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65/20/15 Practice Ratios: Where to Devote Your Practice Time - Page 4

post #55 of 494

I work on my short game more than anything else. I do always hit some irons, and my driver also. Mainly work on technique with them, and trying to improve form. When I first started playing, my short game was my weak spot, so I have always worked on that probably 70% of the time. That includes using wedges from varying distances, and putting.

post #56 of 494
Quote:

Originally Posted by Deryck Griffith View Post

 

The point is, this is a microcosm of Erik's point and the point of others who understand how important hitting the ball where you INTEND to hit it is.  What's the point of having an amazing short game when you are consistently only saving Double's, Triple's and Quad's?

Yup couldn't agree with you more, dropping a 2.3 putts per round average to a 1.9 will drop you about 7 strokes over 18 holes.  Looking at my old golf game (and even sometimes my current game) I could easily lose 7 strokes a round from drives that were simply OB.  Also the thing that amazes me the most when watching pros is how close they can get their 5-8 irons.  They can hit shots exactly where they want something we would all benefit more than having a few less puts.

post #57 of 494

This thread is definitely an eye opener for me. It's good to hear so many low handicappers agree with the original post.

 

I've felt like my game has hit a wall recently and this explains it.  I'd always taken pride in spending the majority of my practice time on and around the greens but I'm starting to realize I need to change that immediately.

post #58 of 494

Yeah that same thought came to me when I looked at my stats and noticed that my putting and short game weren't costing me more than 3 strokes per round where my full swing was costing me nearly 9.  It was very eye opening for me also especially since I have had this information at my disposal for quite some time but just didn't realize it.  Definately installing a new practice regimine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Taylor Johnson View Post

This thread is definitely an eye opener for me. It's good to hear so many low handicappers agree with the original post.

 

I've felt like my game has hit a wall recently and this explains it.  I'd always taken pride in spending the majority of my practice time on and around the greens but I'm starting to realize I need to change that immediately.

post #59 of 494

This past weekend, I played a round that would be a great example of what Erik is talking about.  I shot an 81 with one birdie (which in and of itself is not that bad).  However, I also had two double bogies that were caused by wickedly bad tee shots (one lost so three from the tee, and one short and deep into a lateral hazard to where the drop wasn't particularly favorable either).  My birdie came on a long par four (425 yards) where I hit driver, 3 hybrid into a stiff breeze to three feet.   I had a lot of holes where I was approaching the green from the fairway and two putted for the easy par inluding the longest par four on the course at 435 yards.  I have a decent enough short game but if I can start hitting more fairways and in turn more greens, I'll shoot much lower scores.

post #60 of 494

I agree with Erik on his original post. Last year I was relying on my short game to always be scrambling for par because my approaches were coming from the rough, bad locations, or I missed the GIR from the fairway. While I was still scoring fairly well, a little better than bogey golf, I couldn't get better with just my short game.

 

This year, all of my work has been with the full swing. I've been keeping my driver in play much better. I went 3 rounds without losing a ball, which was essentially unheard of for even a single round last year. Now I'm focusing on my approaches and getting it on the green. Overall, I'm playing much better and am a more confident ball striker, which helps my short game ballstriking as well. My playing partners thought I was a very streaky ballstriker with a good short game last year... this year, they want to know what I've done to gain consistency, distance, and accuracy in all aspects of my game.

 

Work on that long game, work on consistent ball striking. If you are a 10 handicapper, I bet your putting is already pretty half decent. Once you become a consistent ball striker out on the course, I bet that you will be able to take that mentality and become a consistent putter in both distance and accuracy.

post #61 of 494

I think it's interesting that the guys saying Erik's undervaluing short game practice seem more likely to be middling or worse players, while pretty much all the low handicaps who've chimed in agree with Erik.

 

I think the reason for this might be exactly why Erik's arguing for this split in practice time.  A mediocre or weak player is probably pretty weak in every area.  Maybe with an average of 2.3-2.4 putts per green and an average of ~2.8 shots to get up and down from a non-bunkered green side lie.  If you get serious and start practicing all different aspects of the game, the short game and putting are WAY easier to improve than the long game.  As was noted above, if you can go from 2.4 to 2.0 putts per hole, or 2.3 to 1.9 putts per hole, you save something like 7 strokes a round.  Then maybe you improve your short game enough that you successfully get up and down on 2-4 holes where you wouldn't have before you started practicing your short game seriously.  Suddenly a decent day is 88 instead of 99, and you think short game's the most important thing and you should devote a high percentage of practice time to it.

 

But you were able to shave those 9-11 shots off your score so quickly exactly because the short game shots are so much easier than the full shots.  You can learn proper technique for a few of the basic shots and drill them into decent consistency relatively quickly, so the initial payoff is huge.  But that's exactly why, if improving towards scratch is your long term goal, you shouldn't devote a huge percentage of your practice time to those shots.  They were relatively easy to learn, and thus you shouldn't need that much practice time to maintain decent touch with them.

 

This was exactly my experience.  When I was maybe a 12-13, I went through a period where I didn't have time to get to the range much.  My apartment complex had a big courtyard though with astroturf instead of grass where I could hit some pitches up to maybe 25-30 yards.  I spent a lot of 30 minute breaks just practicing litte pitches with my 54˚ and 60˚.  I dramatically improved pretty quickly, and I'd say from 13 down to where I am now, ~10, at least 2 of those strokes were from the improved short game.  But now I don't need to practice those shots all that much to stay pretty good with them.  Even the couple times where I've had to take a couple weeks off, the full swing struggles big time on my first round back but the green side shots often feel right on already by the back nine.

post #62 of 494

I agree, I think your scores and handicap plateau at some point if you over work the short game. As I was coming down to a 10 handicap I worked on my short game very hard. Why? Because I couldn't hit a fairway or green to save my life. That got me to a point where I was essentially playing bogey golf with some pars sprinkled in there. I rarely had a birdie opportunity and my ball striking was streaky, leading to plenty of OBs and lost balls.

 

There was a point where just working on my short game wasn't going to help me improve in the long run. If you're still a 20 capper, you might be able to get down to a 10 by depending on your short game and some decent/lucky ball striking... but you won't get anywhere without the full package after that.

post #63 of 494

There are some short game wizards out there, and there few and far between. Its really tough to keep relying on the short game because of the exponentially increase in difficulty of making putts past 5 feet. If you can chip the ball from every possible location you might find around the green to with in 5 feet, you have a poor chance of saving par. There is only so much you can improve on your putting. 

 

Pro Putting

Inside 5': 95%

5-10': 55%

10-15': 30%

 

If you chip and you get it outside 5', your looking at making it up and down for par less that 55% of the time if you putt as good as a pro, its probably less for us. 

 

So lets say you hit only 4 GIR's, you have to get up and down 14 times, if you putt as good as a pro, your looking at bogeys on at lease 8 of those holes. 

 

Now you can work on your short game, Pro's get scramble 56% of the time. So really what influences there game the most, is there GIR's.. If they don't they are looking at every other hole as a bogey. 

 

Look at there approximation to the hole on there short game from around the green, with in 30 yards of the green. 

Fringe: 3'

Rough: 8'

Sand: 9.5'

 

So for Pro's its more important to know were to miss the ball. If they can miss infront of the green to a pin in the front, they know that they have a better chance at par from the fringe that if they miss it and short side themselves.  Because if they are not chipping from the fringe, then they are looking at a 55% chance of making par. Thats not good odds, compared to 95% chance if they with in 3'

 

Those are just for the pro's were worse. Meaning that hitting Greens is top priority, because then you don't get into these poor stats. I think we get caught up that all pro's have good short games, when they only show really good shots, or really bad shots on TV, and its more likely to show a really good shot. I think this gives us a wrong perspective on how good they are at the short game. They are alot better than us, but not to warrant the amount of time we think we should be spending on the short game. If your stats are above 55% you are better than the average of pro's. 

 

But since short game is caused by a bad long game, i say the long game is more important. 

post #64 of 494
Thread Starter 
I liked this commercial, but now I know why: your long game can improve your short game. If you "leave yourself a much shorter short game" (i.e. smaller misses, not 30 yards from the green), your short game is bound to improve because your ballstriking improved.

Anyway, here's the commercial:
post #65 of 494

Nice well thought out original post. 

 

I agree pretty much with one exception or comment.  What is a short game shot.  I think of hitting 50 to 75 yard shots as short game shots but the motion is very similar to a full swing.  So is that working on the full swing, when you are working on hitting it really solid with consistant contact hitting little wedges?  To me that is a combo.  I want that feeling to translate up through the bag and often will revert back to the old 60 when things are out of synch on the range.  But I also want to be great at that shot. 

 

Being in play is an absolute necessity in golf.  Most people aren't and that is why most (including my current form) are really bad.  I agree totally.  It isn't about how good your short game is, it is about where you hit the shot from.  Easier birdie shots equals better scores.  I'll take a putt off the edge over a really tough up and in from the trees. 

post #66 of 494

I don't know guys.  This thread is filled with sub 10 handicaps who are referencing problems losing balls, going OB, and taking penalties.  I did not know it was possible to break into the single digits while regularly spraying drives.  I am not in that league, but seeing this repeatedly is surprising. 

 

Again, we need to benchmark our games and practice our weaknesses.  For my part, I just concluded a nine-hole round where I shot 43 with 21 putts.  The greens were in bad shape and I was rusty but there is still no reason to suggest that I am a good putter.  At no point did I head OB off the tee. And both of my double-bogies were from the fairway, featuring two wedge shots and three putts each.  Such is the state of my game.  Despite three-putting 4 of the 9 holes, I only hit 2 GIR, so I am not a ballstriking ace either.  Nevertheless, missing the green with a wedge (from 125 and in) is basically equivalent to a punch out from the trees or rough after a bad tee shot, or a drop from a lateral hazard.  I am missing with a wedge more than with the driver.

 

I think it is pie-in-the-sky to imagine that average golfers (10-20 HCs for men) can improve our ballstriking to the point that we hit every GIR and "don't need" the short game skills like pitching, chipping, and bunker play.  Especially on longer, tougher courses, we're approaching with a middle or long iron more often, and trying to hit a fast, elevated green guarded by bunkers.  It is obviously inhuman to hit every green, since the PGA tour average is around 62%.  Given that some of these GIRs are accomplished with a wedge, we need our short game to come through regularly.

post #67 of 494
Quote:
Originally Posted by ladders11 View Post

I don't know guys.  This thread is filled with sub 10 handicaps who are referencing problems losing balls, going OB, and taking penalties.  I did not know it was possible to break into the single digits while regularly spraying drives.  I am not in that league, but seeing this repeatedly is surprising. 

 

Again, we need to benchmark our games and practice our weaknesses.  For my part, I just concluded a nine-hole round where I shot 43 with 21 putts.  The greens were in bad shape and I was rusty but there is still no reason to suggest that I am a good putter.  At no point did I head OB off the tee. And both of my double-bogies were from the fairway, featuring two wedge shots and three putts each.  Such is the state of my game.  Despite three-putting 4 of the 9 holes, I only hit 2 GIR, so I am not a ballstriking ace either.  Nevertheless, missing the green with a wedge (from 125 and in) is basically equivalent to a punch out from the trees or rough after a bad tee shot, or a drop from a lateral hazard.  I am missing with a wedge more than with the driver.

 

I think it is pie-in-the-sky to imagine that average golfers (10-20 HCs for men) can improve our ballstriking to the point that we hit every GIR and "don't need" the short game skills like pitching, chipping, and bunker play.  Especially on longer, tougher courses, we're approaching with a middle or long iron more often, and trying to hit a fast, elevated green guarded by bunkers.  It is obviously inhuman to hit every green, since the PGA tour average is around 62%.  Given that some of these GIRs are accomplished with a wedge, we need our short game to come through regularly.

 

Losing the ball WAS a problem for me :), and I definitely wasn't sub-10 last year when I was losing them and going OB regularly. When I figured out the magic of not taking the driver off the tee all of the time and am now striping my 3W and Hybrid down the center, things got better. I certainly need my short game, but my short game hasn't deteriorated since I've been focusing on my drives/approaches. In fact it was the opposite... my short game got better. I make more consistent contact with the ball, I can control my swing better in the sand, and I'm putting more fluidly.

 

I agree though, that we need to shore up our weaknesses. My short game was good, but that was because I was using it to scramble all of the time because I wasn't getting GIRs. I was able to lower my handicap that way, but it plateaued around 10-12. I just couldn't break that in my unless I was getting more GIRs. Now that I'm straight off the tee and hitting a little over half of my greens, my handicap is dropping.

 

Again, I look at your situation where you aren't hitting tons of GIRs and are scrambling every hole. You probably feel that your short game isn't holding its end of the stick. I can almost guarantee that you'll drop your handicap by working hard on scrambling with your short game... and when you hit that point where you wonder what you're missing to score better, you'll still see that you aren't hitting enough GIRs and you'll move on to striking the ball better and getting those greens and fairways. Last year, I could shot anywhere from the low 80s to mid 90s, because my ball striking was streaky. Now, I'm in the low 80s and upper 70s and working towards breaking 75.

post #68 of 494
Quote:
Originally Posted by ladders11 View Post

I think it is pie-in-the-sky to imagine that average golfers (10-20 HCs for men) can improve our ballstriking to the point that we hit every GIR and "don't need" the short game skills like pitching, chipping, and bunker play.  Especially on longer, tougher courses, we're approaching with a middle or long iron more often, and trying to hit a fast, elevated green guarded by bunkers.  It is obviously inhuman to hit every green, since the PGA tour average is around 62%.  Given that some of these GIRs are accomplished with a wedge, we need our short game to come through regularly.

 

Yeah no one will ever hit every GIR, but I think what I have seen other people say, and what I feel from my own game, is that improved ball striking not only will help you hit more GIRs it will make your misses much more manageable.

 

I only dropped below a 10 when I took my driver out of the bag last summer and started staying in play off of the tee. I had it back in the bag this summer, took it out last week(actually broke it), and I just posted a 75 yesterday hitting 3 wood off of the tee.

 

Really I think all this thread is saying is that to get continuous marked improvement, the 65-25-10 plan is the best. Sure you could probably drop a few shots if you work only on one aspect of the game, but this is the way you are going to get the most improvement overtime. If you are only looking to get down to a 13, by all means just get really good at your short game.

post #69 of 494
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ladders11 View Post

Again, we need to benchmark our games and practice our weaknesses.  For my part, I just concluded a nine-hole round where I shot 43 with 21 putts.  The greens were in bad shape and I was rusty but there is still no reason to suggest that I am a good putter.  At no point did I head OB off the tee. And both of my double-bogies were from the fairway, featuring two wedge shots and three putts each.  Such is the state of my game.  Despite three-putting 4 of the 9 holes, I only hit 2 GIR, so I am not a ballstriking ace either.  Nevertheless, missing the green with a wedge (from 125 and in) is basically equivalent to a punch out from the trees or rough after a bad tee shot, or a drop from a lateral hazard.  I am missing with a wedge more than with the driver.

It seems to me that you don't get past the "unless you have a glaring weakness" part of what I wrote:

Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post

Unless you have a glaring weakness or a facet of your game which far outshines the others, you should spend 65% of your time practicing the full swing, 25% of your time practicing the short game, and 10% of your time practicing putting.

Besides, a wedge from 125 is your full swing. I'd work on your putting, learn a basic chip and a basic pitch, then work on hitting more fairways and greens.
post #70 of 494

Chicks dig the full swing. Case closed.

post #71 of 494
Thread Starter 
Here's the anatomy of a 69 I shot the other day at Kahkwa.
  1. Drive into right fairway bunker. Slightly heavy to short of the green. Chip and a putt. E
  2. Good drive up the left side. Pitch to eight feet. Two putted (tricky putt). E
  3. Tee shot to 10 feet or so. Made putt. -1
  4. Tee shot to right-center of fairway. Center of the green. Two putts. -1
  5. Fairway bunker. Fluffed out. 85 yard shot to 30 feet (avoided false front). Made putt. -1
  6. Tee shot way right (flinched; OB left). Pitched out. 150 to green, 20 feet, two putts. E
  7. Long drive to left intermediate. Punched PW onto green. Two putts. E
  8. Tugged drive a bit. Laid up from awkward lie. Good pitch, over-read birdie putt a bit. E
  9. Toe-hooked drive through fairway bunker. Good punched 7I onto back of green. Drained a 40 footer. -1
  10. Great drive to right-center. Wedge from 92 to five feet. -2
  11. Tee shot just short and right in fringe (long/left are DEAD). Easy two putt (counted as a one putt).
  12. Blistered a drive. Had 185 in. Put it to 20 feet, easy two-putt birdie. -3
  13. Great drive. Nice wedge second shot. Two putts. -3
  14. Good drive to left rough (big dogleg right). Fluffed 4I. Chip onto green, two putts. -3
  15. Good 3I to green. Two routine putts. -3
  16. Decent 3W. Simple pitch to the green. Two putts. -3
  17. Great drive. Great second shot. Shoved putt slightly from eight feet. -3
  18. Great drive. A bit short and left with 9I, but putted from fringe relatively easily. -3

The fairway bunkers were really fluffy so driving into them was a big mistake. After the second one I fluffed out of the bunker (it's about all you could do unless I wanted to intentionally thin it out), I took greater care to avoid them.

I've marked in green holes where the full swing was key to scoring, and holes where the short game was key to my scoring are marked in blue.

Stats for the round:
Differential: +2.1
GIR: 72.2%
FWY: 40% (L 40%, R 20%)
GIR FWY: 83.33%, LEFT: 100%, RIGHT: 0%.
Total Putts: 29
PPGIR: 1.77
PPMGIR: 1.2
GIR First Putt: 19.5 feet
75% from 4-6 feet, 50% from 7-10 feet, 0% from 16-20, 33% from 21-30 and 31-50.
Scrambling: 5/6
Scoring averages: FWY: -0.33, Left Rough: -0.17, Right Rough: +0.33, GIR: -0.31, missed GIR: +0.2

By my count, my short game bailed me out a little on the first hole, a TON on the fifth hole, and I got a bit lucky by holing a long putt on the ninth.

But the rest of the day, my short game had absolutely no pressure on it. That's how you score.

Let's look at those three holes where my short game saved me (and I'm adding the sixth and eighth, where my short game didn't save me, but my long game hurt me).

1) From the right fairway bunker, I'm probably looking at 3.1. So my drive game cost me +0.1 shots. From just short of the green where I hit my bunker shot, I'm looking at about a +2.3. From where I putted from I'm probably looking at 1.2. Long game cost 0.4, short game saved 0.2.
5) From the right fairway bunker I'm probably looking at 3.7. From where I hit that shot, I'm still looking at 2.7. From where my putt was, I'm probably looking at 2.1, so holing it saved me 1.1 while my full swing cost me 1.4.
6) Full swings cost me a full shot and my short game didn't compensate. Bogey.
8) Full swings cost me perhaps 0.5 shots. With a good drive I birdie about as often as I par.
9) Drive put me in a position where I'd probably still be about 3.0, whereas from the middle of the fairway 50 yards ahead I'd be at a 2.6 or so. So the drive cost me 0.4 shots. The putt was probably a 2.3, so it saved me 1.3 shots. Net: 0.9 savings.

Now, consider something like the tee shot on the 15th. It's 220 yards to a green with a lot of slope to it. It's not a big green.

Standing on the tee, 220 yards away, the average score a player of my ability will make is probably 3.5 or so. Might be 3.7. Putting the ball where I did - on the green with a pretty easy two-putt - saved me 0.5 to 0.7 strokes.

On the 18th, with fairway bunkers to each side, finding the side of the fairway saved me 0.6 strokes. Missing the GIR by a foot or so (ball rolled back off a false front) only cost me 0.1 strokes, maybe 0.2. It was still an easy up and down or a "two putt" (from the fringe).

On the 11th, from 168, you can't miss the green left or long at all. I missed the GIR but was short and right - "where you have to make the mistake." Standing on the tee, I'm probably going to average 3.4, maybe 3.3. From where my second shot was hit, I'll average 2.1. My tee shot saved me 0.2 to 0.3 shots.

I point those out because the last two are examples where someone might say "your short game saved you - you got up and down." I was a foot off the green and I'd left myself - because I could control my ball well with the full swing - in easy spots that weren't going to penalize me.

Even on the ninth hole after a horrible drive (seriously, it wasn't much better than Furyk's on 16 at Olympic), my second shot was smartly played to get me onto the green, where I'm rarely more than a 2.1 or so (that was a tricky putt, so I called it 2.3).

Again, if you're grossly incompetent (relative to your other skills) in one area, obviously practice that, but I almost never had any pressure on my short game throughout the round. I made two long putts but missed three tricky putts from 6-10 feet that could have gone (and made some others that could have missed). Those pretty much balanced out to the make percentages you'd expect for a +1.

Let's look at some of the other holes that are green.

12 is a 600-yard par five. I hit my drive to the right side of the fairway and had 185 yards in. That drive put me in a position to make 3.5 strokes on average from there. My second shot to the green (20 feet) put me at about a 1.95 (call it 2.0) position. Two shots saved me 1.5 strokes on average. I had a tap-in birdie and a realistic shot at eagle.

The third hole is a touchy par three of 167 or so. I hit a 7I to below the hole and had a relatively straight putt. From where I was I'm probably a 1.6 putter, so making the putt saved me 0.6 strokes. But hitting it there to begin with saved me the 0.4 strokes PLUS anything above 2.0 that I'd score from anywhere else. From the tee, I'm probably looking at a 3.2 to 3.3 scoring average (you can hit the green and pretty easily three-putt the green as it has a big tier), so the short game (holing a ten-footer) and the long game contributed equally there.

The full swing is important. a1_smile.gif

P.S. The basis for this analysis is the "strokes gained" idea. Standing on the tee, if I'm going to average 4.2 on a particular hole, but from the center of the fairway with 144 yards in I'll average 2.7, then my tee shot "gained" me 0.5 strokes. Likewise, if I'm a 1.6 from 8 feet and I miss, I've "lost" 0.4 strokes. If I hit it in a fairway bunker and am going to average 3.5 on the same 4.2 hole, I've lost 0.3 strokes. If I hit that bunker shot to three feet, where I'm a 1.0, that shot alone saved me 1.5 shots.
post #72 of 494

Another huge thing that I've realized, rounds where I am tapping in pars rather than getting up and down and having to make longer than 3 foot putts for par are about a bazillion times easier mentally than rounds where I am constantly having to get up and down. I actually notice more fatigue when I am not hitting my long shots well, does anyone else notice this?

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