Originally Posted by jshots
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!