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Relative Importance of the Long Game, Short Game, etc. (Mark Broadie, Strokes Gained, LSW, etc.)

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28 minutes ago, bones75 said:

But yes, keeping it in play is a must-have not a nice-to-have.

I agree.

50 minutes ago, bones75 said:

I just often feel that they are so much better ball strikers than me.

I guess it's how one defines a better ball striker, but IMO, if you're keeping it in play and beating them on the same courses, you're the better ball striker.

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3 minutes ago, bones75 said:

 I routinely win our nassau's, so I'm not whining, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't get caught up in there mind games some days.

Mind games are for losers.  You're a winner!  :beer:

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I have been a saying long game was more important for 15 years. I always scoffed at the saying "Drive for show, putt for dough". I dare say I was ahead of my time back in 2005 when I started this THREAD. I took a beating at the time, even from some people who have now changed their tune. :whistle: 

Edited by NM Golf

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2 hours ago, bones75 said:

Its a nice sentiment, but not one shared by my friends!  "If you're short enough, you don't get into trouble..." is a common jab, as well as the typical "nice chipping/putting today..."  (we are all friends, none taken offensively).  I routinely win our nassau's, so I'm not whining, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't get caught up in their mind games some days.

Most of my partners and me hit like you and your friends, but even with hitting wild shots off the tee where you're making a 200 yard shots 2 fairways over and have a horrible short game we'd make birdies or doubles. If there is OB then bogeys and triples.

However, long game does help a lot, and agree that slicing or hooking out of bounds is not good enough but pretty much any fade or draw over 280 is going to end with a low single type of score or better.

I played with a couple plus handicaps last weekend and it wasn't like they hit fairways all the time. They just hit long, one drove 280 and the Web player drove 320. Even the plus handicap hitting rough some of the time and was 2 or 3 under after 9.

All my birdies and GIR are just from being close enough to use a U wedge or LW on my second shots, and I only average 258 off the tee.

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Haven't read the entire thread but let me share a story of this past weekend...club championship.  The long game cost me way more than the short game.  I finished second by four shots and can EASILY attribute 10 strokes that are attributable to 5 long-game swings.  The short game?  I only had one three putt and a couple other bad chips that cost me two shots.  That's it.  I wouldn't even say I putted great.

It's the long game guys.  Ball striking...hitting fairways, greens and minimizing bad swings.  I'm mad just typing this out.

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1 hour ago, Lihu said:

However, long game does help a lot, and agree that slicing or hooking out of bounds is not good enough but pretty much any fade or draw over 280 is going to end with a low single type of score or better.

I played with a couple plus handicaps last weekend and it wasn't like they hit fairways all the time. They just hit long, one drove 280 and the Web player drove 320. Even the plus handicap hitting rough some of the time and was 2 or 3 under after 9.

All my birdies and GIR are just from being close enough to use a U wedge or LW on my second shots, and I only average 258 off the tee.

I think you're confusing long game with distance. Long game in this context is anything beyond 100 yards. As mentioned earlier, a 250 driver is long enough to be scratch.

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4 hours ago, DaveP043 said:

Mind games are for losers.  You're a winner!  :beer:

Why do you think those guys are playing mind games? Because you're beating them! When my playing opponent starts down that track, that's when I know I've got him! Stay the course!

Edited by Buckeyebowman

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14 minutes ago, billchao said:

I think you're confusing long game with distance. Long game in this context is anything beyond 100 yards. As mentioned earlier, a 250 driver is long enough to be scratch.

Not exactly, he mentioned that he and his buddies hit those same yardages and was attributing good scores to short game play. I was only pointing out that at those distances it's long game that puts you on the green and having birdie chances.

Also, 250 yard average is like a minimum to get to scratch if you can do everything else better than average as well.

Most scratch or plus around here hit in the 280 range high and straight.

Edited by Lihu

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Originally I was just highlighting how while I believe distance (and in play) is better, my personal story just felt like I made up many of my strokes within 100 yards of the green and that was what kept me ahead of my friends all these years. I actually do scramble much better than my friends, and tbh I still think this better short game has been key to beating my friends consistently over the years, but I do realize that there's more to it than just that (e.g. getting to nGIR w/ less penalties).  

A takeaway from this thread is that I may have a better long game, even if it's shorter distance-wise than my friends, because I keep it in play and 250 w/ driver is enough for now. (14 FIR's isn't that unusual for me).  However, perhaps the easiest way to progress from here is for me to get longer?  (I was ~270 yds years back when i was a 6-7 HI).

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I don't see these two skills, the long and short game, as being as separate as is being implied, especially if you are including mid and short irons as part of the long game.  All iron play is closely related.  If you can hit decent 5 irons with varying depths of divots you're gonna have plenty skill around the greens. 

I think of it as 3 categories of shot making: the driver, irons and the putter.  Fairway woods fall more under the category of irons for me, even when hit off the tee.  Of course, you can try and swing up on it and hit it like a driver, but that's when the trouble starts for me.  Short chipping is half putting.

I guess my time allocation is close to this:

Driver - 20%

Irons - 70%

Putter - 10%

That puts wedge practice and chipping in the iron category.  I probably practice short approach shots and wedges more than I need now but it's a way to practice without wearing out my back or wrists on driving range mats.   Most of my driver practice is far below 100% effort for the same reason.  I'd like to be able to beat balls longer but I've overdone it before and learned my lesson.

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9 hours ago, bones75 said:

However, perhaps the easiest way to progress from here is for me to get longer?  (I was ~270 yds years back when i was a 6-7 HI).

I was kind of thinking that.

So it's totally probable that those extra 20 yards would translate to 3-4 strokes per round?

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13 hours ago, NM Golf said:

I have been a saying long game was more important for 15 years. I always scoffed at the saying "Drive for show, putt for dough". I dare say I was ahead of my time back in 2005 when I started this THREAD. I took a beating at the time, even from some people who have now changed their tune. :whistle: 

If you're talking about me, you're mostly right. I can't remember what I was thinking back then, but I do remember you went on about how FAR you hit the ball in several topics, and I remember thinking that my objection centered around distance as a huge component.

Distance, as we now know, is a good-sized component of driving, but there's more to it than that of course, like avoiding penalties, etc.

But yeah, that topic is a good one that shows that I'm not one to stick with something just because it seems right. Good reminder though of a few things…

  • New facts can surface.
  • That we should all be willing to change our minds when presented with better information.

(That doesn't mean that I'm going to ease off what I feel now just because it might change. We didn't understand the earth's gravitational pull until we did, and we're much further along in understanding where scoring occurs now than we were 12+ years ago. :-D)

9 hours ago, bones75 said:

A takeaway from this thread is that I may have a better long game, even if it's shorter distance-wise than my friends, because I keep it in play and 250 w/ driver is enough for now. (14 FIR's isn't that unusual for me).  However, perhaps the easiest way to progress from here is for me to get longer?  (I was ~270 yds years back when i was a 6-7 HI).

Perhaps, yes. Distance throughout the bag will help a bit.

1 hour ago, Runnin said:

I don't see these two skills, the long and short game, as being as separate as is being implied, especially if you are including mid and short irons as part of the long game.  All iron play is closely related.  If you can hit decent 5 irons with varying depths of divots you're gonna have plenty skill around the greens. 

I disagree. I've seen people who have great full swings, but who can't pitch or chip anywhere near their handicap level. Or I've seen some guys with relatively good short games who desperately need to work on their full swings. I don't think hitting pitches or bunker shots or chips and flushing a 5-iron go as hand-in-hand as you may want to believe, generally speaking.

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1 hour ago, Runnin said:

I don't see these two skills, the long and short game, as being as separate as is being implied, especially if you are including mid and short irons as part of the long game.  All iron play is closely related.  If you can hit decent 5 irons with varying depths of divots you're gonna have plenty skill around the greens. 

I think of it as 3 categories of shot making: the driver, irons and the putter.  Fairway woods fall more under the category of irons for me, even when hit off the tee.  Of course, you can try and swing up on it and hit it like a driver, but that's when the trouble starts for me.  Short chipping is half putting.

I guess my time allocation is close to this:

Driver - 20%

Irons - 70%

Putter - 10%

That puts wedge practice and chipping in the iron category.  I probably practice short approach shots and wedges more than I need now but it's a way to practice without wearing out my back or wrists on driving range mats.   Most of my driver practice is far below 100% effort for the same reason.  I'd like to be able to beat balls longer but I've overdone it before and learned my lesson.

This seems reasonable. I only hit my driver 5%, but looking at my performance on the course probably should spend 20%...

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1 hour ago, iacas said:

If you're talking about me, you're mostly right. I can't remember what I was thinking back then, but I do remember you went on about how FAR you hit the ball in several topics, and I remember thinking that my objection centered around distance as a huge component.

Distance, as we now know, is a good-sized component of driving, but there's more to it than that of course, like avoiding penalties, etc.

But yeah, that topic is a good one that shows that I'm not one to stick with something just because it seems right. Good reminder though of a few things…

  • New facts can surface.
  • That we should all be willing to change our minds when presented with better information.

(That doesn't mean that I'm going to ease off what I feel now just because it might change. We didn't understand the earth's gravitational pull until we did, and we're much further along in understanding where scoring occurs now than we were 12+ years ago. :-D)

 

It was you among others. We all have to be able to open our minds to other options especially when the data shows us another direction. Lord knows I've made more than a few changes in the way I think.

I am ordering your book in the next week. I am looking forward to reading it, as of now I think it is probably the best way for me to drop a couple more strokes, The swing is what it is at 45 years old I have probably hit it as well as I can.

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27 minutes ago, NM Golf said:

It was you among others. We all have to be able to open our minds to other options especially when the data shows us another direction.

What we lacked back then was the data. And I still think that topic felt like it was mostly about distance. But who the hell knows…?

It also serves as a reminder that just because a good player says something it may not be true at all.

You’ll enjoy the book. :-)

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I got your book through my library (Inter-Library Loan)  I will start perusing it soon.

Edited by Zekez

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On 9/19/2017 at 4:01 PM, NM Golf said:

I have been a saying long game was more important for 15 years. I always scoffed at the saying "Drive for show, putt for dough". I dare say I was ahead of my time back in 2005 when I started this THREAD. I took a beating at the time, even from some people who have now changed their tune. :whistle: 

Good thread. . .

Actually, I read Erik's first few responses, and they seem consistent with whatever he says now. Some people were beating you up but at least half agreed with what you stated in your OP.

Yet, there are plenty of 225 yard average golfers who play better than 270 yard golfers because of a pretty amazing short game and a command of their long irons and woods. I'm sure you run into the senior player who hits a Driver then 3W on a 400 yard hole and ends up rolling onto the green consistently.

I also agree that given the same ability to play short game, that distance helps.

In general, it's tough to generalize on any statement like "Drive for show and putt for dough." but it's also tough to generalize and say "a 270 yard average player will always beat the 225 yard player" as well.

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On 9/19/2017 at 7:59 PM, bones75 said:

A takeaway from this thread is that I may have a better long game, even if it's shorter distance-wise than my friends, because I keep it in play and 250 w/ driver is enough for now. (14 FIR's isn't that unusual for me).  However, perhaps the easiest way to progress from here is for me to get longer?  (I was ~270 yds years back when i was a 6-7 HI).

Well, where are you losing strokes compared to where you want to be?  

Also, I know I sound like a broken mp3 telling everyone this in response to your question, but consider a Game Golf.  They're slightly more than $100 off Amazon now and helped me narrow onto where I was losing strokes.  I also had a round where one of my skills was at 0 strokes lost compared to Scratch (for that round at least) and that feeling was well worth every penny I paid for the device. 

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