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Where do you place the most value in your golf game?


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I can't really put a percentage on my practice time, but the importance of my practice simply starts at the green and works back.  I spend the most of my practice time putting and reading greens, then chipping & pitching and bunker play (I try to stay out of the sand box in the first place!), then short irons, and on and on......   If I am pressed for time, I will putt for as long as I can from all over the practice green, then hit some chip and pitch shots.  When it's cold and snowy out like it is now, I'll either putt around the house or grab a club and swing on the mat during commercials.

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The value of my game is just being able to go out and play once a week and having an all around game to have a scoring average right at 80.  None of my stats really stand out, except my bunker shots a

I have amazing beercart form.

You're saying the majority of your 22-handicap strokes come from around the green?  I guess that's really just 1, occasionally 2, shots per hole, but if I got hooked up with someone who told me they w

Accuracy with my driver isn't a problem but overall length (250-260 max drive, normal drive of 220-240 yards) is due to a lack of flexibility secondary to my arthritis, so I work extremely hard on my wedge play.  In the past I wasn't comfortable with a sand wedge off of a tight lie but I approach it as just another shot now.  I'm probably saving 4-5 strokes a round now because I have full confidence in my short game with any club and can get up and down much more often than before I began the intensive practice sessions.  Next I'll devote a lot of time to working on obtaining more consistent distance with my irons by lowering the impact dispersion on the clubface and hitting the same spot more often.  My irons have a large sweet spot but I still need to have a more reproducible swing.

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In terms of my practice time, I'd say:

At the range-

70% irons+wedges

20% driver

10%woods/hybrids

I almost never get the chance to go lately, though. My practice habits at the range are to hit a large number of balls, and hit every iron in the bag a decent bit. Instead of hitting the clubs, I hit shots; I'll try to hit an ugly-swing-12-foot-high punch, high shots, draws and fades, (by the way, practicing a monster hook has saved my arse in the past) and going for some extra length. I'll also hit the picker if I can, and crucially, the 50 and 100 yard markers. The 100 is hard to do since I don't have a stock shot for that distance, but the 50 yarder is a staple and I can usually do it within 10 feet without trying too hard; I just look at the target and try to feel it. Being able to hit that kind of target will help you score better, and I don't just do it with the wedges, I've pitched with my 5i and it can work. Also, driver off the deck is a fun shot to practice.

I find that if I stress about my contact and mechanics while hitting buckets, it enrages me and makes me way worse. By hitting wacky shots, it makes it more fun and gets me off the mentality that there's only one correct shot (that I can't hit that day). I also seldom hit my irons off the tee, it's too forgiving, and makes hitting off the deck more daunting if you don't practice.

At the practice green, I usually hit chips from around the green in various lies, a half dozen at a time, then putt them: I'll sometimes switch holes and practice longer putts, etc, but the practice green at my home course isn't the best for putting.

At home, probably 70% of my practice time:

40% chipping and pitching

10% putting

40% iron swing, checking the bottom of my swing

10% Driver swing, trying to apply power smoothly

So I don't get much of a chance to practice; I need a range membership somewhere.

Irons should be every player's focus; if you hit your irons well, you'll score well and be consistent.

Short game is important, but if you have a solid swing and know how to hit the shots, you have no excuse. It will save you from mistakes, and it's the easiest thing to effectively practice at home. I prefer not to overly groove my chipping and pitching: creative shotmaking is great around the greens since that's where the worst lies are.

Putting is wonderful to practice, but grinding by yourself on the practice green for hours won't help you much.  People who are putting well hit the ball exactly where they want every time, it will go in depending on the break and speed being read. If you don't putt straight, or struggle to manage your speed, get lessons or try other styles. It's mostly mental.

The driver is the first place to look for lost shots, if you're a hit it OB guy. Breaking 100 requires no excessive OB to start with.

With a good iron game, you can get around any course. With a bad one, your putting and short game can't save you. Irons and full wedges are required once or more on 90% of holes.

I don't value woods and hybrids much: they're the least used clubs in the bag for me. I don't miss them if I carry driver, then 5i and up. If you can hit the driver and irons, they're no problem. The 3w off the deck is one of the most difficult and useless shots in golf, and unless you're very short, the 3w serves as a backup driver more than anything. If you have to hit driver, 3w into a par 5, you shouldn't unless you still probably won't reach.

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I spend most of my practice with ball striking - mainly irons and half wedges.  The best way to become a better putter is to hit it closer to the hole.   I really should work more on the driver as it seems that when I am in the fairway, my scores are usually pretty good...if I am not the sky's the limit.

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I work a lot on my irons and ball striking. If I'm hitting my irons well, my driver never seems to be an issue. My weakest part of my game is scrambling and bunker play... But that's because I don't have easy access to an area to practice this part of my game. Thus why I focus on my irons is to keep my GIR up north of 50%.... I'm currently at 68% fairways and 54% GIR in my last 20 rounds. My lag putting is pretty money (rarely 3 putt). But I need to improve on my pressure putts (eagle, birdie, mid range par savers). My GIR putting average is terrible at 2.0 for my last 20 rds. So I need to drain more pressure putts. Here is my average practice session.... Try to do this 2x a week after work. Medium bucket of balls..... 65 balls.... 40 balls with full iron shots 10 balls with driver, fairway wood and hybrids 15 wedge shots - mix in full, 3/4 and 1/2 swings with the PW, 52, and 56 Then I putt for a few hours on the putting green. 100 consecutive makes from 3ft. If I miss I start over. Then work on a 3 ball routine... Pick a line and hit three shots from 6, 9, 12, 15, 20ft. All at the same hole, but move further away after each 3shots. After I complete the 3 ball routine, I pick a new line/hole and repeat. I wish I could practice every day. Because I love to practice.
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Currently, I'm limiting my practice to 100 yards and in as I rehab from my 2nd ACL surgery.

Nobody has really mentioned this directly, but does everyone feel the best way to improve Driver and long irons is by hitting these clubs?  Especially pre-round warm-up, I think it is more important for me to loosen up and work on tempo/easier swings with shorter clubs than hitting a lot of drivers (which I tend to progressively swing harder at).

Put another way, I feel I would be a better player if I drove the ball straighter, but am not sure if hitting a bunch of drivers at the range is the best way for me to accomplish this.  With that said, I have probably practiced the driver a bit more at the range in recent years, but have spent more time with shorter irons trying to improve my shaft lean into the ball.

Originally Posted by LuciusWooding

In terms of my practice time, I'd say:

At the range-

70% irons+wedges

20% driver

10%woods/hybrids

I almost never get the chance to go lately, though. My practice habits at the range are to hit a large number of balls, and hit every iron in the bag a decent bit. Instead of hitting the clubs, I hit shots; I'll try to hit an ugly-swing-12-foot-high punch, high shots, draws and fades, (by the way, practicing a monster hook has saved my arse in the past) and going for some extra length. I'll also hit the picker if I can, and crucially, the 50 and 100 yard markers. The 100 is hard to do since I don't have a stock shot for that distance, but the 50 yarder is a staple and I can usually do it within 10 feet without trying too hard; I just look at the target and try to feel it. Being able to hit that kind of target will help you score better, and I don't just do it with the wedges, I've pitched with my 5i and it can work. Also, driver off the deck is a fun shot to practice.

I find that if I stress about my contact and mechanics while hitting buckets, it enrages me and makes me way worse. By hitting wacky shots, it makes it more fun and gets me off the mentality that there's only one correct shot (that I can't hit that day). I also seldom hit my irons off the tee, it's too forgiving, and makes hitting off the deck more daunting if you don't practice.

At the practice green, I usually hit chips from around the green in various lies, a half dozen at a time, then putt them: I'll sometimes switch holes and practice longer putts, etc, but the practice green at my home course isn't the best for putting.

At home, probably 70% of my practice time:

40% chipping and pitching

10% putting

40% iron swing, checking the bottom of my swing

10% Driver swing, trying to apply power smoothly

So I don't get much of a chance to practice; I need a range membership somewhere.

Irons should be every player's focus; if you hit your irons well, you'll score well and be consistent.

Short game is important, but if you have a solid swing and know how to hit the shots, you have no excuse. It will save you from mistakes, and it's the easiest thing to effectively practice at home. I prefer not to overly groove my chipping and pitching: creative shotmaking is great around the greens since that's where the worst lies are.

Putting is wonderful to practice, but grinding by yourself on the practice green for hours won't help you much.  People who are putting well hit the ball exactly where they want every time, it will go in depending on the break and speed being read. If you don't putt straight, or struggle to manage your speed, get lessons or try other styles. It's mostly mental.

The driver is the first place to look for lost shots, if you're a hit it OB guy. Breaking 100 requires no excessive OB to start with.

With a good iron game, you can get around any course. With a bad one, your putting and short game can't save you. Irons and full wedges are required once or more on 90% of holes.

I don't value woods and hybrids much: they're the least used clubs in the bag for me. I don't miss them if I carry driver, then 5i and up. If you can hit the driver and irons, they're no problem. The 3w off the deck is one of the most difficult and useless shots in golf, and unless you're very short, the 3w serves as a backup driver more than anything. If you have to hit driver, 3w into a par 5, you shouldn't unless you still probably won't reach.

Thanks, I found this to be very entertaining.  Was a bit surprised as a 30 handicapper that you practice the driver off the deck more than the 3w.

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since my swing is pretty locked in memory for various shots, I try avoiding the range. It seems that when i give my body rest I hit the ball with more power and crispness. Putting is the number one thing i practice on. If 15 footers fall, its gonna be a great day. I used to hit driver for an hour or so a day but it put a hurtin on my golf muscles and ruined my game the next day. A 20 minute jog in the morning then straight to the golf course. The first hole on the course i play is a long par 5. To assure birdy i have to be loose and bomb a drive. Value of my golfgame is held in the body, keeping it healthy keeps my golf game healthy.

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I don't practice a 3w because I don't carry one right now, and it's not that useful of a club for me. I play mainly shorter courses at the moment, with few par 5s. Most players who use it as a backup driver honestly don't hit it much better. A banana slice is still a banana slice, people hitting bad drives aren't complaining about the first cut. High handicappers who hit bad drives aren't focusing on keeping it in the fairway, they're making a bigger swing and doing it wrong, regardless of what club they use.

I hit either driver or 4h off most par 4s, and I never have 240 yards to go on any hole and expect to get there in 1. I can hit my driver just fine, I'm more inconsistent with my iron game. The driver is more of an exaggerated swing, and it's smoother and more consistent for me than my irons. Also, taking any shot off a 4 inch tee isn't a problem for me.

If I threw my driver into a lake tomorrow and played a round, I would score worse because my irons are my worst part of my game right now. My handicap isn't 30 because I don't practice my fairway woods, it's because I either hit my irons long and straight or completely waste a shot. If I was more consistent and stopped mishitting approach shots every hole, my game would be good enough to be in the teens.

Besides, I like hitting fun shots, and driver off the deck is pretty fun. I have used it on the course, it went straight. Fairway woods don't really require practice if you can hit the clubs around them, imo. I've never had trouble hitting them, but I only used them when I was first starting to shoot at targets over 160 yards away; now I have mid irons that can do that.

FYI I've been playing about 8 months, and I don't have much time or money to devote to golf. If I did, I'd have lessons by now. This is my game at least, Putting, driving, fairway woods and short game are less technical and more of a feel/natural thing for me, so I try to work on the irons which are all about mechanics.

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Putting and driving.  I know many don't place much emphasis on driving but frankly, if I don't put myself in good position off the tee, I cannot score.  I can putt mediocre on a good driving day and still score decently.  A lights out putting day only saves me a few strokes on a bad driving day.

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To the original poster: 100% in every part of the game. You're playing to a 1.4, that's not something that most people do. To play at that level all aspects of your game have to be sharp. I don't think there is one part of the game to practice more over the other. All facets must be running at peak performance, all the time.

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I have a pretty unusual opinion on this, I think.  For me, when it comes to short game and putting, I just feel like 'practice' is difficult because, how do you truly replicate what you're going to find on the course?

Every single putt is different, every short shot can have a vastly different lie, trajectory requirement, run/roll, etc... In my mind, 'practicing putting' is nothing more than convincing yourself NOT to think too much, and just roll the damn ball.  I mean, you're tapping a ball with a flat-face club and making it roll.  That doesn't require unusual mechanics, plane, path, lag, clubhead speed, etc...  Often, my best putting days come after nothing more than a very quiet, relaxing five minutes on the practice green, where I just turn off my thoughts, look down at the ball and let my mind operate the putter.

Similarly with chipping.  Now, I will say here, that I take great pride in my short game, and believe it's better than that of a lot of guys I play with regularly.  I 'have all the shots,' and feel I really know when to play each one.  But, I don't spend a lot of time on that, either.  My short game took a huge step forward, and has stayed there ever since, when I gained just a few tidbits of wisdom. For example: on any given shot, I think "ball first,"  Now, on some shots, it's just not possible, in thick rough, but that thought has all but eliminated ever chunking a shot.  And very similar to putting, I take the mindset of, once the club touches the ball, your part is done.  All you can do is watch it fly/roll and see how it turns out. That "letting go" of the uncontrollable, simply worrying about the controllable, may COME with lots of practice, but I don't think it has to.  Sometimes, revelations like that just have to come on their own schedule.

Now, full swing shots (or, mostly full swing, anything that - by most people's definition - "flies"): I think a lot of similar ideas hold, the concept of "controllable goals," not overthinking, letting go, etc...  Those all apply to EVERY single golf shot, I firmly believe that.  However, the full swing simply holds the potential for disaster, much more so than the short game.  Sure, you could skull a simply chip shot over the green into the lake, but I guarantee you, if I saw a guy do that, I could give him a 10 second lesson, and he could instantly hit five good ones.  Conversely, if a guy banana-slices his driver 80 yards right, it's a much harder proposition to fix him on the spot.  The speed and length of the full swing shot brings about so many more opportunities to go off the rails.  Full swing shots are the ones that will find hazards, put you in jail behind trees, land in bunkers, etc...  Learning to hit and control a solid, playable tee shot, and learning to hit solid, playable approach shots, predictable distances, IMHO, is where the bulk of us amateurs should spend our practice.

Once you can do that, I would actually argue that learning to get it in the hole from there requires much less practice "time," and more a player just "relaxing into" his short game.  I'll finish up with my own example: there was a time when my short game was money.  Like I said, I had all the shots, and was often getting up and down from anywhere, but my long game was all over the place. That 'great short game' was, at best, keeping me in for par, but if the long game was costing me penalty shots, or jailing me and making me punch out, then at best, I was in for bogey.  If the short game wasn't fantastic, now I'm bogey/double-bogey.  I spent a lot of time on my full swing, on just 'controlling' it, not learning to "pure laser" anything.  Now, I'm in every hole, and now that short game may chip in a birdie, and now par is usually a strong possibility, and doubles (generally, lol) stay off the card.

So, to sum up, my two cents: if someone looking to 'just have a solid game' is looking to focus practice time, I think it's best spent really learning and ingraining and repeatable, controlled full swing.  Once you have that, relaxing yourself down and learning a solid short game, or even a great short game, can come much more easily, and with more benefits to your overall game.

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The three most important clubs, in order, are Putter, Driver, Wedge. You hit those good and you will be a good player.

This is a complicated game & I really try to keep it as simple as I can. Putter, Driver, Wedge.

Now, I'm not saying ignore everything else. I'm saying that most of us are pretty busy, and to find the time to improve can be difficult. If you're one of those people, and if you only have say an hour a week to practice, spend half of it on the putting green, hit half a quarter of a bucket with the wedges, work thru the bag, and a quarter of the bucket with the driver. If you got more time, use those same percentages of time/balls.

Now, feel free to complicate that all you wish by bringing up bunker shots, chipping, etc. If you got the time, go for it. If you don't have the time, try to hit those three clubs well.

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The last article I read on this subject, either in Golf or Golf Digest, concluded that the closer to the hole you are the more important to you final score the stroke is.  From that one would have to think Putting is most important, chipping/pitching next, and etc.  But up util a few years ago I seldom finished a round with the ball I started with.  So I can empathize with the ball striking comments.  If you're adding strokes to your score that you didn't get a swing (e.g. penalty strokes), you won't score well not matter how good the short game is.

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The old "you take the most strokes with your putter" adage is played out, I believe.  Yes, you may take more strokes with your putter than any other INDIVIDUAL club, but if you shoot 90 with 30 putts, you took 60 strokes with something that ISN'T a putter.  Let's just imagine you are a dead-eye putter, but you can't keep your drive in same zip code, and can't hit an approach shot into a swimming pool.  That dead-eye putter will - AT BEST - be trying to save your par, but will very likely end up putting out for bogeys or worse, depending on exactly how much trouble you got into along the way.

On the other hand, if you can keep your tee shots reasonably in play (by that, I mean, you can hit a respectable distance and avoid hazards/jailing yourself), and can hit approach shots that find their way somewhere resembling on/around the green, I would argue you will VERY frequently putt for par, and if you're not a great putter, still kick in a lot of bogies, and pars and bogies puts you in the 80s.  If your short game is very poor, and those approaches that miss greens are leading to your duffing chips or skulling pitch shots, or your first putt from 30 feet is consistently leading to three putts, I would contend I could much more easily fix that, and get you making up-and-downs and eliminating three-putts, much more easily than I could figure out how to reign your driver in, or teach you to hit solid 5-irons.

Let's view it another way: who has ever played with a "great" player, by amateur standards, anyway (let's just say a low single digit)?  Did the guy spray it all over, only to recover and make sick up-and-downs, or make a lot of putts?  I feel like, the better players I've played with, often, I feel like they weren't dead-eye putters, or miraculous short-gamers.  But, when you're on in two (and it's not always the case that they're on in two from a bombed drive or laser-like approach; you can get on in two with just "good" shots), you can just make an 'average two-putt' and walk away with par.  Yeah, they'd make quite a few up and downs, but sometimes not and make a few bogeys, but then they generally grab a birdie or two, and they end up +3, or +4 for the day.  If I look at that and say, well, what's most remarkable in terms of their physical ability, in terms of what would I tell you would require more practice, it's not how do you bump and run a ball ten yards toward the hole with a swing arc of 2 feet, it's not how do you manage to tap a ball with a flat-faced stick so that it rolls straight, it's how do you swing a club around a full arc around your body so that it flies anywhere from 275 to 150 yards in the proper direction a predictable distance.  That's what I would tell you is the "minimum requirement for entry" into the "good player's club" and what the average amateur should spend his time on.  If you can chip and pitch it close and make a bunch of 10-20 footers to boot, then you're in the elite club, but if a deadly short game with a lousy full-swing game will never be a great player, maybe not even ever a good player.

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They might be the three most important to you given your ability and the course you play.  If I had to just pick three to play a round I'm not sure I'd take those.  Instead I'd probably go with a 3 wood, scoring iron (7i - 9i) and putter.  I could make the case that a 3w is the better choice for a high handicapper playing on a shorter course or one with narrow fairways, plus it gives you the ability to hit it off the turf which is important on long Par 4's or 5's.  If I can get within 150 yards of the green which I try to do I will usually land somewhere on the green with my 7i - 9i.  My wedges come more into play (except PW which I treat more as a 10i) when I miss the green so the wedges are to recover from mistakes for me at this point not clubs I plan to play as part of my strategy.

Originally Posted by zipazoid

The three most important clubs, in order, are Putter, Driver, Wedge. You hit those good and you will be a good player.



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things are coming together for me ... based on my last few outings - CHIPPING & PITCHING is where I need the most work & where it's costing me dearly.

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Note: This thread is 3380 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

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