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Greatest Playing Tips

post #1 of 64
Thread Starter 

In another thread someone mentioned that a mid/high handicapper should aim at the centre of the green when pitching rather than attack the flag.

 

Such a simple, easy to apply tip that could lower a lot of players scores immediately.

 

So many golfers, myself included, spend hours practicing swing mechanics then go on the course and throw away shots by making stupid decisions.

 

Has anyone else got any other simple playing tips to share? 

post #2 of 64
Thread Starter 

 A lot of these will be second nature to low/ mid handicappers but to others starting out they can be the difference between shooting 95 or 125!

 

My favourites include;

 

1. Get a pre-shot routine and stick to it

 

2. If you can’t use a club consistently on the range don’t use it on the course yet.

 

  • If you’re slicing every drive on the range then expect to lose a lot of balls if you take your driver out on the course! Even drop down to an Iron off the tee if that’s what it takes to keep the ball in play.  

 

3. Play a safer shot with your provisional

 

  • Nothing worse than seeing your provisional heading into OB territory as well! 

 

4. Use that little black line on the ball to line up your putts!

 

  • I was playing for about 2 years before I did this!

 

5. If you’re in the trees play out sideways; resist the temptation to try to hit a 3 hybrid through two trees, over a third tree, past a bunker onto the green. You are not Seve Ballesteros. 

post #3 of 64
I've heard Ian Poulter and Jason Day both say they tell the amatuers their playing with to take one more club than they normally would for each shot.

When your still and mid to high handicap, even if you have the power, play every par 5 as a three shot hole. Being on in 2 some of the time Dosent matter when your in a bunker or the trees most of the time. I think going 3 wood, hybrid, wedge is a much higher percentage than driver, 3 wood, sand wedge, three putt. Zach Johnson makes a lot of money playing this way.

I also like Paul Azinger on putting. When your putting from outside about 20 feet, putt to a 55 gallon drum, not to a solo cup.
post #4 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by gophinmedic View Post

I've heard Ian Poulter and Jason Day both say they tell the amatuers their playing with to take one more club than they normally would for each shot.

When your still and mid to high handicap, even if you have the power, play every par 5 as a three shot hole. Being on in 2 some of the time Dosent matter when your in a bunker or the trees most of the time. I think going 3 wood, hybrid, wedge is a much higher percentage than driver, 3 wood, sand wedge, three putt. Zach Johnson makes a lot of money playing this way.

I also like Paul Azinger on putting. When your putting from outside about 20 feet, putt to a 55 gallon drum, not to a solo cup.

 

Not a fan of the 3 foot circle drill. I can understand for something like 50+ feet. For anything else, Aim Small, Miss Small. 

 

Actually you are wrong on the par 5.  Proximity to the hole from the sand for a PGA tour player is just over 9 feet. You hardly ever see a Pro not get the ball on the green from a bunker. Proximity for a PGA tour player from 75-100 yards is 17 feet. 

 

That means pro's get the ball closer to the hole 8 feet for bunkers. 

 

Proximity to the hole from the rough on short game shots is 7'8" for a PGA tour player. That is all shots going out to 30 yards. 

 

There is no scenario were a player should not go for the green in two, unless there is a miss that costs them a penalty. 

 

The reason is if you take bunker versus 75-100 yards, you are giving up 86% making a birdie to about 17% chance due to making putts. 

 

BIG DROP!!!

post #5 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by GlasgowsGreen View Post
 

In another thread someone mentioned that a mid/high handicapper should aim at the centre of the green when pitching rather than attack the flag.

 

Such a simple, easy to apply tip that could lower a lot of players scores immediately.

 

So many golfers, myself included, spend hours practicing swing mechanics then go on the course and throw away shots by making stupid decisions.

 

Has anyone else got any other simple playing tips to share?

 

If you haven't already, you need to check this out......

 

http://thesandtrap.com/t/71214/lowest-score-wins-a-first-of-its-kind-golf-book-for-anyone-who-wants-to-lower-their-score

 

@david_wedzik and @iacas are writing a complete book devoted to exactly what you're talking about.

post #6 of 64
Thread Starter 

Thanks for that I'll give it a look. 

 

I also found 'Golfs Not A Game Of Perfect' to be a great book for similar type advice 

post #7 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by saevel25 View Post
 

 

Not a fan of the 3 foot circle drill. I can understand for something like 50+ feet. For anything else, Aim Small, Miss Small. 

 

Actually you are wrong on the par 5.  Proximity to the hole from the sand for a PGA tour player is just over 9 feet. You hardly ever see a Pro not get the ball on the green from a bunker. Proximity for a PGA tour player from 75-100 yards is 17 feet. 

 

That means pro's get the ball closer to the hole 8 feet for bunkers. 

 

Proximity to the hole from the rough on short game shots is 7'8" for a PGA tour player. That is all shots going out to 30 yards. 

 

There is no scenario were a player should not go for the green in two, unless there is a miss that costs them a penalty. 

 

The reason is if you take bunker versus 75-100 yards, you are giving up 86% making a birdie to about 17% chance due to making putts. 

 

BIG DROP!!!


But your quoting pga tour statistics, not mid and high handicap statistics. of course a PGA tour pro can get up and down from a bunker 50-70% of the time, but for a 20 handicap, that percentage goes down considerably. Up and down from the rough off the green for a touring pro is 60-70%, a 20 handicap is going to duff and sting that percentage. For a lower-mid handicap, abosolutely, go in two, but high handicap players don't practice short game near enough, hence the high handicap. But I bet they are better from 50-100 yards in the fairway because they hit more of these shots at the range. Now if a 20 or 30 handicap has spent a lot of time in the short game area, sure, they could probabaly get up and down 40-50% of the time, but if their still a high handicap then they probably aren't driving very accurately and their probably struggling with irons and especially woods. My point is, if you have to pull out that 3 wood that you aren't very comfortable hitting, your more times than not going to playing from the woods on the right and left or dunking it in the water. If instead you can pull out the utility club or a 6 iron and give yourself a shot from the fairway, you should probably be doing this. As far as aiming small and missing small, when I have my .308 in my hands, that probably a good choice. But from a long distance on the putting green, its easier to putt comfortably to a larger target. This frees up the arms and hands, lets the shoulders rock, and gives people the ability to let it roll. I look at putting like shooting a bow, not a gun. With my bow, I allow the sight to figure 8 over the target an let it release when im comfortable. If I could put my putter in a bipod and put a laser on the front, I could aim small and miss small. But Im holding a putter in my two arms, that aren't pieces of machinery, that are going to have some sway and give. Trying to be too fine puts too much stress on the fingers and hands and dosent allow the body to control the stroke. Please consider that the OP is talking about advice for mid and high handicap players who could lower their scores by changing a few course management ideas. Not overall advice for the avid, low handicap golfer.

post #8 of 64

My favorite not-so-obvious one that helps the noobs: 

 

1.  Issue: You walk onto a tee box with trees and OB right. Resolution: Tee your ball as far RIGHT (closest to the trees and OB) on the tee box as you can and aim AWAY from the trouble.  It's better being in the left rough laying 1 than hitting 3 from the same tee box.

 

Dave  

post #9 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by saevel25 View Post
 

 

Not a fan of the 3 foot circle drill. I can understand for something like 50+ feet. For anything else, Aim Small, Miss Small. 

 

Same here, doesn't make sense to me to be "vague" with where I'm aiming. I mean, even if I do aim for a 50 gallon drum or 3 foot circle it would be asinine to aim anywhere but dead center of the drum/circle no? Are people aiming for a 3 foot circle and thinking "right edge"??:blink:

post #10 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by gophinmedic View Post
 


But your quoting pga tour statistics, not mid and high handicap statistics. of course a PGA tour pro can get up and down from a bunker 50-70% of the time, but for a 20 handicap, that percentage goes down considerably. Up and down from the rough off the green for a touring pro is 60-70%, a 20 handicap is going to duff and sting that percentage. For a lower-mid handicap, abosolutely, go in two, but high handicap players don't practice short game near enough, hence the high handicap. But I bet they are better from 50-100 yards in the fairway because they hit more of these shots at the range. Now if a 20 or 30 handicap has spent a lot of time in the short game area, sure, they could probabaly get up and down 40-50% of the time, but if their still a high handicap then they probably aren't driving very accurately and their probably struggling with irons and especially woods. My point is, if you have to pull out that 3 wood that you aren't very comfortable hitting, your more times than not going to playing from the woods on the right and left or dunking it in the water. If instead you can pull out the utility club or a 6 iron and give yourself a shot from the fairway, you should probably be doing this. As far as aiming small and missing small, when I have my .308 in my hands, that probably a good choice. But from a long distance on the putting green, its easier to putt comfortably to a larger target. This frees up the arms and hands, lets the shoulders rock, and gives people the ability to let it roll. I look at putting like shooting a bow, not a gun. With my bow, I allow the sight to figure 8 over the target an let it release when im comfortable. If I could put my putter in a bipod and put a laser on the front, I could aim small and miss small. But Im holding a putter in my two arms, that aren't pieces of machinery, that are going to have some sway and give. Trying to be too fine puts too much stress on the fingers and hands and dosent allow the body to control the stroke. Please consider that the OP is talking about advice for mid and high handicap players who could lower their scores by changing a few course management ideas. Not overall advice for the avid, low handicap golfer.

 

Yea but you were quoting what Zach Johnson did. So you bridged the link first :-D (Drops the mic) 

 

Actually High Handicappers don't practice their long game near enough. Since the long game is the most important. Still amateurs have a better chance of getting up and down when they are closer to the green. I have no problem with an amateur hitting a hybrid over a wood if they know they can advance that club the farthest a good percentage of the time. I mean if they can get a good strike 80% of the time with a hybrid, and only 50% of the time with a 3-wood. Yea it isn't bad to sacrifice 15-20 yards. Especially if that 50% might be a chunk or duff. A player SHOULD NOT lay up on a par 5 when they HAVE the option to advance it as far as possible given their ability. 

 

As for putting, nah, "Aim small Miss small" period. No discussion on that one. Here's the thing, you are going to have error on every putt right? Lets say you are good for +/- 12 inches on putting distance. Now you throw in an additional +/- 3 feet. Now your at +/- 4 feet. That is a lot scarier distance than tap ins. But if the person just tries to make the putt, then they might still get in to that 3 foot circle more often than not. 

 

Here's the thing, why teach a high handicap player something that a good player doesn't do? Does that makes sense. Do you just give tips for one and not the other. How are they suppose to improve that way? Just saying it sound strange to say, "Oh your a high handicapper do it this way because you are terrible". I rather teach someone a good way of doing something, something done by a lot of good golfers, and maybe they will struggle with it, but they will improve. 

 

So I just don't get the point of why someone should aim for a larger target when the target is what it is. Heck, when I am hitting a long putt, I read it the same as any other putt. I am trying to get the speed on that putt to be 6 inches past the hole. How can you learn feel from long putts if your saying it is OK to miss it by as much as 3 feet? 

post #11 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ernest Jones View Post
 

Same here, doesn't make sense to me to be "vague" with where I'm aiming. I mean, even if I do aim for a 50 gallon drum or 3 foot circle it would be asinine to aim anywhere but dead center of the drum/circle no? Are people aiming for a 3 foot circle and thinking "right edge"??:blink:


Sure, you aim at the middle of that drum, the key is a visualization thing, when high handicappers start to focus in on a tiny circle, 20,30,40 feet away, their mind wants to manipulate that putter to push it to that tiny circle. From playing with my buddies and watching other people, I constantly see this equaling a ball that runs 10 feet by, 10 feet short, or 10 feet left and right. When someone can feel free to putt the ball at a large target, their accuracy has a chance to increase. Ill say it again, this is ADVICE for a HIGH handicap player. Take it, try it out. If it works for you great, if it dosent, you find something else. That is the game.

post #12 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by saevel25 View Post
 

 

Not a fan of the 3 foot circle drill. I can understand for something like 50+ feet. For anything else, Aim Small, Miss Small. 

 

I tend to agree.  And mid-high hcp players miss a lot of 3 foot putts.....

post #13 of 64

An article by Brodie on strokes gained for different aspects of the game showed that HIGH handicap players miss 50% of their putts from 3-4'. I mean, I rather get them to error closer to the hole. 

post #14 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by gophinmedic View Post
 


Sure, you aim at the middle of that drum, the key is a visualization thing, when high handicappers start to focus in on a tiny circle, 20,30,40 feet away, their mind wants to manipulate that putter to push it to that tiny circle. From playing with my buddies and watching other people, I constantly see this equaling a ball that runs 10 feet by, 10 feet short, or 10 feet left and right. When someone can feel free to putt the ball at a large target, their accuracy has a chance to increase. Ill say it again, this is ADVICE for a HIGH handicap player. Take it, try it out. If it works for you great, if it dosent, you find something else. That is the game.


Whatever works for you but I am trying to make a 50 foot putt. I can't see an advantage in trying to covey shoot it up there in the neighborhood of the hole.

post #15 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by GlasgowsGreen View Post
 

Thanks for that I'll give it a look. 

 

I also found 'Golfs Not A Game Of Perfect' to be a great book for similar type advice 

 

Lowest Score Wins is virtually nothing like what is mostly a mental game book.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by David in FL View Post
 

I tend to agree.  And mid-high hcp players miss a lot of 3 foot putts.....

 

Yeah, they're surprisingly bad at them. 84% for a 90s-shooter I think.

 

Also, at every level of play, golfers take fewer strokes from the 30 yards and in the rough than 80 yards and in the fairway.

post #16 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post




Yeah, they're surprisingly bad at them. 84% for a 90s-shooter I think.

84% make rate? I'm honestly surprised it's that high.
post #17 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by saevel25 View Post

Yea but you were quoting what Zach Johnson did. So you bridged the link first a3_biggrin.gif  (Drops the mic) 

Actually High Handicappers don't practice their long game near enough. Since the long game is the most important. Still amateurs have a better chance of getting up and down when they are closer to the green. I have no problem with an amateur hitting a hybrid over a wood if they know they can advance that club the farthest a good percentage of the time. I mean if they can get a good strike 80% of the time with a hybrid, and only 50% of the time with a 3-wood. Yea it isn't bad to sacrifice 15-20 yards. Especially if that 50% might be a chunk or duff. A player SHOULD NOT lay up on a par 5 when they HAVE the option to advance it as far as possible given their ability. 

As for putting, nah, "Aim small Miss small" period. No discussion on that one. Here's the thing, you are going to have error on every putt right? Lets say you are good for +/- 12 inches on putting distance. Now you throw in an additional +/- 3 feet. Now your at +/- 4 feet. That is a lot scarier distance than tap ins. But if the person just tries to make the putt, then they might still get in to that 3 foot circle more often than not. 

Here's the thing, why teach a high handicap player something that a good player doesn't do? Does that makes sense. Do you just give tips for one and not the other. How are they suppose to improve that way? Just saying it sound strange to say, "Oh your a high handicapper do it this way because you are terrible". I rather teach someone a good way of doing something, something done by a lot of good golfers, and maybe they will struggle with it, but they will improve. 

So I just don't get the point of why someone should aim for a larger target when the target is what it is. Heck, when I am hitting a long putt, I read it the same as any other putt. I am trying to get the speed on that putt to be 6 inches past the hole. How can you learn feel from long putts if your saying it is OK to miss it by as much as 3 feet? 
Am I going to teach a young pitcher how to throw a 12-6 curve or a slider? No, Im going to teach him a fastball, preferably 4 seam, its a high percentage pitch. When his arm developes and he can consistently throw strikes, im going to teach him a 2 seam fastball. Then a change-up, then a curveball. Im not going to teach him something he should do well in the future if he isn't doing the basics well. Its about honing skills. If someone is missing putts badly by being to fine, open the margin. When they can putt into the circle consistently, then the circle shrinks. When that's consistent, the circle shrinks again. I mean honestly, were talking about people trying to develop a consistent game and improve. If someone is starting out, are we going to push hitting draws and stingers in the first lesson because its what a good player does? I would hope not. I would hope we teach them grip, posture, proper rotation, proper transisition. After these things develop we get into the finer points. My point is for someone who is struggling, looking to improve, trying to lower their score.
Also, I think confidence and attitude are greatly important. if I aim at a 4 inch circle and miss by three feet, I feel like I failed. If I aim at a three foot circle, and put it in that circle my confidence goes up. This is a snowball effect.
Like I said, this isn't for everybody, just like a fade or a draw isn't or everybody. Aiming at the center of the green isn't for everybody. taking a wood instead of driver from the tee isn't for everybody. But it may help somebody and that is what this is all about.
post #18 of 64

Don't follow a bad shot with a bad shot...

 

Aggressive swings to conservative but specific targets...

 

Agree with saevil on both putting and par 5's/distance.  In order to get better you have to act like a better golfer.  That doesn't mean trying to pull of 40-yard hooks over water out of the rough but it does mean trying to make 30 footers and advancing the ball strategically.  Not all high handicappers have the same weakness.

 

Completely agree on aiming at the middle of the green. 

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