or Connect
TheSandTrap.com › Golf Forum › The Practice Range › Instruction and Playing Tips › Course Management - Shot Placement
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Course Management - Shot Placement

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

I just started playing very recently and really want to learn to play smarter since I hope it can improve my game without "practice" (i.e. better swing).

 

I think the best place to take advantage of that would be setting myself up for a high % shot to the green using a full swing. But I've also been practicing my 1/2 and 1/4 swings (with wedges) to get shorter distances down. I also have finally tried chipping... only a couple dozen shots tried though, so still suck.

 

My full swing, 1/2, 1/4 distances from 100 yards and in are:

 

PW: 100, 80, 48

GW: 85, 68, 42

SW: 70, 56, 36

LW: 55, 44, 30

 

Those are pretty rough as I just finally started hitting the ball consistently.

 

As of now, the only time I feel like I am hitting what should be the "correct" shot is when it's obvious. Basically when:

 

1. Full Swing Distance away, I'll use the club that goes that distance. The exception would be that I have given up with SW because I skull it over the green half the time. I now try using GW 1/2 swing from that distance (~60 yards) even though my non-full swings aren't very consistent.

 

2. Chipping from right off the fringe (~10 - 30 yards)

 

3. Short pitch (or lob?) to an elevated green or over hazard ( ~10 - 30 yards)

 

 

However, I really would love to know the best approach. I haven't played enough to really gauge where I hit greens the best, especially considering at my level, I am really focusing on consistent contact. So would love to get advice from you guys as to "best practice" at managing each hole. 

 

For instance, should I be give up on trying to get my 1/4 and 1/2 shots down? Is it going to be too hard to get consistent? What are other options exist from 50 yards and in? Is it wise to chip and have it roll before the green? I would think that would be too unpredictable, but I don't know. Also, and this is perhaps too advance, but full swing shot with my LW goes really high and I'm sure some days wind might be a real factor... would this be an instance where using PW at 1/4 swing would be useful?

 

And I guess a bigger question... should I aim to perhaps avoid needing to hit from 40 - 80 yards all together? Always trying to get in the 85 - 100 range so I can use full swing PW or GW to land on the green?

 

There is definitely a lot more to think about when you get under 100 yards and I just want to approach it smart so I can play the best game I can.

 

 

Thanks in advance!

post #2 of 25

In general, you want to get as close as possible to the green as you can without too much risk.  I believe that there are several good threads about this topic on here, but here is a fairly recent one:  http://thesandtrap.com/t/69652/235-out-on-this-par-five-whats-the-play/0_30#post_890295

 

(You don't have to really read the whole thing, just the OP, and then the link at the bottom of the OP to the "answer" http://thesandtrap.com/t/69652/235-out-on-this-par-five-whats-the-play/120_30#post_891618)

 

Here is an excerpt that talks about your issue:

Quote:

Why "Laying Up to 100 Yards" is the Wrong Play

 

The short answer: The closer a player is to the hole is the single biggest determinant in how close their next shot is. Or, to put it in sarcastic terms: "You're telling me that you'd rather play from 100 yards than 20 yards? So if we made a deal that every time you were off the green but inside 100 yards, you had to pick your ball up and walk back to 100 yards without penalty, you'd do it?" No, you wouldn't, and that's why it's the wrong play here.

If you read just those two posts in that thread, you'll get a pretty good idea of how a professional strategizes.

post #3 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayFore View Post
 

I just started playing very recently and really want to learn to play smarter since I hope it can improve my game without "practice" (i.e. better swing).

 

I think the best place to take advantage of that would be setting myself up for a high % shot to the green using a full swing. But I've also been practicing my 1/2 and 1/4 swings (with wedges) to get shorter distances down. I also have finally tried chipping... only a couple dozen shots tried though, so still suck.

 

My full swing, 1/2, 1/4 distances from 100 yards and in are:

 

PW: 100, 80, 48

GW: 85, 68, 42

SW: 70, 56, 36

LW: 55, 44, 30

 

Those are pretty rough as I just finally started hitting the ball consistently.

 

As of now, the only time I feel like I am hitting what should be the "correct" shot is when it's obvious. Basically when:

 

1. Full Swing Distance away, I'll use the club that goes that distance. The exception would be that I have given up with SW because I skull it over the green half the time. I now try using GW 1/2 swing from that distance (~60 yards) even though my non-full swings aren't very consistent.

 

2. Chipping from right off the fringe (~10 - 30 yards)

 

3. Short pitch (or lob?) to an elevated green or over hazard ( ~10 - 30 yards)

 

 

However, I really would love to know the best approach. I haven't played enough to really gauge where I hit greens the best, especially considering at my level, I am really focusing on consistent contact. So would love to get advice from you guys as to "best practice" at managing each hole.

 

For instance, should I be give up on trying to get my 1/4 and 1/2 shots down? Is it going to be too hard to get consistent? What are other options exist from 50 yards and in? Is it wise to chip and have it roll before the green? I would think that would be too unpredictable, but I don't know. Also, and this is perhaps too advance, but full swing shot with my LW goes really high and I'm sure some days wind might be a real factor... would this be an instance where using PW at 1/4 swing would be useful?

 

And I guess a bigger question... should I aim to perhaps avoid needing to hit from 40 - 80 yards all together? Always trying to get in the 85 - 100 range so I can use full swing PW or GW to land on the green?

 

There is definitely a lot more to think about when you get under 100 yards and I just want to approach it smart so I can play the best game I can.

 

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post
 

In general, you want to get as close as possible to the green as you can without too much risk.  I believe that there are several good threads about this topic on here, but here is a fairly recent one:  http://thesandtrap.com/t/69652/235-out-on-this-par-five-whats-the-play/0_30#post_890295

 

(You don't have to really read the whole thing, just the OP, and then the link at the bottom of the OP to the "answer" http://thesandtrap.com/t/69652/235-out-on-this-par-five-whats-the-play/120_30#post_891618)

 

Here is an excerpt that talks about your issue:

If you read just those two posts in that thread, you'll get a pretty good idea of how a professional strategizes.

 

 

 

GD is right.  Closer is better!

post #4 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by David in FL View Post
 

GD is right.  Closer is better!

There's a big caveat that goes with this statement:   Closer is better IF you routinely can get the closer shot nearer the pin than a shot from farther away.  By that, I mean a 40 yard shot to a front pin on a raised green may not be one that you can normally get as close to the hole as, say, a 70 yard shot where you can take a fuller swing and there may be more spin so the ball will stop quicker. That's why the pros will lay up to their favorite distance(s) when they do not go for a green.

 

The OP is going about it the right way by determining his distances with a variety of wedge swings, whether he currently can hit all those shots or not.  That will pay great dividends in the future. But until he gets more practice and more confidence, he should try to leave distances that make for a more comfortable shot. This also holds true for the rest of us.

post #5 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harmonious View Post
 

There's a big caveat that goes with this statement:   Closer is better IF you routinely can get the closer shot nearer the pin than a shot from farther away.  By that, I mean a 40 yard shot to a front pin on a raised green may not be one that you can normally get as close to the hole as, say, a 70 yard shot where you can take a fuller swing and there may be more spin so the ball will stop quicker. That's why the pros will lay up to their favorite distance(s) when they do not go for a green.

 

The OP is going about it the right way by determining his distances with a variety of wedge swings, whether he currently can hit all those shots or not.  That will pay great dividends in the future. But until he gets more practice and more confidence, he should try to leave distances that make for a more comfortable shot. This also holds true for the rest of us.

 

 

For a 30 hcp, I'm gonna say that closer is better......period.

 

All he needs to be worried about is putting the ball on the green.  Heck, most 15 hcps would be better served taking that advice to heart.  That whole "take dead aim" thing is vastly overused by the average golfer!    :-)

post #6 of 25

I would say the other caveat to close is better is what it takes to get closer.  Even if the fairway is the same width at 50 yards away and 100 yards away, there are times that it will be an easier and safer shot to try to put the ball 100 yards away rather than 50 yards away.  So while you might hit the ball closer on average from 50 yards as opposed to 100 yards, the difference for some players might not be big enough to warrant taking on even a bit more risk on the proceeding shot.

post #7 of 25

I agree with GD.  And with David that getting whatever exactly you call 1/2 and 1/4 shots down paying dividends long term.

 

Right now you're not consistent, but you're going about it the right way.  On the course, if you've got a shot that's not working (full SW), play a different shot that is working better (1/2 GW).  One extra thing, especially right now, but even down all the way to my level, which is solid but NOT great, remember to not worry too much about getting it ON the pin with these shots.  For example, you've got two shots you're practicing in the ~55 yard range, 1/2 SW or full LW.  If you're shooting at a mid or front pin with 30+ feet behind the flag and the flag's at 51 yards, don't try to hit a 90% LW or a 45% SW.  Choose whichever of those two shots you've been practicing that you feel better with right now and hit that exact shot, just trying to get it on the green, even if you expect that to be a tad long.

 

Same thing applies to hitting pitches over a bunker or whatever.  Right now you don't have the control to choose a high spinny pitch to get you super close if you've short sided yourself and have to hit over a bunker.  Just hit the stock pitch you've practiced most and try to two putt.

 

On pitching, search for quickie pitching video on the site.  That's really helped me.  

post #8 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harmonious View Post
 

There's a big caveat that goes with this statement:   Closer is better IF you routinely can get the closer shot nearer the pin than a shot from farther away.  By that, I mean a 40 yard shot to a front pin on a raised green may not be one that you can normally get as close to the hole as, say, a 70 yard shot where you can take a fuller swing and there may be more spin so the ball will stop quicker. That's why the pros will lay up to their favorite distance(s) when they do not go for a green.

Certainly.  There are a lot of caveats that go with that statement.  There is a hole at my "home" course that I hit 4 iron off the tee instead of 3 wood or driver because the landing area for the longer clubs is going to put me 40-60 yards out but 20-30 feet below the level of a narrow green.  I'm not nearly as confident with that shot than I am with a 100-110 yard shot from up at the same elevation as the green.  That's one example, but there are a myriad of others.  But there is something else at play in all of those scenarios.  In my case, elevation and a narrow green.  In other cases, hazards or bunkers, narrow landing areas, or angles into the green, or what have you.

 

There are a lot of reasons why you wouldn't always just try to pound it as far you can.  I'm just saying that there really is never a reason to lay back for the SOLE purpose of having a longer shot or a full shot.

 

And I believe that anybody who says that they are better from further away is not measuring honestly.  They are comparing their satisfaction with the shots, not the actual results.  From 100 yards, they may expect to be on the green 60% of the time and average within 25' of the hole, and in reality they hit the green 45% of the time and average 45' from the hole.  From 40 yards, they expect to hit the green 90% of the time and average within 15', when in reality they only hit the green 60% of the time and average 25'.

 

From a "what you need to practice" standpoint they are absolutely "worse" on the 40 yard partial wedge shots because they are nowhere near as good as they should be.  But as far as considering score, they are absolutely better off with those shorter shots because they are closer to the hole, on average ... period.

post #9 of 25

Seems to me the "answer" is obvious, if you are facing a shot from less than a 100 yards you already missed the green once unless it's a par 5. If you have trouble from inside 100 it appears you have two problems to work on.

post #10 of 25

The short game is real personal, what's right for me may not be right for the next guy, but as a guy that doesn't hit drives real far and whose long irons/fairways don't exactly follow laser beams, I have come to grips with how I like to deal with the short game.  And how I like to deal with it is with my lob wedge.  For me, practicing the little "feel" and "touch" shots is easier with only one club than a range of 'em.  My other wedges I mostly just take a full swing.  If I want to take a bit off, I choke down about an inch.

 

Erik's Quickie Pitching Video http://thesandtrap.com/t/39411/quickie-pitching-video really helped me a lot, as I believe it has a lot of other folks on this forum.  This is similar to what Stan Utley teaches, but easy to digest.

 

When I practice, which I try to do regularly, I only hit a couple of balls from any given spot around the green, other wise I just zero in on a spot and the practice stops being practice.  Even moving a few feet one way or another is enough to make you think about the touch needed.  And practicing with a lob wedge is cheap and easy.  If you have a back yard you're golden.  If not (I don't have one), there are still lots of options that don't require a bucket of range balls.

 

The original question was Course Management and Shot Placement.  Stay out of trouble, tee to green, that's the key for me.  If you're better with your seven iron than your four, maybe you'd be better laying up in front of the green for an easy chip than tempting fate trying to hit a green with deep bunkers and maybe water or woods close by to the side.  Consider the down-side of each shot and how you will deal with it, or if you want to.

 

And, yep, closer to the green is better.  Though sometimes I would rather be just off the green than having a 20+ yard lag putt.

post #11 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harmonious View Post
 

There's a big caveat that goes with this statement:   Closer is better IF you routinely can get the closer shot nearer the pin than a shot from farther away.  By that, I mean a 40 yard shot to a front pin on a raised green may not be one that you can normally get as close to the hole as, say, a 70 yard shot where you can take a fuller swing and there may be more spin so the ball will stop quicker. That's why the pros will lay up to their favorite distance(s) when they do not go for a green.

 

The OP is going about it the right way by determining his distances with a variety of wedge swings, whether he currently can hit all those shots or not.  That will pay great dividends in the future. But until he gets more practice and more confidence, he should try to leave distances that make for a more comfortable shot. This also holds true for the rest of us.

 

A bad hit from closer is going to be closer to the hole than a bad hit from further away. You want to manage your bad hits.

post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremie Boop View Post
 

 

A bad hit from closer is going to be closer to the hole than a bad hit from further away. You want to manage your bad hits.

Which is most likely to produce a bad hit? 1) A 40 yard shot that you are uncomfortable hitting because you have either not practiced it enough or have had bad experiences the previous times you've attempted it or, 2) a 70 yard shot that you have hit successfully in the past (for whatever reasons) and feel more confident over.

 

I would say that most amateurs do not hit partial shots as well as full shots. They don't hit 1/4 shots as well as 3/4 shots. Dave Pelz said something similar in his Short Game Bible. So the odds of them hitting a bad shot on a partial swing is greater than hitting a bad shot on a more full swing. And I'm not talking 10 yards versus 100 yards. I mean those tough 40 and 50 yard partial shots versus a full swing 70 or 80 yard shot.

 

Unless you are the exception, you would be better off trying to lay up to a yardage that you are comfortable with, rather than trying to hit it as close as possible every time. That strategy works for the pros, it will work for you.

post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harmonious View Post
 

Which is most likely to produce a bad hit? 1) A 40 yard shot that you are uncomfortable hitting because you have either not practiced it enough or have had bad experiences the previous times you've attempted it or, 2) a 70 yard shot that you have hit successfully in the past (for whatever reasons) and feel more confident over.

 

I would say that most amateurs do not hit partial shots as well as full shots. They don't hit 1/4 shots as well as 3/4 shots. Dave Pelz said something similar in his Short Game Bible. So the odds of them hitting a bad shot on a partial swing is greater than hitting a bad shot on a more full swing. And I'm not talking 10 yards versus 100 yards. I mean those tough 40 and 50 yard partial shots versus a full swing 70 or 80 yard shot.

 

Unless you are the exception, you would be better off trying to lay up to a yardage that you are comfortable with, rather than trying to hit it as close as possible every time. That strategy works for the pros, it will work for you.

 

There is a difference that anything under 105 or so yards for me is a partial swing. I'd still take a 50 yard shot over a 105 yard shot because a mis-hit 105 yard shot will be further away from the green/hole then a mis-hit 50 yard shot on average. Of course there are extreme misses but even in that case an extreme miss on a 50 yard shot is going to be better or equal to a bad 105 yard shot typically.

post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremie Boop View Post
 

 

There is a difference that anything under 105 or so yards for me is a partial swing. I'd still take a 50 yard shot over a 105 yard shot because a mis-hit 105 yard shot will be further away from the green/hole then a mis-hit 50 yard shot on average. Of course there are extreme misses but even in that case an extreme miss on a 50 yard shot is going to be better or equal to a bad 105 yard shot typically.

Well then, I guess you are the exception that has no comfortable yardage to lay up to. I would suggest that you develop some "go-to" yardages that you are comfortable with. It seems you are emphasizing misses or bad shots rather than focusing on making good shots.

post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harmonious View Post
 

Well then, I guess you are the exception that has no comfortable yardage to lay up to. I would suggest that you develop some "go-to" yardages that you are comfortable with. It seems you are emphasizing misses or bad shots rather than focusing on making good shots.

 

.... There are yardages that I'm more comfortable with, I'm pretty good with my 50* from around 130. That doesn't mean I'd rather be 130 out than 50 though. I find it interesting that you think I emphasize misses over good shots. I see it as knowing a good shot will be good but I want as little penalty from a bad shot as possible.

post #16 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremie Boop View Post
 

 

.... There are yardages that I'm more comfortable with, I'm pretty good with my 50* from around 130. That doesn't mean I'd rather be 130 out than 50 though. I find it interesting that you think I emphasize misses over good shots. I see it as knowing a good shot will be good but I want as little penalty from a bad shot as possible.

I agree. I think Harmonious forgot what it's like to be a high capper. Less about the risk than minimizing the damage because it's a given we're going to miss some shots.

post #17 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harmonious View Post
 

Well then, I guess you are the exception that has no comfortable yardage to lay up to. I would suggest that you develop some "go-to" yardages that you are comfortable with. It seems you are emphasizing misses or bad shots rather than focusing on making good shots.

 

I actually agree with Jeremie.  And my reasoning (which very well may not apply to you) as to why some people don't agree with him is laid out above.  Some people feel like they are more comfortable with full swings than partials, and that very well may be true, they may be more comfortable.  But it's not about being comfortable, its about score.  By and large, they are still getting closer to the hole ... from closer to the hole.

 

Also consider that it's probably not that easy for most people to successfully get to that comfortable yardage.  Most amateurs who want to lay up to 100 are going to miss that shot oftentimes as well.  Now you're stuck at 115 or 85, neither of which are your comfortable yardage.

 

Like Erik said in the other post I quoted above ... How many people out there would HONESTLY take the option of picking up their ball every single time they are off the green but within their "comfortable" yardage - lets say 90 - and go back and drop it at 90?  Unless they were cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, I'm guessing none of them.

post #18 of 25

You may disagree, but knowing what yardages are likely to produce good shots is even MORE important for higher handicaps. That's what good course management is all about. The better players lay up to comfortable yardages because their expectations from those yardages are higher than from other yardages.

 

Certainly higher handicappers have yardages that they feel better about playing from. And certainly they won't always make a good shot from there, just like pros won't.  But the chances are better for a good outcome if they are comfortable hitting the shot than if they are not. That's all I'm saying.

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 › Course Management - Shot Placement