Playing Smart Golf Is Easy

This is no glib statement. I honestly believe that every player can easily play smart golf. It is a matter of putting into practice, what you practice. This seems like a very simple process and it is; it is a matter of playing your game so that it fits the strokes your repeatedly made in the practice area. That is what I am doing and it is paying off.

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Lost – One Short Game – If Found Please Return

Over the past 10 or 15 rounds, I found that my approach shots from 60 to 5 yards from the green are well below my expectations. Of course every golfer wants to have tap in shots, but goodness, my short game is struggling. Do not get me wrong, I make the odd shot that is very good, but my average results is a good 10 to 15 feet farther away than normal and I find this very frustrating!

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Keeping Stats in Golf

Yesterday I mentioned I would show you how I keep my stats when I play. There is nothing spectacular or earth shattering about my process, but the simplicity of my method might be helpful. I try to keep these stats during every round because (good or bad) it will help me focus on specifics during my training regime.

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Drive for Show – Putt for Dough!

Loyalist Country Club (12)

Putting for Dough!

Drive for Show – Putt for Dough is nothing new to any fanatic golfer. For some, it is how they build their golf game. Yet for others, it means absolutely nothing!

My question is: which is more important for an amateur golfer: driving for show or putting for dough?

Over the past 15 years, the top professional golfers have increased their average driving distance by 20 yards. In 2000, John Daly was the only player to average over 300 years. Today, there are 25 players who average over 300 yards off the tee! I think the increase in distance can be attributed to technology, but also the philosophy of “get it as close to the green and let your short game take over!” We can thank Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson for that shift in thought.

For professional golfers, both driving distance and putting are equally important. Their GIR, putting, and scrambling percentages have not changed much in the past 15 years. And except for Tiger Woods in 2000 (who was a full 2 strokes per round better than everyone else) the average number of strokes per round has not changed.

Therefore, even though professional golfers are 20 yards farther off the tee in 2015, not much else has changed since 2000. If this is the case, how do all these stats apply to the amateur golfer?

Well, the short answer is that they really do not apply!

Amateur golfers are a different. They are not at the top of the sport and most have swing issues that professional golfers do not contend with week in and week out. Most amateurs already have a job and it is not on the golf course, so their ability to focus and dedicate time to improving is usually limited.

Keeping all this in mind, where should amateurs focus their efforts to become a better golfer. I have discussed quick fixes in earlier posts, but ultimately amateurs should use Pareto’s Principle of 80/20. I recommend amateurs with a handicap greater than 15 to focus 80% of their time on their short game (25 yards and closer). This number will slide slightly as their scores lower. But, focusing on your short game as a higher handicapper is how to make the best use of your practice time.

I am 2.8 handicap and spend 60% of my time practicing my short game. In my short game practice, I include shots from 25 yards, 15 yards, 5 yards, out of the sand, odd lies and of course putting. I refine my focus to address known areas of weakness in my game, but for the most part practice the short shots mentioned above. Consistently practicing my short game has lower my scores over the years and will be the main focus as I reach my goal of being a scratch golfer this year.

Driving for show – putt for dough is a very good saying. I believe that putting for dough is the most important part of this statement! What do you think?

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!