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Hacker James

Distance judging

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Why is it that distances on the course seem so much different than back yard practice?  For example: My practice area is exactly 15 paces from "tee" to "target".  I can pretty much hit the area of the target I am aiming for within a foot or so, yet on the course at what appears to be the same distance, I find myself coming up short most of the time. And, no, I did not pace it off. It is obviously longer as I am pretty sure I am using the same swing unless I am wrong there too. On full swings with a driver, I can expect to hit it about 220 yards regularly. (as determined by judging from the yardage markers).  Sure I could buy a range finder, but I am not that animate about it, I am just wondering why the disparity.

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My guess would be that on the golf course you tighten up and start thinking about it where at home you are free swinging.

A question back would be...on the course, are you carrying the ball the same distance but it is not getting the bounce or roll out that you get in your yard?  If that is the case, you probably don't have your yard mown down to fairway height and you get more of a flyer at home.  On the golf course, if hitting from a tighter lie, you probably impart more spin resulting in ball not ending up as far as it would go at home.  Just a thought.

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At range practice, I am a lot more consistent.  I think it is b/c I hit multiple shots in a row with, say, #7 iron.  Then I do the same with another club.  In field, I rarely hit two consecutive shots with a same club.   And I think that makes the difference.

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Originally Posted by RickK

My guess would be that on the golf course you tighten up and start thinking about it where at home you are free swinging.

A question back would be...on the course, are you carrying the ball the same distance but it is not getting the bounce or roll out that you get in your yard?  If that is the case, you probably don't have your yard mown down to fairway height and you get more of a flyer at home.  On the golf course, if hitting from a tighter lie, you probably impart more spin resulting in ball not ending up as far as it would go at home.  Just a thought.

haha...our back yard is more like hard pan and only 60 ft wide. On the course I guess its an optical delusion   (pun intended).

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I volunteered at the Senior PGA Championship in May. During the practice rounds, I followed some pros for several holes to see their routine.

They would hit a tee shot, or sometimes two with different clubs. Then, they would hit a shot into the green from their ideal landing area, and some hit a shot or two from a "layup point" short of the green, in case they got into trouble.

Often, the first chip or pitch would come up a short or long of the intended point. But, a follow-up shot was usually on target. Every tournament, the pros make it a point to learn all 18 greens they will play.

Back to you: You pretty well know most of the points on your 15-yard range, and also know the turf. When you get out on the course, you have 18 different "15-yard ranges" to handle, all with different pitch and roll.

As for practicing, does your course ever have slow days when only a few people are playing? If so, go out and play a practice nine: hit shots from the front and back bunker, chip and run from the edge of the fairway, pitch and lob shots from pin high. Do this on several holes, and you will get a better feel for how the short shots fly.

Also, remember that you are looking to drop you chips and pitches on a spot that will get the ball near the cup. The spot will be farther from the hole on a chip and run, closer on a pitch, closer yet on a lob.

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