to represents the holes and see it fallings in at a certain time. Also putt speeds , like 1 grip past , or 2 grips shorts. Gives me a more *visual* feel of the putts. I am more a *visual feel* player. I made that phrase up , but i do nots *feel* golf in my body , i feels it in my brain and i see it in my eyes. So , now have something to works on for the bigger tournaments or qualifying things i try this year.

For AverageJoeGolfer  , i thinks short game will never be a priority. I think short game is more for those who *WanT* to get better at scorings. Not sharing tips and talking crap to weekend golfing buddies.  

It is also why when practicing more guys are starings at me swinging on range and nots watching me putt or hit bunkers shots.  Also *helps* being girl that hits it well , ins terms of being watched.

Peoples just thinks the longer shots are *fun* .  As a teacher try to make students find *FuN*  in short game and they may be more willings to praticipate in its. Ask a average golfer what he finds fun in short game.  My first coach told me that he hated practicing short game , he gave up two putts in.  It was then i decided he was nots for me and looked elsewheres. Evens some PGA *professionals* find short game borings.
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#27 DaveLeeNC

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 06:58 PM

FWIW, I have a fairly rich 'stats system'. From what I can determine for MY game (index typically in the 5-7 range), short game and long game are equally important.

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 07:22 PM

I'll have to comment that "it all depends" on each individual golfer.  As some have mentioned above I also started by working on ball striking at full wedges up to driver.  I got to a 2.7 in about 2.5 years.  I never practiced putting or chipping more then once or twice a month.  I figure if I can get to or near the green in regulation then I'm no worse then bogey golf.  Add a few up and downs and I'm low to mid 80's at worse.  Add in a few pars/or birdies and I'm in the 70's.  I worked really well for me.

BUT - everyone is different.  Some people MUST practice putting or 3 putts are common.  Some people need to practice chipping or they are sculling/or flubbing shots and adding to the score.  Most people I play golf with, they are the type that do not have a handicap, need to practice the long game.  Tons of lost balls, lots of OB, lots of topped drivers and fat irons.  They are good to go when getting on the green to save a triple bogey.  Why bother spending hours and hours practicing putting to save a triple bogey....you lost 5 strokes trying to get to the green.  Any 2 semi-decent shots will put anyone within a bogey on any 4 par (please adjust to par 3 and 5's).

Why is that person shooting 105?  Was it the 38 putts? or was it the 3 OB's, the 8 fat shots, the 6 thin shots and the 3 topped drivers from the tee?  No way that guy lost 20 strokes around the green.  Yes, he chipped 2 extra times and had 2 3 putts.....thats a whopping 4 strokes.  he could have saved that and 2 more had he not pounded 3 balls OB.

My point is beginning golfers need to practice the long game first.  Learn ball contact and a semi-repeatable swing.  Then worry about scoring.

Yes.....keep stats for your game.  Learn where your mistakes are and practice from there. My point is the game should be taught from tee to green, not as most people say, green to tee, that seems bassackwards to me : )

#29 Obee

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 07:29 PM

If you want to get better, ask guys that are plus handicappers how they got better. There will be a common thread that runs through their responses:

1) Drive it EITHER straight and decent length OR long and relatively straight
2) 3-putt rarely
3) Get up and down a good percentage of the time

In short: To be a good golfer you have to be pretty good at everything. For every one area of the game that you are NOT solid at, you need to be REALLY good at something else to compensate.

#30 rhh7

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 07:40 PM

http://www.columbia....ie_20110408.pdf

"Concluding remarks
The availability of detailed golf shot data makes it possible to create golf measures that allow
consistent comparisons between different parts of the game. Using the starting and ending locations
of each shot, strokes gained gives the number of strokes a golfer gains or loses relative to an average
PGA TOUR tournament field. Analysis of over eight million shots on the PGA TOUR in 2003-
2010 shows that the long game (defined as shots starting over 100 yards from the hole) accounts
for more than two-thirds of the scoring differences between PGA TOUR golfers. In the 2003-2010
data, Tiger Woods led in total strokes gained, with a gain of 3.20 strokes per 18-hole round. He
gained 2.08 strokes (65% of the total) in the long game. A preliminary analysis of the impact of
the new groove rule for irons that went into effect on the PGA TOUR in 2010 showed, somewhat
surprisingly, that there has been almost no impact of the rule on scores."


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