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Relative Importance of Driving/Approach Shots, Short Game, Putting, etc. (LSW, Mark Broadie, Strokes Gained, etc.)

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17 minutes ago, HJJ003 said:

My last round I putted like a 2-3 handicap. Lost only .9 strokes to scratch. Still only shot 93.

My best ball striking round I only lost 7 strokes on my approach shots (average 10) and lost 2-3 strokes off the tee (average 4). Personal best 85. If I would have putted like I did when I putted lights out, I would have only shot about one stroke better. 

Ballstriking is king. 

Yup, similar experiences here. I've had rounds with fewer than 1 stroke lost v scratch on short game;  I even had one round earlier this summer with 1.87 strokes gained v scratch.  I had a 0 strokes gained/lost putting round last summer.  All of those rounds I describe, I shot in the 80s.  

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I'd have to say I have faith in Broadie and LSW stats as I don't fully understand them.

I do understand there is a tremendous value in getting it close to the desired target with the full swing. I've experienced the result of not having a decent level of control with the full swing and how many more strokes you lose compared to being a crappy chipper or putter. I also strongly believe that developing a competent full swing is a much, much harder task than becoming an average putter.

That said, it's important to realize that at my level, better ball striking statistics usually go hand-in-hand with poorer. putting statistic and vice-versa. Statistics can be misleading.

Six GIR's might seem pretty good for someone who shoots in the high 90's. There are many who shoot much lower scores with less GIRs. But that doesn't necessarily mean my high scores are a result of a poor short game (mine is pretty bad, but that's not really the point.)

If on the other 12 holes I'm missing badly with the full swing and racking up the penalty strokes, no reasonable level of good putting is going to get those strokes back.

But if on those other 12 holes I'm keeping it in play, getting close to the green on my approaches and still shooting in the 90's, then yes, my short game and putting is the problem.

I'm just trying to get to the point where there are no glaring weaknesses - even if my overall game isn't as good as I'd like it to be. The game seems more enjoyable when I'm at a similar level with all the different skills.

Edited by JonMA1

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18 hours ago, iacas said:

I moved your comments here, @sheepdog, because they were veering well off topic in the other discussion.

I'm not disagreeing with you at all. I'm telling you that you're wrong. There's a difference.

It's like this:

You: The earth is flat.
Me: Uhhh, no, it's not. You're wrong.
You: I knew you'd disagree with me!

No, it isn't. That's why you can be wrong. Opinions are not the same thing as facts.

Translation: you either don't understand them or don't want any information that contradicts you.

I prefer to actually know what I'm talking about.

It illustrates the point that spending time working on your game based on the percentage it contributes to your score is a stupid way of determining what to practice.

He would have still been great if he had been an average putter. He gained enough strokes just from his approach shot game in some years to be a top 5 player on the PGA Tour in total strokes gained.

Nothing you post is anything but your opinion just as anything I post is my opinion. Again you state ball striking is your main concern when it comes to teaching and practicing, great, that's what you sell, it might work for the majority of people reading this, just not me. Maybe I'm a great ball striker, I had little trouble hitting driver fairly long and straight in my heyday. I haven't played in almost two years due to medical reasons but I bet after ten or so practice balls I'd be hitting it pretty good. A round or two the irons would probably be decent. IMHO I know through 50 years of playing, some at a pretty darn good level, that my short game was always my downfall and when my putter was working I played with confidence that rubbed off on every aspect of the game. I would imagine that this would apply to others, not all, maybe not the majority.

The putting green is a valuable place to practice.

There either acccept that there can be a difference of opinion or put the hammer down on me

As far as Tiger other places and threads in this forum has Tiger as the best putter of all time. Now I see that has conveniently changed to fit your statements.

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2 hours ago, JonMA1 said:

That said, it's important to realize that at my level, better ball striking statistics usually go hand-in-hand with poorer. putting statistic and vice-versa. Statistics can be misleading.

Hence statistics like Strokes Gained. They level the playing field for stats. Yes, if you use old (bad) stats like "putts per round" or even "putts per green" (they're the same stat, basically), the stats are misleading.

But strokes gained isn't all that misleading. You can have a bad putting round even if you take 28 putts if your first putts are from six feet because your short game is good and you miss a lot of greens.

2 hours ago, JonMA1 said:

I'm just trying to get to the point where there are no glaring weaknesses - even if my overall game isn't as good as I'd like it to be. The game seems more enjoyable when I'm at a similar level with all the different skills.

You're one who probably has putting as a glaring weakness, though, no?

54 minutes ago, sheepdog said:

Nothing you post is anything but your opinion just as anything I post is my opinion.

Once again, @sheepdog, you're blatantly wrong here. The statistics I've posted are factual. They're not opinions. Neither is the idea that the areas of largest separation when speaking generally are the full swing. That is a FACT these days. It's not an opinion.

"Drive for show, putt for dough" is wrong. The best players are the best ball strikers. The guy who wins each week is colloquially described as "the guy who happens to putt the best out of the top ball strikers that week."

54 minutes ago, sheepdog said:

Again you state ball striking is your main concern when it comes to teaching and practicing, great, that's what you sell, it might work for the majority of people reading this, just not me.

It's not what I "sell." I teach the full swing. I teach putting. I teach the short game. I teach course management. I teach GOLF. All of it.

But I teach more full swing lessons because… that's the area where golfers need the most help, and the area of the game that most affects their scoring.

I love teaching putting lessons. I love teaching short game lessons. I do them both well, and… golfers like them. Part of the reason they like them is that they're easy to learn. They're easy to get better at quickly. That's yet another reason why we have this topic…

54 minutes ago, sheepdog said:

Maybe I'm a great ball striker, I had little trouble hitting driver fairly long and straight in my heyday.

If you were a 2, you were almost surely a pretty good ball-striker.

54 minutes ago, sheepdog said:

IMHO I know through 50 years of playing, some at a pretty darn good level, that my short game was always my downfall and when my putter was working I played with confidence that rubbed off on every aspect of the game. I would imagine that this would apply to others, not all, maybe not the majority.

We aren't talking about you. We're talking about the vast majority.

If putting was a glaring weakness for you… then yeah, you were right to work on that. Putting is not a glaring weakness for many. For most golfers, putting and the short game is the best part of their game.

Statistically speaking. Because we can track these things, without bias or pre-conceived notions, and compare them to other players.

Players gain and lose the most strokes with their ball-striking. By far. That's a fact, not an opinion.

54 minutes ago, sheepdog said:

The putting green is a valuable place to practice.

Absent a glaring weakness, 15% of your practice time should be devoted to putting.

54 minutes ago, sheepdog said:

There either acccept that there can be a difference of opinion or put the hammer down on me

It's not a difference of opinion. When you're talking about the vast majority of golfers, not just you, you're wrong.

54 minutes ago, sheepdog said:

As far as Tiger other places and threads in this forum has Tiger as the best putter of all time. Now I see that has conveniently changed to fit your statements.

Wrong - I've never said he's the best putter of all time.

He wasn't even the best putter in the years he was dominating golf in the chart I posted above, or here again:

table-6-5.png

Here's another good one. Rory lead the PGA Tour in strokes gained (2.9) and Tiger was second (2.8).

Driving: Rory was 2nd at 1.2. Tiger was 10th at 0.7.
Approach: Rory1.3 (2nd). Tiger 1.4 (1st).
Short Game: Rory 0.3 (40th), Tiger 0.3 (51st).
Putting: Rory 0.1 (74th), Tiger 0.4 (26th).

In other words, the #1 and #2 players that year… were #1 and #2 because of their driving and approach shots. They gained 2.5 of their 2.9 strokes (86%) and 2.1 of their 2.8 strokes (75%) with the full swing. They gained only 14% and 25% with their putting and short game.

Facts. Inconvenient for you, I know. But facts they are.

strokes_gained_tiger_rory_2012.jpg

P.S. 26th on the Tour that year. I've never said that Tiger was the best putter on Tour. He's rarely been the best putter in any given year.

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Again everything I stated pretty much applied to my experience playing golf as I have said over and over. I never said it would apply to everyone but the OP asked for tips and I replied with what helped me. Your obviously a well respected teacher of the game but even the best teachers for some can't help others, like my old friend and top 100 teacher Tom Stickney. Both you and him are too computer, stat, graph oriented for me. Not a cut at either of you, I wish I could have made a living in golf. But old school teachers and my own knowledge of my game always worked best for me.

 

You have 300 plus pages of Tiger was the best, the GOAT as you say. I brought up that Nicklaus was known as the best putter of my era yet when I said I would say in putting, Nicklaus vs. Tiger was a toss up I got blasted. So is Nicklaus a better putter now??? 

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2 minutes ago, sheepdog said:

Again everything I stated pretty much applied to my experience playing golf as I have said over and over. I never said it would apply to everyone but the OP asked for tips and I replied with what helped me.

This is not about the OP. The OP isn't even the same in this topic as the other one. This is about where golfers - all golfers, save the few with a glaring weakness - should spend their time and what's important.

You were also probably wrong about your ballstriking, your putting ability, etc. People get that stuff wrong all the time. We have 20 handicappers telling us they're great ballstrikers (no they're not) and horrible putters (they're also probably not that).

Your opinions about your own game are probably off-track. Your "opinions" about everyone's game are way, way off track. They're actually "wrong."

2 minutes ago, sheepdog said:

Your obviously a well respected teacher of the game but even the best teachers for some can't help others, like my old friend and top 100 teacher Tom Stickney. Both you and him are too computer, stat, graph oriented for me. Not a cut at either of you, I wish I could have made a living in golf. But old school teachers and my own knowledge of my game always worked best for me.

@sheepdog, you don't know how I teach at all. I use facts to back up how I teach, but I don't remember the last time I gave anything one would describe as a "computer, stat, graph oriented" lesson. Give me a break. This is a forum, not a lesson here.

2 minutes ago, sheepdog said:

You have 300 plus pages of Tiger was the best, the GOAT as you say. I brought up that Nicklaus was known as the best putter of my era yet when I said I would say in putting, Nicklaus vs. Tiger was a toss up I got blasted. So is Nicklaus a better putter now??? 

 

:sigh:

You posted that I said Tiger was the best putter ever. I replied with something like "I've never said that." You reply with the above, which doesn't speak to any of the first two sentences.

Do you understand why some people think you're just a troll?

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In 15 rounds this year, I have gained strokes putting in comparison to scratch.  Seriously, by the numbers, I putt like a +1.4.   Yet, I haven’t broken 80.  

That should answer any questions about what is more important.

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8 minutes ago, lastings said:

In 15 rounds this year, I have gained strokes putting in comparison to scratch.  Seriously, by the numbers, I putt like a +1.4.   Yet, I haven’t broken 80.  

That should answer any questions about what is more important.

For you. Small sample sizes… ;-)

But your numbers are much closer to the averages than the opposite would be.

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24 minutes ago, iacas said:

For you. Small sample sizes… ;-)

But your numbers are much closer to the averages than the opposite would be.

Normally, I would agree that 15 rounds is small sample size. But, for one, you putt way more than you do any other shot.  You putt roughy 18 x 2 = 36 per round.  (Not exact).  Times 15 rounds..  we’re looking at well over 500 putts to draw a conclusion from.  

But, more importantly, I feel it is normalized.  There is really only 1 outlier putting round in the positive and 2 outliers to the negative, with 13 rounds in my normal range.  I putt how I put. I 3-putt about once per round and hit one 10 foot+ putt per round and 2-putt everything else, unless I chip to inside of 7 feet, which I almost always make.   My strokes gained putting just isn’t going to change.   Not over the next 5 rounds.  Not over the next 15.

but, none of that matters, or is relevant to this thread.  The point is, by the numbers, I am an excellent putter.  Yet, I don’t break 80.   Additionally, I’m a solid Driver of the ball.  Average 260 off the tee and hit 57% fairways.  Yet, I don’t break 80.  

Good golfers hit more greens.  Good golfers put the ball closer to the pin.  Because of that, good golfers make more birdies, and have more tap-in pars.  

I am absolutely not an anomaly.  This is golf.  The great players are the great ball strikers.  Everything else is secondary. 

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11 minutes ago, lastings said:

Normally, I would agree that 15 rounds is small sample size.

No, I'm saying one player's game is a small sample size.

So, while your data supports the overall facts… it's still just one small data point. A small sample size.

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1 minute ago, iacas said:

No, I'm saying one player's game is a small sample size.

So, while your data supports the overall facts… it's still just one small data point. A small sample size.

That’s fair. 

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3 hours ago, sheepdog said:

Nothing you post is anything but your opinion just as anything I post is my opinion. Again you state ball striking is your main concern when it comes to teaching and practicing, great, that's what you sell, it might work for the majority of people reading this, just not me. Maybe I'm a great ball striker, I had little trouble hitting driver fairly long and straight in my heyday. I haven't played in almost two years due to medical reasons but I bet after ten or so practice balls I'd be hitting it pretty good. A round or two the irons would probably be decent. IMHO I know through 50 years of playing, some at a pretty darn good level, that my short game was always my downfall and when my putter was working I played with confidence that rubbed off on every aspect of the game. I would imagine that this would apply to others, not all, maybe not the majority.

The putting green is a valuable place to practice.

There either acccept that there can be a difference of opinion or put the hammer down on me

As far as Tiger other places and threads in this forum has Tiger as the best putter of all time. Now I see that has conveniently changed to fit your statements.

Although short game and putting are my current weaknesses, I have to say that my overall enjoyment of the game is better with a better long game. That’s my opinion, yes, but I’m also reasonably confident that I can get my short game as good as I was 3 years ago. Still ifI pay for more instruction, it would still be with long game. Many more subtle things can affect my score and enjoyment more there than with the short game. Golf seems much more enjoyable when you spend more time around the greens.

I’ve also never found the practice greens to adequately mimic the course. Seems like my best place to practice short game in on a somewhat empty course where I still have some time constraints and other pressures in addition to the actual course conditions.

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4 hours ago, iacas said:

You're one who probably has putting as a glaring weakness, though, no?

I can safely say my putting at this point is no longer a glaring weakness. It's not great, just closer to the rest of my game. But to the point of the thread, it's not like my scores plummeted. It just makes the game a bit more enjoyable.

Spoiler

 

Putting had been a glaring weakness until May of this year. I bought a new putter and began seriously working on improving that part of my game...

2016 through May of this year...

2137196109_ScreenShot2018-07-14at10_02_48PM.thumb.png.d80d5062e0993fbff0bbd9253d76e104.png

 

Since May, 2018...

368345021_ScreenShot2018-07-14at9_51_22PM.thumb.png.1bfe2638e0291b25533b405816ac4066.png


 

 

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2 hours ago, mvmac said:

 

So the old saying... “professional golf is a putting contest between the best ball strikers”

In today’s PGA Tour, would it be more accurate to say... “professional golf is a distance contest between the best players” ??? 

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3 hours ago, Slim_Pivot said:

So the old saying... “professional golf is a putting contest between the best ball strikers”

In today’s PGA Tour, would it be more accurate to say... “professional golf is a distance contest between the best players” ??? 

I think many of those long distance guys are also great ball strikers. Think of the approach shots from Brooks, DJ, Rory in their major wins.

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11 minutes ago, boogielicious said:

I think many of those long distance guys are also great ball strikers. Think of the approach shots from Brooks, DJ, Rory in their major wins.

With wedges and short irons instead of long irons.  😉

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2 minutes ago, NCGolfer said:

With wedges and short irons instead of long irons.  😉

DJ didn't use a wedge on 18 for his US Open win from 193 out. He put it to 6 feet.

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