Missing Our Approach Shots

Golfing is a strange game. When discussing approach shots on Twitter  I asked where most players missed. I did not stipulate how far or with which club, but I still have over 100 responses. Given where I miss the most, I am not surprised by the feedback of the respondents.

As an amateur, I am a bit surprised that only 45% players hit the ball short. I would have thought that number to be a bit larger. Regardless, I suggest that if we clubbed up a bit and played more aggressively that this number would drop. It is an easy fix because it is just a matter of hitting the ball a bit farther. I know this is one aspect of my approach shots I need to work on…..constantly!

The next closest category is left. This one I am in complete agreement. As a right-handed player, pulling the ball off-line is nothing new. During my game though, I find that the distance between 40 and 75 yards is the worse. It is not a full swing and the more I try to lay off the swing, the more I pull it left. This happens with all my wedges and something I need to work on during my next few practice sessions.

Good approach shots and the GIR stat directly proportional. Greens in Regulation is a statistic that refers to the number of times during your round you are on the game putting for a birdie or eagle. The total percentage is calculated as follows: # of greens hit / 18 x 100 = GIR percentage. For example 12 / 18 / X 100 = 66.66%. The better the approach shot, the better chances of the ball landing on the green, thus a higher GIR. As I have stated in previous posts, the GIR stat is the most important. The higher the GIR, the lower the score.

Where do you miss your approach shots?

I am grateful golfer! See you on the links!

16 thoughts on “Missing Our Approach Shots

  1. Jim,
    I definitely miss short more than I miss long. I think sometimes it’s a mis-club issue, but at my home course missing long is almost always way worse than missing short, so I tend to try really hard to keep my approach shots below the hole. So while sometimes i might be delusional in how far I think can hit it, most times I like to think I’m playing strategically 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey Jim

    My bad misses tend to be a tug left and historically have been short.

    Until my coach got me to try a different tactic. Taking into account where it is safer to miss as mentioned in another reply, anything outside 100 yards you can aim and club up for the back of the green.

    For example, if your best 7 iron is 160 yards then as amateurs we are more likely NOT to hit our best shot every time than we are to achieve it. So if the back of the green is 170 yards which could be your best 6 iron and the pin is 150, then go with the 6 iron. If hit well you will just be at the back of the green, no problem, if more likely you hit it ‘OK’ but not great, you will be nearer your intended pin position.

    As shown in your feedback Jim, many amateurs miss short because they work out distances based on their ‘best’ shot with each club and not their average shot results. (BTW Trackman is the best tool to work out your carry distances and average total distance for every club, you will be surprised!)

    Anything within 50 to 100 yards, try aiming for the middle of the green irrespective of where the flag is. If you can hit the green in the middle consistently, the maximum putt you will ever have is only half the size of the green. Statistically it improves accuracy and distance from pin measurements. My coach tried this with some pro students and he took away the flags so they didn’t know where the hole was so had to aim at the middle of the green, they all played to lower scores!

    Of course, the more accomplished you are as a player the more refined you could make these drills, e.g. if you can control distance a little better, aim for just 5 yards past pins and if your short game is good aim for the middle of a ‘zone’ on the green not just the whole green (just like they do at Augusta!)

    As always, Swing Easy!

    Paul at Team Blind Apple

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi Jim
    When I do miss those short range shots it is usually to the right, but what annoys me the most is hitting the green, only to see it roll off the side. Does hitting the green, and then rolling off count as a green in regulation ?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jim, definitely left for me. I’ve got that little flip with my hands at the impact point and haven’t visited the right side of a hole in quite a while. Think I may have found something on Wednesday at the range that will help and will battle test it over the long holiday weekend.

    Play well!


    Liked by 1 person

      • After reading your reply to Brian I thought I should mention this just as a word of caution. Just before the little draw I was hitting turned into a hook I couldn’t solve I was moving the ball back in my stance too. I’m not saying it will happen to you of course, but I do believe that was the catalyst for the problem I developed and had such trouble getting rid of.

        I’m pretty sure the reason why I felt the need to move the ball back was because I was getting stuck on my back foot in the swing because I swayed back instead of making a proper turn with my hips. I just wanted to share that thought with you because I firmly believe that my attempt at solving left only made the issue worse in the long run.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Kevin

        Great points. Brian is a student of the game as well and enjoys working on his swing. He is currently in the middle of lessons and changes. Thanks for the words of caution. They are always welcome.



  5. It sure is hard for me to write something short when I start in on a golf subject. Sorry, but this is the short version after 3 attempts.

    My normal miss is short. It’s been that way for years. But today it is for a different reason than in the past. Today it is because on my home course, that is the safe miss. It’s not because I tend to chunk it anymore. And it’s not because I am choosing the wrong club.

    Yesterday though was different. I was working on lag yesterday, so during the 27 holes I managed to get in I had a few miss right when I got my timing wrong, one go left and a couple yards long when I got some draw on it I wasn’t trying for, and the rest that missed went long. One of those was because I bladed it, but I had a few that I simply hit longer thanks to actually getting the lag into the swing correctly. My normal 7 iron is good for 155 from the 90% (my full swing) position and I hit a couple that landed around 170. And I hit a couple 4 irons off the tee out to 220 which is a good twenty yards extra distance. They all had a nice tall, pretty flights to them so I knew I had done exactly what I needed to do. Now I’m looking forward to Saturday so I can try it again. But Saturday I won’t be going long. I’ll be clubbing down because as I said, it’s safest to miss short where I usually play.

    If you are interested in how I managed to add lag, I purposely did exactly the opposite of what felt natural to me. I held off allowing my wrist to cock longer than normal as I started the back swing. It cocked some naturally, but not nearly as much as usual. I was trying to feel the cock increase as I started the downswing and holding off from cocking early or fully gave me that feel and the result I hoped to find. I held the cock longer and ended up hitting farther with no extra effort.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kevin

      I have worked on a lag in my swing as well. I have not mastered it yet, but continue to work on this swing change. Thanks for the update, it helps the readers see others making changes and being successful.



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