or Connect
TheSandTrap.com › Golf Forum › The Practice Range › Instruction and Playing Tips › Why have I always been told to work most on my short game?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Why have I always been told to work most on my short game? - Page 3

post #37 of 255

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harmonious View Post

Not sure what you mean by quick improvement versus long-term improvement in scoring.  Both are improvements, and neither should be ignored at the expense of the other, IMO.  I agree that the higher handicapper should first develop their ball-striking so that those ugly, wasted strokes disappear.  But they shouldn't totally ignore the short game and putting because, no matter how much they improve their long game, they will still need to get it up and down to save strokes and to sink those pesky putts.


You should. I've shared my research and opinions on this several times. ;-)

 

Quick improvement is 1, 2, maybe 3 strokes a round. That'll be about the limit for most handicaps (and < 1 for lower handicaps), though - long-term and larger drops in handicap are from the long game.

 

And I'm not talking about 36 handicappers.

post #38 of 255

iacas's point is quite clear and on the mark. Firming up your short game will (quickly) get you to the scoring potential that your swing as-it-is makes possible. Any improvement from that level requires a better swing. That's certainly my experience.

 

So to answer the OP's implied question of whether to work most on the short game or the swing at a 13-handicap level, I would work on my short game until I could get up and own half the time from, say, five yards off the green and in. Then while maintaining that standard, and gradually improving it, work on the swing to give you more of those 5-yards-off short shots than you might be getting now, and certainly more GIRs.

post #39 of 255
Thread Starter 

This thread turned out nice :)

 

My hunch was that if I really desire to get closer to scratch, or even lower one day maybe hopefully e2_whistling.gif, then I ought to work on a lot of approach shots. I think I have a good short game anyways!

post #40 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by jshots View Post

This thread turned out nice :)

 

My hunch was that if I really desire to get closer to scratch, or even lower one day maybe hopefully e2_whistling.gif, then I ought to work on a lot of approach shots. I think I have a good short game anyways!


This is a good thread...now bringing scratch into the equation, you better be solid in ALL applications of the game...long, approach, short, putting, bunkers, funky lies, wind, etc. At this point a balanced practice routine that is based on need is probably the best way to approach it. Picking up a stats program (like Scorecard) can help you identify what areas of the game to pinpoint along with your own observations. The stats really opened my eyes.  Good luck. 

 

post #41 of 255

I'll just say that I've started putting in much more work on the PW and shorter shots, and especially the 15-35 yard shots with my LW, and there's been a HUGE payoff.  Example, my last round, I hit only 5 fairways (terrible driver day) and had three 3-putts, but I still saved an 82 with five 1-putts, four of them after putting a LW from 15-35 yards inside 8 feet (luckily one of them for birdie, short par 4!).

 

I agree that if you're not very good at any shots, then you really need to put in lots of time on full swing ball striking so you can learn to get the ball off the tee and put your approach shots at least near the green, but there comes a point when if you want to start scoring lower, then on the holes where you don't hit the green with your approach you really need to be getting up and down for par, instead of getting on the green somewhere and two putting for bogey.  As others have noted, even the pros don't hit 95% GIR.  An excellent amateur probably only hits 9-11 GIR.  

 

If you want to be scratch that means you've gotta have the short game to get up and down for par 7-9 times a round.

post #42 of 255

I hear the same advice all the time but I think it depends on where you are in your golf game.  As a relative beginner, my long game is the game killer.  It's the source of most of my frustration, lost balls, time spent hacking through rough, etc.  It's not uncommon that by the time I get within 50 yards of the green, three chips and a 4 putt don't seem like a big deal anymore since I've been so beat-down getting to that point.

post #43 of 255

I'm not sure where I read it but I remember seeing a golf pro a few years ago that basically said, for high handicappers, it's more important to practice the full swing than the short game.  The theory behind that is that if high handicappers can't get off the tee, hit their full approach shots, etc with any sort of consistency, they won't score (and more importantly, they won't enjoy the game).  We all know how miserable it is to play if we can't get off the tee.

 

Now, as you lower that handicap into the range of the OP, the short game becomes much much more crucial imo...

post #44 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by Topper View Post

I hear the same advice all the time but I think it depends on where you are in your golf game.  As a relative beginner, my long game is the game killer.  It's the source of most of my frustration, lost balls, time spent hacking through rough, etc.  It's not uncommon that by the time I get within 50 yards of the green, three chips and a 4 putt don't seem like a big deal anymore since I've been so beat-down getting to that point.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Huffy2k View Post

I'm not sure where I read it but I remember seeing a golf pro a few years ago that basically said, for high handicappers, it's more important to practice the full swing than the short game.  The theory behind that is that if high handicappers can't get off the tee, hit their full approach shots, etc with any sort of consistency, they won't score (and more importantly, they won't enjoy the game).  We all know how miserable it is to play if we can't get off the tee.

 

Now, as you lower that handicap into the range of the OP, the short game becomes much much more crucial imo...

I agree with both of these.  For a beginner, short game practice can literally be a waste of time as it's not at all outside the realm of possibility to have to pickup your ball to keep pace before you even get into short game range.  I was there at one point.  When you're lying 6 hitting 7 and you've still got 180 yards to the green, the short game isn't your problem. 

post #45 of 255

Sorry for the mega multi-quoting, but we've been around this carousel a few times before!

 

Originally Posted by Stretch View Post

I read an interesting post from Mark Sweeney -- the guy behind AimPoint and a very analytical thinker about golf in general -- on another forum where he detailed the statistical analysis he'd done on tour and elite amateur players. The nut of his conclusions:

 

These are the most important performance factors, in order of importance:

 

1. GIR

2. Putts per GIR

3. Double-bogey (or worse) rate

4. Scrambling

5. Go For Its

6. Putts per round

7. Driving Distance

8. Driving Accuracy

 

When analyzing a player, look at his/her stats in that order to determine their relative strength as a player.

 

 

 

Originally Posted by Harmonious View Post

Not a bad listing.  I would move driving accuracy to #5 and driving distance up to #6. Probably move double bogey rate down below that.  If you are in the fairway off the tee, chances are you rarely would get more than a double. Conversely, if you are missing fairways, it is much more difficult to make par or birdie. But, all in all, this covers all the main points of good play.

 

Originally Posted by Stretch View Post

Yeah, someone did ask him about how well each stat correlates to eventual score and the (somewhat incomplete) answer was:

Here are the relevance numbers from the primary statistical model I did:

GIR - 28%
Putting - 27%
Scrambling - 23%
Go For Its - 3%
Driving Accuracy -1%
Driving Distance - 1%

 

Prof. Mark Broadie (who helped come up with the strokes gained/putts gained methodology now being used to analyze PGA Tour shotlink data) also has a very interesting paper based on a database he created by tracking pro and amateur golfers of all abilities over thousands of rounds of golf. This allowed him to measure the contribution of individual shots to the golfer's overall score, and express this as a "shot value" -- which basically defines the quality of each shot relative to a scratch golfer's average result from that particular situation. Long story short -- you get a good view of where different groups of golfers gain and lose shots. The table below shows top pros, journeymen pros, and then low, middle and high handicap amateurs.

 

Screen shot 2011-05-02 at 2.02.34 PM.png

 

What jumps out is the overwhelming importance of the long game (shots from over 100 yards) in differentiating scores. For example, if a low-handicap am had a top pro do all his putting and scrambling, he could expect to save 4.3 (2.2 putts + 1.4 shots around the green + 0.7 sand shots) strokes a round. But having the pro hit his drives and longer iron shots instead would reduce his average score by 9.3 strokes. The same holds for the different groups of amateurs -- the mid cappers give up 11.5 shots to the low cappers and 7.1 of these (62 percent) are in the long game. Putting is an important differentiator among the pros, but less so for average golfers, since everyone is going to have 12 or more tap-ins a round. So the guy shooting 66 and below is only 6.5 strokes better on the greens than the guy shooting over 100, but he's almost 25 strokes better from the tee box up to 100 yards out!

 

Fun stuff to think about.

 

post #46 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdl View Post
If you want to be scratch that means you've gotta have the short game to get up and down for par 7-9 times a round.


That's going to be an awfully tall order: the best pros have a 66% scrambling percentage, the worst about 45% according to PGA Tour stats.  So to get up and down 9 times, you basically have to miss every green unless you've got a far better scrambling % than the pros.  Granted they have tougher greens, but I'd be really surprised if a typical scratch golfer has pro-level scrambling stats, even on "mortal" courses.  I'd think it's more likely that the scratch golfer gets up and down less than half the time and offsets the bogeys with birdies after a GIR. 

 

post #47 of 255

Stretch them stats are spot on. I'm back to a 16 handicap now from 30 yards in a rarely take more than 3 strokes, and if I'm on the green rarely 3 putt,  and usually scrape 4 or 5 pars from a round. Where am I leaking all the shots .. off the tee, getting into trouble and not getting up to the green in 2 because my irons are so poor.

 

A 200y hook into the trees or rough and a tap out into 9i range followed by missing the green and then the customary on the green then 2 putt. Thats a double and it's the story of my life this season.

 

You definitely need to move the ball with decent dispersion. If I could(and most golfers of similar Hc for that matter) could get a dispersion of maybe 25y with driver and 15y or so with irons it would make it hard enough to get more than a bogey on any hole. Couple that with a few pars and then the Hc is heading to single digit territory.

post #48 of 255

Erik,  I didn't get your point at first but now I do.  The short game is a band aid for bad shots.  You can save a bunch of shots around the green but if you want to be consistant you have to hit greens.  I don't think you can really improve this stat without striking the ball better.  To do this, your swing has to improve IE become more consistant.  So (I think I'm about the exact skill level your referring to) for me to go from a 12ish to a 6, I've got to hit the ball better.  The horrid shots will dissappear, the great ones will show its face more, and the acceptable ones will be the norm.  Geez I wish it was that easy.  Long game improvement is hard.

post #49 of 255

I average 29 putts per round for this season after 2 months of playing and my chipping is pretty tight overall, always room for improvement. My goal this season is to be a single digit handicap and I know at this point it's in my long game. My short game got me into the low teens but the long game will take me further. I just had a new driver built for me today that I played a round with that is customized to me and I was hitting the ball on average about 250. Had my longest drive ever of 270 but that was with a decent downhill fairway, but still. Having an average of 250 is going to change a lot of holes for me from having to use a hybrid or a 5/6 iron to using a 7, 8, or 9 iron in to the green which is going to make a huge difference. To get way down in handicap as everyone is saying, everything needs to be tight but to drop from a higher handicap comes within 100 yards. At least this is what I am finding through my own experience :)

post #50 of 255

I recently played with a guy who's swing wasn't quite as good as mine that day, from what I noticed.  We would hit a similar drive, mine maybe a little better.  My approach shot(s) would almost always be much better.  Most of the time I three putted, or chipped on and two putted.  He often would sink his longer putts after chipping on.  When we went to write down our scores he had often one or even two strokes less than mine.  My hole would look better on video, his looked better on the scorecard.  I believe that especially for higher handicappers, short game is where its at once you can get the ball off the ground and towards the green on almost all your shots.  You can miss a green left, right, long or short... but you cant miss the hole left, right, long or short and card any score.  My buddy likes to tell a story about when a kid on the high school golf team approached a teaching pro pulling a driver out of his bag and saying, "Come on let's go, I'll smoke you!"  The pro quickly went to his bag and pulled out his putter and replied, "Oh yeah?! Let's go!"  As the old saying goes, "drive for show, putt for dough."

post #51 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by jshots View Post

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.


Well no shit. Obviously it's ideal to be good with the scoring irons as well as a great short game - but I think when people tell you to work on your short game, their point is that you'll see that lower your score quicker than pounding out 275 yard drives down the middle each time on the driving range.

 

post #52 of 255

I used to be able to drive very far and well. But I was never consistent when faced within 100yds.

I didn't know what to do when I don't have much green to work with from deep rough, and all kinds of other situation.

 

Without realizing, my short game has expanded so much that I neglected my Tee and approach shots.

My driver and mid irons are not the greatest, but for some reason I have always been able to hit pars and bogeys.

So when I broke it down, it's all my short game.

 

Nothing feels better when you chip it in or within 5 inches from hole, or when you make breaking or even double breaking long putts.

 

I like my short game a lot now, it's much more consistent, accurate, and I don't need to worry about full swings.

However, I found out now that my full swing has suffered because of it, so I need to get back to practicing driving lol

 

Oh did I mention that a while back, it started to become somewhat embarrassing when I drove 270-290yds, but then... I couldn't hit a 90yds shot or closer...

So yea... definitely love my short game... it's proven to save pars and strokes.

 

 

post #53 of 255

I think almost every component of the full swing is evident in a 40' lob wedge from a tight lie.  You are swinging slower and contact needs to be precise, any flaw becomes embarrasingly evident. 

post #54 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by jshots View Post

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?



Phil Mickelson shot a 74 in the first round of the US open and only hit 35% fairways and 44% greens.  That's pretty impressive.  It could easily have been an 80 if he didn't have a short game.  That's why.  If you are a ballstriking machine and don't miss one fairway or green in 10 years like some nuts claim to be regardless of how your body is behaving on that day, go ahead.  Do whatever you want to, pro.

 

The claim behind practice time is that you want to spend the most time practicing the shots you will have most.  If 60% of your shots are putts, you want to spend 60% of your time on putting.  I think that's a little naive, honestly, and it's a little more complex than that.  Maybe you have so many putts because you spend all your time on ball striking and hit so many greens.  If you take two equivalent putters, one an incredible ball striker who hits 18 greens, the other an incredible short game who hits 8 greens, the guy with the better short game will have fewer putts.  So should he practice less on his putting?  In golf, you want to be good at everything.  For improving golfers, you want to practice the hardest on the things that are making you lose the most strokes.  Maybe it's short game, but it's probably ball striking.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Instruction and Playing Tips
TheSandTrap.com › Golf Forum › The Practice Range › Instruction and Playing Tips › Why have I always been told to work most on my short game?