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Why have I always been told to work most on my short game?

post #1 of 255
Thread Starter 

My entire life i've been told learning short game (short shots from just off the green) was most important and that you should spend by far the most time on it, but as I've improved my approach shots I don't understand why. It seems to me like working on your short game is just admitting that you suck at hitting greens in regulation. Even when you don't hit a green in regulation, if you can chip up and 2 putt it's still a bogey (this seems easy) which you can recover from.

 

Why spend so much time on short game when you can spend that time getting your approach shots on the green so that you don't need so much short game?

post #2 of 255

Even the best players will just miss the green a couple of times a round and having solid touch just off the green will save the par or even put it in for that chip-in birdie. I don't think about so much just practicing around the green all the time but practicing 120 yards and in as much as I can which takes into account a lot of the approach shots and also works on the fundamentals. 

post #3 of 255

Pro's hit about 12 greens in reg a round. Short game is what keeps the round going if you are playing well and it is also what can save a round when you are not playing at your best. Im also guessing that you hit 9 greens in reg if you're lucky so if you can get a couple of those up and down thats a great round. 

 

The short game is also what separates the good from the great. Plenty of people can hit the ball as well as tour pros but their short game isn't even close to the same league.

post #4 of 255

As a 13, you probably hit about 8 GIR.  If, as you say, you chip up and two-putt for bogey when you miss, that's 10 over par.  You'll stay at about a 13 forever.  If, however, you can convert 4 out of 10 up-and-downs, you are now only 6 over.  And if you improve your putting (that's part of your short game, too) you might drop a birdie putt every so often.

 

You'll find that good driving and approach shots are important and will take you a good ways, but to drop down into the low-mid single digits, you've got to have the short game.

post #5 of 255

I'm a 5 and probably hit 10 GIR on a real good day of ballstriking, probably usually about 8 per round and I shoot high 70's...I've shot 76 with hitting 6 GIR. Having a great short game (Which I consider like 40 yards and in...AND putting too) is VITAL to SCORING in golf...

 

I rather shoot a good SCORE than have a good GIR...

post #6 of 255
Thread Starter 

But even when I don't hit a ton of greens in regulation if my irons are good then I'm not far from the green and generally have an easy shot that will often be an up and down and at the worst a bogey.

 

Its only when I start really badly missing my approach shots that I risk getting worse than bogeys(if my tee shots are in play). I'm not saying you shouldn't have good short game, but it doesn't seem logical to put more time into short game than into those short-mid iron approach shots.

 

post #7 of 255
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CG031 View Post

I'm a 5 and probably hit 10 GIR on a real good day of ballstriking, probably usually about 8 per round and I shoot high 70's...I've shot 76 with hitting 6 GIR. Having a great short game (Which I consider like 40 yards and in...AND putting too) is VITAL to SCORING in golf...

 

I rather shoot a good SCORE than have a good GIR...


This is what I have thought about. A good player can get around and shoot scratch by scrambling. I believe there could be a completely different type of good player that could shoot close to even par with less of a short game but better short-mid irons. I'm just wondering I guess if its just extremeley hard to get very very good at those approaches.

 

Like you say on average you hit 10 GIR... but if I put in the large majority of my practice time into those shots would it be possible to raise that enough above average to save you enough strokes that you could maybe lose a few on your short game.

post #8 of 255

 

I played with a kid last year in one of my dual meets that only hit two GIR and still managed to shoot 35 (-1).  He never had a putt outside of 5 feet for par, and one of the greens that he did hit was actually under regulation, so he two putted for  the one birdie.  He was having a horrible day as far as ballstriking, but he managed to save his round through his ridiculous short game.

post #9 of 255

Let me put it this way most of anyone's shots are going to happen around the greens so it makes sense that this is the best way to lower your handicap. Golf is a game based on compensating for imperfections. The perfect shot simply doesn't exist. Short game compensates for approaches not always being on the green. 

 

The main reason short game is so important is for scoring if i can hit 2 bad shots and be by the green and get up and down thats a par for me. On the other hand if you hit a 250 yard drive and hit it on the green and 2 putt thats a par. What this comes down to is I had a bad hole and still made par while you had a good hole and we made the same score. When you have a bad hole it's bogey or worse. 

 

Perfect example is Jason Day's final round of this year's U.S. OPEN he hacked his way around the course, missing fairways and missing greens and he didn't make a bogey all day. Just pars and birds. Without the short game he would have made himself look like a fool.

 

 

 

post #10 of 255

play some tougher courses with bunkers, raised/sloping greens, and  and you will see why the short game is so important. 

post #11 of 255
Thread Starter 

I have no doubts that having an awesome short game can get you pars.

 

I am just thinking that if you had awesome irons with decent short game you could potentially play better.

post #12 of 255
To me, the short game's importance is one of golf's most misleading statistics.

Should you be a good pitcher and chipper if you want to score well? Yes.

There are two approaches:

* Have a dynamite short game, and get up and down from everywhere. From the light rough, from the bunker, from the ball washer at the next tee, from the deep stuff, in the trees, no problem!

* Have a decent short game, and have the driving and ball striking skills to keep your misses reasonable. Keep it in play off the tee, get it on the green or in a place where your decent short game gives you a good shot at an up and down.


The second one requires some time on the short game, for sure, but not as much time as the first approach.

The funny thing is that each of them look like the same strokes on short game (other than putting) in the round, but one is (I think) better for your score. Also it's a bit more thinking and a bit less creativity.

People point out that pros miss a some number of greens each round. That's true, they do. But look at the ones that are scoring well -- it's not that having an average tour pro hit all your shots within 50 yards of the green would save you as many shots as you might think -- short siding yourself in the rough, with a bunker to carry, because you decided to challenge the pin with your 3-wood ... that's not a short game problem, although it looks on your stat sheet like you didn't get up and down. Your par/bogey is far more likely if you aim in such a way that if you miss, you do so in the fairway area with green to work with. One thing I noticed is that a good number of misses for the guys we see on the weekend (and even those on Thursday/Friday) is that they often leave themselves with an up-and-down that they've practiced and that is a high-percentage play.
post #13 of 255

Rory said in an interview that he had confidence in his putting and shortgame. So now he can go after pins because hey, if he happens to miss hit one or two shots, he can get up and down easy. Thats why short game and putting is important, because it lets you play loose.. 

post #14 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by jshots View Post

But even when I don't hit a ton of greens in regulation if my irons are good then I'm not far from the green and generally have an easy shot that will often be an up and down and at the worst a bogey.

 



Here is where you need to adjust your thinking to get to the next level. "At worst a bogey" is not the mentality that you want to have to get to single digits. Working on hitting more greens should be done, but the reality is that you will still miss some and when you do you want to still be able to score. At the highest levels, the guys hit the same drives, approaches, etc. but what separates them is saving par. The degree of separation is so small for guys like us being at a stroke a round or less, but for someone trying to live the dream it is the difference in playing golf for a living or not. 

 

Here is another scenario and how I try to look at the short game. If my overall game is in order I can hit 9 greens and average par or better. Assuming no birdies or 3 putts, that leaves 9 greens and with an above average short game a player gets u/d for five of those. Now we are looking squarely at a 76. Throw in another green and a birdie or two and now you are starting to play some golf. Miss a couple of greens, no biggie just get it close and make a putt. 

 

Now working on your approaches will help as Shindig alluded to and more importantly it will allow you to hit the greens in the correct places and miss to the correct sides to make for easier u/ds. The guys that play don't think about hitting greens, they are thinking where to hit and if they miss where that will leave them with the easiest route to save par. They truly are playing a different game from us! 

post #15 of 255

I hit about 12 GIR on average, I've had 17/18 quite a few times but 73 was my best score. Pretty ironic my best of 70, I hit 14 greens but made 5 birdies. My course is pretty tough though if you short side yourself, the greens are often rock hard and fast, so getting up and down is not easy...

post #16 of 255

As a high handicapper, short game practice is the most practical for me.  On an average par 4 I slice my drive, hit 1 or 2 iron shots fat or thin and am left with a <50yd shot to the green.  My high scores mostly come from 3 or 4 holes where I go +4 or 5 due to getting close to the green then botching my short game.  If I can eliminate those short game meltdowns, which is what I'm working on this season, I'll drop my scores significantly.  Also, once I get my short game tuned in and turn my focus to driving and approach shots (not fully abandoning short game practice, but just maintaining it), I'll still have a solid short game for when I miss.  So the bottom line is no matter how good the rest of my game is, I'm still going to need a good short game at some point each round. 

post #17 of 255
Two reasons beyond the ones posted, short game is not as dependent on talent, so almost everyone can develop a good short game. Full shot game will always have more day to day variablilty, so the statement that birdies come from good long game play is accurate, since short game play is more consistent day to day its value is not for your best days or holes but on the days or holes you don't play well. If you shoot 68 on your good days and 78 on your bad days that really is not great. If you can turn that 68 into a 67 and that 78 into a 73 with a top shelf short game.
post #18 of 255

Good driving and iron shots will let you avoid many penalty strokes and will generally get you to be a bogey golfer or better--but not a single digit handicapper.

Good short game is needed if you want to get to a single digit handicap.

 

In the beginning, I think you are right in that you want to avoid penalty strokes to get your score down to a reasonable level (e.g., low mid 80's to low 90's).  But to get to the next level, you will have to have a good short game to save pars.

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