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65/20/15 Practice Ratios: Where to Devote Your Practice Time

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Originally Posted by ladders11

My first problem with the 65-25-10 argument is that pros rely on their long games more than amateurs.  The pros expect to hit the green with their long irons and they work on this aspect of their game so they can get within 10 feet and make more birdies.  Tour pros hit 12-13 greens per round, whereas the average 10-handicapper hits 4-5.  Amateurs have many more short game shots per round and these shots make more of a difference on the scorecard.

Isn't this (bold part) the exact reason why it makes sense to practice the long game more??

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Mainly short irons and some longer ones. I practice from various lies up hill down hill rough burried balls. I try to shape my shots more to like a cut or a nice knockdown for example. I spend a lot of my time working on putting to a tee instead of a hole and chipping to a hole I'd say my ratios are

Full Swing - 60%

Short Game , Recovery - 20 %

Putting - 20 %

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Originally Posted by ladders11

Tour pros hit 12-13 greens per round, whereas the average 10-handicapper hits 4-5.

Ding ding ding! We have a winner:

Originally Posted by Golfingdad

Isn't this (bold part) the exact reason why it makes sense to practice the long game more??

Now back to more of the response…


Originally Posted by ladders11

My first problem with the 65-25-10 argument is that pros rely on their long games more than amateurs.  The pros expect to hit the green with their long irons and they work on this aspect of their game so they can get within 10 feet and make more birdies.  Tour pros hit 12-13 greens per round, whereas the average 10-handicapper hits 4-5.  Amateurs have many more short game shots per round and these shots make more of a difference on the scorecard.

Additionally to what Golfingdad said, if you want to stay at the level you're at, by all means just keep hitting 4-5 GIR. Again, GIR has the biggest correlation to score of any statistic out there. GIR is a full swing statistic, both off the tee and on the approach shot. It's very unforgiving on par threes (tee shot = GIR or not), and forgiving enough on par fives (you can punch out sideways after a bad drive and still get a GIR).

GIR has the single biggest correlation to score.

Originally Posted by ladders11

Second problem is that the short game is full of different strokes: full wedge, chipping, pitching, bunker, and putting.  Add to this the fact that many short game shots come from the rough, from awkward stances, imperfect lies, and from hills.  And, to hold the green, we need to have the ability to vary our trajectory and control the spin.

If you're hitting 4-5 GIR you need:

  1. a basic chip shot
  2. a basic pitch shot

That's it. You don't need an exotic bunch of strokes. The "full wedge" is covered in the full swing, and putting I already split out separately.

The short game is relatively simple. As you get better (six, seven, eight GIR), you'll naturally develop more shots around the green. You'll play and experiment more, and you'll do so because you have the confidence and ability to better control the clubface than someone who hits 4-5 GIR.


Originally Posted by ladders11

I don't disagree that it is also important to get off the tee, but for most of us this is the same swing from the same stance 12-14 times per round.  If I hit one good drive, I would love to copy and paste that drive onto all the other driver holes on the course.  Yet if I hit a good shot from 50 yards and in, chances are I won't use that same shot more than twice.  How many bunkers does the average golfer reach per round?  For me, it has always been 1 or 2 at most.  Sadly, there have been too many times in the past when I've gone into the bunker and taken 2+ to get out, or blasted it over the green.

When you figure out how to actually copy and paste a drive, you let us know. You'll be a bajillionaire. Point being it doesn't happen, not at any level, not with any regularity.

65/25/10. Read my first post for more - I'm not sure you really did. Look at the # of ball breakdown too.

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Originally Posted by Golfingdad

Isn't this (bold part) the exact reason why it makes sense to practice the long game more??


No!

First point is that the clubs used the most are 1) putter, 2) driver,3) LW, 4) SW, and 5) PW, followed by the 3W and irons.  Good wedge players don't start leaving their wedges in the trunk because they don't need them.

Second point is that what saves strokes is getting the ball close enough to make the first putt.  Basically, this means within 15 feet to have a 10% chance, or within 6 feet to have a 50% chance.  Nobody, including pros, can get the ball within this range from over 100 yards on a consistent basis.

I would venture a guess that most people can learn not to three putt - another way of saying this would be I like my chances of getting down in two from anywhere on the green.  Get it close, and then tap it in.  So given that it is heretofore impossible to get long irons into the make-able range most of the time, a better use of practice time is getting our wedges more consistently within 15 feet.

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Originally Posted by iacas

The "full wedge" is covered in the full swing, and putting I already split out separately.

Ok.

Originally Posted by iacas

The short game is relatively simple.

I totally disagree with this.  The tee boxes on a golf course should all be the same, level and reasonably uniform grass, and you are teeing it up the same.  Around the greens, we have hills, rough, sand, good lies, bad lies, and we frequently have to hit to elevated greens or over bunkers.

Originally Posted by iacas

65/25/10. Read my first post for more - I'm not sure you really did. Look at the # of ball breakdown too.

I don't understand why you take this tone.  I read your post, I just disagree with you, and so would Dave Pelz and a lot of other professionals too.

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A good word of advice from me teacher "If you can't scramble in the game of golf your ****ed" I think recovery is an extremely important part of the game that often gets overlooked.

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Every bad golfer I've played is horrible off the tee, and horrible with long/mid irons; some chip and putt just fine.  Every decent/good golfer I've played with has a reasonable game off the tee and with long/mid irons; some have great short games, some are mediocre.  The mediocre/poor full swing game costs them far, far more strokes than a crappy short game or just a crappy day with the short game.  Additionally, those who focus their practice on their short game don't see a corresponding improvement with the longer clubs, while the opposite holds for those who focus their practice on full swings.  I have no idea what the numerical breakdown is, or if the numbers in this thread are optimum - this is just what I've observed.

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Originally Posted by max power

Every bad golfer I've played is horrible off the tee, and horrible with long/mid irons; some chip and putt just fine.  Every decent/good golfer I've played with has a reasonable game off the tee and with long/mid irons; some have great short games, some are mediocre.  The mediocre/poor full swing game costs them far, far more strokes than a crappy short game or just a crappy day with the short game.  Additionally, those who focus their practice on their short game don't see a corresponding improvement with the longer clubs, while the opposite holds for those who focus their practice on full swings.  I have no idea what the numerical breakdown is, or if the numbers in this thread are optimum - this is just what I've observed.

I find alot of truth in what you are sayin here Max Power because I am truly seeing just how much not getting off the teebox costs because I play on a very demanding course here in Doha, Qatar and you are simply penciling in bogey or much worse when you don't get off the teebox.  In my last round I shot 91 but the teebox cost me 9 strokes where as the greens only cost me 1.  I don't struggle to hit my irons or wedges at all and if I get off the teebox the worse score I'll make is usually a bogey because my short game and putting are pretty good.  Playing on a demanding course week in and week out has really opened my eyes because even when you miss the fairway by a couple feet, the rough makes it very difficult to even advance the ball, let alone hit it  close.

I slightly disagree with your statement about short game swing not translating into longer clubs because short game shots aren't played at full speed most of the time and it is paramount that all golfers learn ball first contact and striking shots in the middle of the clubface. I feel like the slower speeds of short game shots really help with both.  If you can't hit the middle of the clubface then you will never be consistent.

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Quote:

" I read your post, I just disagree with you, and so would Dave Pelz and a lot of other professionals too."

Dave Pelz and the other professionals are wrong. They think short game is important because they hit 12-15 greens per round, and they need that short game to fight for each stroke. Golf gets really really hard when your trying to break 80. Its fighting for each stroke againts the course. So really, unless Pro's have a insane day hitting greens, they rely on making those rare putts outside 6 feet, and getting up and down for par. For us, we only hit 4-6 greens, theres 8-10 strokes right there, that also means 8-10 chances you don't duff a chip, or leave it in a bunker. If you improve your ball striking your also improving the chance you don't hit the ball into water, or OB, so your reducing your penalty strokes as well. The full swing affects more shots, and has the greatest potential. If you hit 12 greens in regulation, and you two putt each hole, your looking at 6 over par with out penalties. Pelz wants you to work on short game because thats his specialty. Others think that to because they think getting up and down is a bandaid for a bad golf swing, it can be. Utley played very good golf on the tour with a dominant short game, but he is a rare case.

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Originally Posted by ladders11

First point is that the clubs used the most are 1) putter, 2) driver,3) LW, 4) SW, and 5) PW, followed by the 3W and irons.  Good wedge players don't start leaving their wedges in the trunk because they don't need them.

I don't trust your statistics, but even if they're legit, some common sense tells us that if you miss the green because your irons stink, you're going to use a wedge every time. Want to use a wedge less? Hit the ball better from the fairway.

I also doubt that each single wedge is higher than "irons" unless you specifically mean "all irons separately" (as in 7-iron, 6-iron, etc.). You don't need to learn a different swing for the separate irons.

Originally Posted by ladders11

Second point is that what saves strokes is getting the ball close enough to make the first putt.  Basically, this means within 15 feet to have a 10% chance, or within 6 feet to have a 50% chance.  Nobody, including pros, can get the ball within this range from over 100 yards on a consistent basis.

Statistically speaking, you're wrong. What saves the most strokes is getting the ball in the fairway and then on the green. At every level of play golfers average less strokes from 50 feet away on the putting green than they do missing the green.

Originally Posted by ladders11

I would venture a guess that most people can learn not to three putt - another way of saying this would be I like my chances of getting down in two from anywhere on the green.

Exactly. But it speaks to my point about the importance of GIR, not your point.

Originally Posted by ladders11

I totally disagree with this.  The tee boxes on a golf course should all be the same, level and reasonably uniform grass, and you are teeing it up the same.  Around the greens, we have hills, rough, sand, good lies, bad lies, and we frequently have to hit to elevated greens or over bunkers.

I don't understand why you take this tone.  I read your post, I just disagree with you, and so would Dave Pelz and a lot of other professionals too.

There's no tone. I asked you to read my first post, because it didn't seem as though you had.

Dave Pelz only teaches the short game . What earthly reason would he have to cite statistics which prove the short game is second or third on the list of things that matter? Of course he's going to say that. The simple truth is that statistics show that the long game matters quite a bit.

Who cares if you get up and down every time if it's for double bogey?

I'm not saying this because I like teaching the full swing. It's complex. I'll give short game lessons all day if I could - it's easier. People can incorporate the changes more easily. The short game is a simpler motion.

Around the greens you have hills, rough, sand, good lies, bad lies, etc.? You still use the same basic motions. I could extend that to say things like this: around the course we're faced with doglegs that go different directions, good lies, bad lies, hills, rough, sand, wind from different directions, elevated or lowered greens, side slopes, different pin locations, water hazards, and the fact that we're hitting clubs that are different lengths too! Yet, like the short game, the same motion covers pretty much all of it. It's not like every full swing is made with a club the same length from a perfectly flat lie with no wind, no elevation changes, and the same distance every time.

Originally Posted by max power

Every bad golfer I've played is horrible off the tee, and horrible with long/mid irons; some chip and putt just fine.  Every decent/good golfer I've played with has a reasonable game off the tee and with long/mid irons; some have great short games, some are mediocre.  The mediocre/poor full swing game costs them far, far more strokes than a crappy short game or just a crappy day with the short game.

That's basically what the statistics will tell you, yes.

Originally Posted by saevel25

Others think that to because they think getting up and down is a bandaid for a bad golf swing, it can be. Utley played very good golf on the tour with a dominant short game, but he is a rare case.

Good point. Even then I think he won a Nationwide Tour event (one) and that was about it. Brilliant short game stuff - we teach it very similarly. His book(s) show what I mean by "simple."

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Sorry, I didn't see the URL until after I'd posted.

Originally Posted by Chief Broom

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303753904577454662959172648.html?grcc=79f195136c98488e804773e163e95cb2Z3ZhpgeZ0Z234Z200Z49Z2&mod;=WSJ_hps_sections_sports

That's one of many articles out there which show how important the full swing is.

I think a lot of people are hung up in the colloquial, almost the romantic.

They envision a world in which some mythical player misses every green, yet scrambles so well he still breaks 80.

I envision a world in which some mythical player takes three strokes on average to get near the green and then gets down in 2½ on average from there.

Which world is more realistic? Both guys hit zero greens in regulation. One guy shoots 99 and the other breaks 80.

Cuz I can tell you what the statistics will say.

Ah, good, that URL is a new one. I think originally I thought it was the older article. I see from the comments people still think this applies just to the pro game, and that's bogus. The article focuses on the pro game, but Broadie and a few others have taken these stats and done studies on average golfers as well. They continue to hold, and in most cases, have actually strengthened the case because amateurs are that much worse off the tee and with their full swings than pros.

Here's a good quote:

He is expanding this and other interesting new golf statistical research into a book for publication next year, but here's the take-away: Shots that originate more than 100 yards from the hole have twice the impact on score of shots from inside 100 yards—including putting.

Ah, here's another one:

Broadie and his students have also meticulously logged distance and location information for some 90,000 shots hit by amateurs at several New York City-area courses, leading him to conclude that the long game-short game relationship is similar for everyday players.

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Pelz has said numerous times that if an amateur could take a pros long game or a pros short game, the amateur would be better off taking the pros long game. You also have to compare the pros missed average GIR with the amateur one.  Most of the the time the pro is sitting with in 20 yards of the hole. A high handicap amateur on the other hand might be 100 yards away still because they were 3 off the tee or had to chip out from the trees.

Pelz stress the short game for amateurs because he feels (and he probably is right) that most of us can shave 5-10 strokes off the game in a short period of time while shaving 5 strokes out of the long game will take more work/time. However once you have shaved those short game strokes, improvement gets hard.

No if I was a pro, I probably would spend more time on the short game and putting than the long game. But that is because physically I don't think I could take spending 4+ hours hitting balls without breaking down.

Originally Posted by saevel25

Dave Pelz and the other professionals are wrong. They think short game is important because they hit 12-15 greens per round, and they need that short game to fight for each stroke. Golf gets really really hard when your trying to break 80. Its fighting for each stroke againts the course. So really, unless Pro's have a insane day hitting greens, they rely on making those rare putts outside 6 feet, and getting up and down for par. For us, we only hit 4-6 greens, theres 8-10 strokes right there, that also means 8-10 chances you don't duff a chip, or leave it in a bunker. If you improve your ball striking your also improving the chance you don't hit the ball into water, or OB, so your reducing your penalty strokes as well. The full swing affects more shots, and has the greatest potential. If you hit 12 greens in regulation, and you two putt each hole, your looking at 6 over par with out penalties. Pelz wants you to work on short game because thats his specialty. Others think that to because they think getting up and down is a bandaid for a bad golf swing, it can be. Utley played very good golf on the tour with a dominant short game, but he is a rare case.

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Originally Posted by Righty to Lefty

... In my last round I shot 91 but the teebox cost me 9 strokes where as the greens only cost me 1.  ...

Quote:

Originally Posted by saevel25

If you improve your ball striking your also improving the chance you don't hit the ball into water, or OB, so your reducing your penalty strokes as well. The full swing affects more shots, and has the greatest potential. If you hit 12 greens in regulation, and you two putt each hole, your looking at 6 over par with out penalties.

I hear ya ... in my last round I shot a 92 with 9 (yes, 9!!) penalty strokes.  5 of those were stroke and distance, so in effect, my long game cost me 14 strokes.  I also had 2 3-putts.  Take away those 16 strokes and I'm left with a 76.  At this point, I would be ecstatic with a 76.  I have shot scores like that in the past but they were, not coincidentally, on the type of courses where holes were bordered not by hazards, but by other holes, where I couldn't get into any trouble off the tee.

This is why Erik's original post makes so much sense to me.

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The potential for really playing better golf is in the long game. Because, if you hit a good tee shot, then you set up for the next shot, if not then you basically can add one stroke right there, maybe more if you hit a ball OB. The approach shot you still can hit a ball OB, or in the water, or hazard. So the potential for having additional strokes is still there. Your not going to loose a ball in the short game, the only case really is if you have to hit a half wedge over water, that is a very specific shot that doesn't come up often. If your able to get up and down, your saving one stroke per shot on average. If your able to put the ball in play, and put the ball on the green. Your saving much more because the potential for a ball to go into the hazard or into a position were you might have to punch out. If you couple this with course management, you can really play good golf.

I would rather see someone have a decent short game that instills confidence in there swing, rather then thinking, "I better not miss this, my short game sucks", i rather think, "Hey i can take aim at this pin, i know i'll have an easy chip if i miss the shot to that side". Thats how i view short game, rather than trying to get up and down for par every hole, that gets very taxing, and is not very reliable.

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Originally Posted by saevel25

I would rather see someone have a decent short game that instills confidence in there swing, rather then thinking, "I better not miss this, my short game sucks", i rather think, "Hey i can take aim at this pin, i know i'll have an easy chip if i miss the shot to that side". Thats how i view short game, rather than trying to get up and down for par every hole, that gets very taxing, and is not very reliable.

That's another thing, too: a guy who is reasonably in control of his long game can limit his misses somewhat, so he isn't leaving himself difficult short-game situations.

I guarantee you that I could "improve someone's short game" by putting them off the green in the best spots to miss (same distance from the hole) and I could do the opposite if I could put their ball in the worst spots, even if they're closer to the hole.

Even pros talk about this, how they "miss it in the right spots." That's a function of the full swing.

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This discussion is as timeless and just as inane as MB v.s. CB or game v.s. sport, fraught with semantics and declarations of what is right for everyone. I'll join in anyways...

FOR ME , I have noticed that once I got past a certain level where I made consistent contact and rarely skanked, my short game does not really respond that much to practice. I could devote 2 hrs of practice for 3 days straight on pitching and chipping, go out and play a round, and my short game would be pretty much the same - decent. It's not like all of a sudden I'm  knocking the flag down and leaving myself 1 ft tap-ins. Therefore I just practice short game for maintenance - just keep good tempo and basics ingrained.

Likewise, I really can't complain about my driver, thank God. The faces of drivers are so big these days I could probably hit mine blindfolded. Just find a decent swing plane and don't rush.

The area FOR ME that I know can completely go away with a startling suddeness is the mid - long irons. Also, these are the clubs that really respond IMO to practice. For these reasons, I spend most of my practice time on 7 - 3 irons, and it pays back. I love stepping up to the 11th 225 yd par 3 with my 3 iron looking forward to that lovely feeling of a good strike. OTOH, n othing drains the confidence meter more than pulling out a 5 iron knowing that your chances of quality contact are slim. I think good iron play is a glue and a tonic that either holds the rest of my game together, or destroys it.

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Yesterday's 9 hole round was a perfect example.  All three GIRs ended up as pars.  All GIR holes had good tee shots in the fairway or on the green (par 3).  The other tee shots forced me into getting the ball back in play so I could shoot for the green.

My short game is pretty good and it helps me get a lot of one putts.  My irons were also very good, but the driver continues to be the weakness.

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