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AspiringGolfPro

A golfer's skill profile

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I am new forum so my apologies in case this has been already covered.

What interests me as a somewhat newbie to the golf and (may be ) a good player in the remote future is how different skills affect on golfer's ability.

Can you describe the typical skill sets or profiles which determine a golfer's proficiency.
That is for example, what is the main difference in a game and skill set between 10 handicapper, 5 handicapper, scratch player and +5 handicapper? In other words what can +5 handicapper do that a 0 handicap player can't? What can 0 handicapper do that a 5 handicap player can't, and so on?

I hope I managed to explain my question pretty clearly. In any case cut me some slack in language.

Thanks a lot in advance.

P.S.: really looking forward to hearing skilled player's opinions.

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Something I've discovered is that the necessary skill set to play golf changes as you get better at the game. In other words the skill set that takes you from a 30 handicap down to a 20 isn't what will then take you down to a 10, and so on. This is one of the subtleties of golf that make it so interesting. We often hear it said that one drives for show but putts for dough. This is especially true for low single diget handicappers and better, but not so true for high handicappers. My putting averages are quite good, but I'm still a bogey golfer. Higher handicappers lose a lot more strokes getting the ball on the grean, and therein lies an example of changing skill sets at different levels of the game. Don't get me wrong every skill set gets used no matter how you play, but focusing on different skills at different levels is one way for anyone to see immediate improvement in the scores they shoot.

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For me (I am yet to be good) the difference in my game now as was when I was a 18 to 14 is just consistancy. I don't hit a ton of greens but I don't make alot of doubles or worse. I go through periods in rounds where I can play 5,6, or 8 holes at one or two over and when I was worse, that just wasn't happening.

As for the difference between the higher skill levels, it is just hitting more greens, hitting it closer, and making putts. I was reading the weekly golf mag I get for free (maybe golf weekly) but they were going through the players that had a bad year and why. The difference wasn't that big. They were talking about a number of players but they were only hitting 5% less greens and that dropped them down 100 or more spots in that stat. I think the difference in when you can really play is so small. If you can really play, it is only making 2 or 3 putts the difference between a 71 and 69 or 68. That could be a sand save or a birdie. Making a long par putt. Or hitting it 5 feet closer so the putt is easy. I've played with some sub scratch players and they hit alot of greens. When they go low, they make alot of putts.

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Short game. And putting. Anyone who is a legit 10 or less handicap can get the ball around the course just fine, so it's really not ballstriking that makes the biggest difference.

Without a doubt, the difference between those tiers that you laid out is in the # of putts per round and the percentage of short game saves (up & down percentage).


The only exception to this is that a +5 handicap is going to have some sort of distinct advantage over the others, whether that is distance, accuracy or ballstriking. That said, a +5 will still putt the lights out compared to a scratch golfer.

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To go from 30 to 20 just requires learning to make some good decisions, reasonable contact and no more than 40 puts a round. Twenty to ten requires an improved short game and a measure of consistency with your distances. Ten and below requires controlled power, the ability to scramble from some ugly places, just getting it back in play is not enough. The ablilty to control spin and trajectory becomes increasingly important, no longer aiming for the center of the green, now the pin or a specific area on the green. Very few low single digit players are poor chippers and putters. Listen to them complain and you would think they are awful. Two putt greens are no longer acceptable unless on a par 5 reached in two.

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I was actually thinking about this a bit. I think the biggest difference is one stat, GIR.


A good 2-4 hits about 50% of greens (seems about right from stats I looked at of other player

A good +2 to +4 hits 65% or better.

A 10 (me) hits only around 1/3.

You can't really play just getting up and down every hole. Not saying up and ins aren't important, but I think that stat is the biggest determinant of your skill.

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As a fairly crappy single digit player for me it is the ability to analyse all the detail and convert it into physical reality. I think you need to have a club in your hand every day. To get to a low single digit I think takes all that plus some athletic talent...to get to a plus...you need to be divorced, no kids and have no life...ha ha..

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[SIZE="2"]I'm not a low handicapper, but I have caddied for some years back, and seen some up close as a tournament volunteer. Also, I cross paths with lots of present and recent-past college golfers, and know a couple of NCAA Div. 2 golf coaches.

Golf has a number of skill sets to consider: Basic swing | Irons | Woods & Driver | Short game | Putting | Strategy | Personal psychology: ability to stay calm, think positively w/o being conceited.


10 HDCP: Lots of pathways to this. This is where a lot of former college stars play once they get an assistant pro job somewhere. They often only pick up a club a couple of times a week because of the other parts of their job.

A 10.H who is at the peak of his/her game (never been scratch) generally has a decent game, with one part particularly strong. One common weakness is a so-so or inconsistent short game.


5 HDCP: These persons generally have a solid, mature swing. Not all 10.H players do. Also, 5.H players have a more balanced overall game.

To rate their individual skill sets, we would have to take a look at the scores they keep, and those they drop. Do they shoot 76, 85, 76, 85, or are they fairly consistent? Here's where analysis of Online Score Cards would come in handy.


Scratch and 5+: Let's have a Steve W. or Andrew R. discuss these people.

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to me its mostly ball striking,hitting fairways and greens the more grens you hit the more birdie ops you have i say practice with an instructor the full swing

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Short game. And putting. Anyone who is a legit 10 or less handicap can get the ball around the course just fine, so it's really not ballstriking that makes the biggest difference.

That is the best explanation I've seen on this website. Best golfer I've played with was a 2 hcap. He whooped me around the greens, putting was excellent as well as pitch shots ( And I really don't think I suck at pitch shots and putting...I need consistent distance control on both). We match up well off the tee and irons almost every time, he is just better around the greens, it can add up to a 4 to 8 stoke win for him real easy over 18 holes...that's why I insist we play match play! About 50-50 so far.

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Easier said then done, but start with your Driving and hitting fairways. Forget about distance and how far you hit the ball. Try to consistantly hit fairways. After that ball striking and hitting all your GIR. Last but not least Putting. No where on the course will you lose more strokes in Golf then on the green. If you hit fairways you will have easier second shots. Whether there 100 yards away or 200 yards you dont want to be hitting out of the rough. Then if your striking the ball good and puting your second shot on the green it all comes down to your putting. 3 putts are a no no. If you can do these 3 things you will see your score drop fast. Like i said its easier said then done but work on them one at a time and do the best that you can to get better in them 3 parts of your game. Good luck.

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I think its about consistency and confidence in your game. As you gain more confidence you tend to hit more solid and with a greater degree of accuracy. As you progress, your handicap naturally reduces

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I love "wedge players" comments...he's brilliant..to get to a + level

"it's a lifelong obsession that ruins relationships and shatters your nerves"...

For me if I can pound 5 beers and shoot 80...I'm good!! If that guy from Moscow wants to go from a 20 to a +...god bless him and good luck.

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10 -> 5 handicapp is all about consitancy, hitting fairways and greens, and getting up and down from awkward places.

5 -> 0 handicap is consistancy and making putts, alot of scratch golfers are going out to shape shots too, it allows them to "set up" for birdie ops.

0 -> +5 handicapp now thats a test in its own right. I really shouldnt be answering to this one but owell heres my opinion. They Putt like crazy stuffing anything from a 40ft lag to a 25yrd pitch within 5-8 feet. Every shot has just about the same trajectory and shape, unless they are working it a certain way this draws a line between consistancy and perfection. And I believe it was Tiger woods who made this quote " Every round I am trying to go out and make birdie before bogey" thats the mentality alot of +5's have.

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thank a lot for the answers, guys!

Actually there was a thread about 0 and 5 handicap differences on the golfclubatlas.com forums. Most guys agreed that the most decisive factor that differs the former from the latter is the ability to control and shape tee-shots with the driver while all the other components of the game are usually pretty similar.

What do you think about this statement?

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Here is my statistic

Overall Playing Statistics
(per hole by hole statistics)

% Fairways Hit: 77%

% Greens Hit in Regulation:53%

% Successful Saves:30%

% Successful Sand Saves:96%

Average Putts:
- per Hole:1.80
- per GIR:1.85
- per 18:32.32

For me is to reduce stupid errors , something that totally brainless to do when come to course management.

My game around the green is okay, still need to improve my putting.

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Here is my statistic

hello kevin, good record keeping!

do you mind sharing with us how you keep track of those numbers? is there a program that you plug the number in or do you just write them down and do your own calculations? over how many games? thanks and regards. ps. so for you, it is much better to aim for the bunkers, so it seems?

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