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

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Originally Posted by iacas

No they don't. Most give a lot more full swing lessons than short game or putting lessons*. It's not even close. And watch a PGA Tour player practice. Lots of time spent on the range, considerably less elsewhere.

Those teaching professionals might SAY practicing your short game is the fastest way to shave strokes - but I agree with that. It's easy to improve quickly at the short game (and then to maintain it). You put in your 35% time there, and suddenly your full swing becomes the "glaring weakness" you talked about a few posts up.

Mostly because that's what people want, but very, very few instructors mandate that their students spend a good chunk of time on their short game. In fact we've done so with our students, have told them "let's get a short game lesson in there." I've posted several videos recently on pitching and chipping. It's a really simple part of the game. Learning it and maintaining it doesn't take much time.


Learning and maintaining the mechanics may not take much time but learning and maintaining the touch does.  Also, you are right that most pros dont give teaching lessons but if you go to them and say that you want to get better 99% of the time they will say, "work on your putting and short game".  Long drives and GIRs dont mean a thing if you 3-putt.

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No offense Gaijin, but at this point you're just being difficult, and it almost seems like you have some emotional attachment to defending your point of view. Erik has repeatedly used hard data and real numbers to prove his point pretty convincingly. Just because "most pros" do or say some something that doesn't make it right or good.  Plus, Erik has already addressed this point multiple times as well: working on the short game is a great way to shave lots of strokes for beginners and high teen handicappers (and +). The term GLARING WEAKNESS comes to mind, you may have read that phrase once or twice in this thread. Once you get down to 13,14,15, the full swing becomes much more important to your improvement.  I've been through this myself....

"Long drives and GIRs dont mean a thing if you 3-putt."

This shouldn't need to be repeated but the whole point is that if you can consistently put yourself in better position, you actually will 3-putt less. How often does even the worst hacker 3-putt from 25 feet when they're below the hole?? Most 3 putts come from being way too far away from the cup to begin with or being on the wrong tier/section of the green.

You didn't really respond to the point about a great short game player/putter vs a great driver/iron/GIR player who is mediocre at the short game. If your house is on the line where are you putting your money?

It's not really that complicated.

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Originally Posted by Taylor Johnson

You didn't really respond to the point about a great short game player/putter vs a great driver/iron/GIR player who is mediocre at the short game. If your house is on the line where are you putting your money?

2011 PGA leader in Greens in Regulation:  Boo Weekly - $361,000 in total earnings.

2011 PGA leader in Strokes Gained Putting: Luke Donald - $6.6 million in total earnings.

I think I'll put my money on Luke.

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Originally Posted by Taylor Johnson

You didn't really respond to the point about a great short game player/putter vs a great driver/iron/GIR player who is mediocre at the short game. If your house is on the line where are you putting your money?

Exactly. There's a reason the governing bodies of golf call the short game statistic "scrambling." You can't make a lot of birdies when you miss a green.

The pros who get interviewed on TV are almost always the ones who are doing really, really well on tour. They're generally hitting the ball great, so what separates them on Sunday is often getting up and down on the few greens they do miss, or making an extra birdie putt or two. And I'm not sure what golf shows you are watching Gaijin, but no, tour pros aren't "99% of the time telling people to practice their short game." Where'd you come up with that stat? Sure, they tell people to practice it a lot, but they tell people to hit the ball better a lot too. And they're certainly not dumb enough to tell an athletic 40 year old amateur at the pro-am -- who is getting up and down like a madman all day but only carrying his driver about 220 yards -- to keep practicing his short game.

Now, amongst the tour pros -- in terms of actually playing the game -- you certainly have exceptions to the rule like Boo Weekley, who led the tour in GIR% last year but lost his tour card because he was also ranked dead last in putting. In his case, yea, get your ass to the putting green, Boo. But amateurs are hardly the ball strikers Boo is. 9 handicaps are missing 10 or 11 greens (or more) in regulation on courses that are shorter than 6500 yards. That's absolutely pathetic if you think about it. With the short game on the other hand, you often see a lot of amateurs being good at getting up down or at least making no worse than bogey. They're good at it because, one, they're always missing greens and thus get to hit these shots a lot. But also, two, because it's really not that complicated to learn how to hit simple pitches and chips. I'm not sure who you are typically playing golf with, but the guys who are really good at golf are constantly hitting greens and giving themselves chances at birdie.

Ultimately, practicing the long game takes more work, more homework, and more discipline for the average amateur to improve at. And for the average amateur, golf is just for fun -- a hobby -- not something he or she necessarily wants to grind at. It's so much easier learning how to get up and down or lag a putt. And you're still improving practicing short game and putting so why not just latch myself onto that? It makes sense why the long game is often neglected by veteran amateurs. It's just too much of a hassle learning how to hit the ball better. Plus, it's so much easier on the joints just sticking to the short game practice area. But like Erik said, he only hits a ball once every 2-3 minutes. He knows what he's working on. Pretty much every amateur has no clue what to fill those 2-3 minute gaps between shots with, so they just beat balls. It's fruitless, you get worse, you tweak a muscle, etc. I get it. The short game is easier to deal with.

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Originally Posted by Taylor Johnson

No offense Gaijin, but at this point you're just being difficult, and it almost seems like you have some emotional attachment to defending your point of view. Erik has repeatedly used hard data and real numbers to prove his point pretty convincingly. Just because "most pros" do or say some something that doesn't make it right or good.  Plus, Erik has already addressed this point multiple times as well: working on the short game is a great way to shave lots of strokes for beginners and high teen handicappers (and +). The term GLARING WEAKNESS comes to mind, you may have read that phrase once or twice in this thread. Once you get down to 13,14,15, the full swing becomes much more important to your improvement.  I've been through this myself....

"Long drives and GIRs dont mean a thing if you 3-putt."

This shouldn't need to be repeated but the whole point is that if you can consistently put yourself in better position, you actually will 3-putt less. How often does even the worst hacker 3-putt from 25 feet when they're below the hole?? Most 3 putts come from being way too far away from the cup to begin with or being on the wrong tier/section of the green.

You didn't really respond to the point about a great short game player/putter vs a great driver/iron/GIR player who is mediocre at the short game. If your house is on the line where are you putting your money?

It's not really that complicated.

I would add too that if you three-putt that regularly, that's a glaring weakness in your game. The very first post, in fact the BOLD part of the first post says this (red added):

Unless you have a glaring weakness or a facet of your game which far outshines the others , you should spend 65% of your time practicing the full swing, 25% of your time practicing the short game, and 10% of your time practicing putting.

Originally Posted by Harmonious

I think I'll put my money on Luke.

Boo is an absolutely atrocious putter. His "glaring weakness" is putting.

The top ten in GIR this year average higher than the top ten in strokes gained putting (and that's with Boo thrown in there - seriously, the guy needs to learn to putt - it's no wonder he won at Hilton Head - removing him and the "GIR Guys" move up ten spots).

Luke does everything reasonably well and putts great. You could easily say you'd rather be Bubba Watson, too. He leads in 2012 in GIR and when his putter goes from being pretty lousy to just average, he wins a major - something good ol' Luke still hasn't managed to do.

The stats and figures are out there. On the PGA Tour, the winners gain more strokes with their long game. Putting is second, but again, putting is relatively easy to train and ingrain .

Originally Posted by JetFan1983

Ultimately, practicing the long game takes more work, more homework, and more discipline for the average amateur to improve at. And for the average amateur, golf is just for fun -- a hobby -- not something he or she necessarily wants to grind at. It's so much easier learning how to get up and down or lag a putt. And you're still improving practicing short game and putting so why not just latch myself onto that? It makes sense why the long game is often neglected by veteran amateurs. It's just too much of a hassle learning how to hit the ball better. Plus, it's so much easier on the joints just sticking to the short game practice area. But like Erik said, he only hits a ball once every 2-3 minutes. He knows what he's working on. Pretty much every amateur has no clue what to fill those 2-3 minute gaps between shots with, so they just beat balls. It's fruitless, you get worse, you tweak a muscle, etc. I get it. The short game is easier to deal with.

I agree, JF.

In the end, Gaijin, take my advice or don't take my advice. I don't care. I've put thought into it, backed it with facts, and you're coming back with marketing balogna and made-up statistics like your 99% thing (seems like a pattern), while forgetting that in the very first post I included the "glaring weakness" part.

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Originally Posted by iacas

The stats and figures are out there. On the PGA Tour, the winners gain more strokes with their long game. Putting is second, but again, putting is relatively easy to train and ingrain.

Because I always bought into the "drive for show, putt for dough" mantra, I checked the stats for 2011.  Turns out that mantra is right (sort of), at least for 2011. Someone else can do more thorough research for other years, but it shows that low scoring is most closely related to scrambling than either GIRs or putts gained. There are only two exceptions (Simpson, Toms) where their GIR rank is lower than either their Putts Gained or Scrambling Rank.

Name Stroke Avg. Rank GIR Rank Putts Gained Rank Scrambling Rank
Simpson 1 8 57 16
Donald 2 41 1 8
Stricker 3 78 2 2
Toms 4 6 18 25
Watney 5 54 12 12
Kucher 6 50 26 13
Howell 7 19 30 5
Day 8 110 7 3
Snedeker 9 113 10 22
Mahan 10 22 13 92

Looks like you can make big bucks either way, but at the upper echelon of golfdom, scoring and short game/putting are most closely related.  Which is what Gaijin was saying about the difference between GOOD and GREAT.

For us mere mortals, I think there is a sliding scale.  As you progress in the game and your ball striking improves, the emphasis should shift from "long game" to "short game". Neither should be neglected, of course.

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Originally Posted by Harmonious

Because I always bought into the "drive for show, putt for dough" mantra, I checked the stats for 2011.  Turns out that mantra is right (sort of), at least for 2011. Someone else can do more thorough research for other years, but it shows that low scoring is most closely related to scrambling than either GIRs or putts gained. There are only two exceptions (Simpson, Toms) where their GIR rank is lower than either their Putts Gained or Scrambling Rank.

Thing is, other people have done the research, and the long game is proving to be more important. The same guy that came up with "putts gained" (and some other guys doing similar research) shows that long game does more for a guy's scoring than strokes gained putting.

But here's what you're not hearing (though I've said it a few times now): so what? The fact remains that practicing your short game and putting is easy to ingrain and maintain so you don't need to spend much time on it. I'm not talking about the relative importance of different sections of the game - I'm talking about how easy or hard it is to become proficient or improve at those sections.

A reasonably solid putter does not suddenly turn into a guy who takes 38 putts a round, especially if he devotes a little time to his putting. Putting and the short game are easier skills to ingrain and maintain . I'll keep typing it if you'd like, but it's getting tiresome.

Originally Posted by Harmonious

Looks like you can make big bucks either way, but at the upper echelon of golfdom, scoring and short game/putting are most closely related.  Which is what Gaijin was saying about the difference between GOOD and GREAT.

Better statisticians than you have looked at the numbers and disagree, and I'm sure another armchair statistics guy could cook up stats in a way that show this goes the other way, too. Heck, Dave Koster came up with the 40/30/20/10 rule and I've applied it over time and it still works. The 40% is GIR, the 30% is putting. Why does Boo suck? Because he's SO BAD AT PUTTING it's not even funny. That orangutan that beat him up as a younger guy? He should get him to putt for him and he might keep his PGA Tour card. :P

But if you want to talk statistics (which again is not the topic), then fine - you exposed a flaw in that line of thinking by using simple rankings. Rankings don't account for HOW BAD or HOW GOOD someone is. Suppose everyone was a great driver of the golf ball and great with their irons. Suppose they're separated by a teeny tiny little margin until they get near the greens. Obviously in such a scenario, their short game and putting would - in this example - weigh heavily.

And that's almost what we see: the median GIR (95th anyway, rankings go to 193 currently) on the PGA Tour is Ken Duke at 64.32%. The guy ranked 10th is 68.56% and the guy ranked 180th is 58.89%.

So between the BEST and the WORST (well, nine spots away) is a difference of less than 10%, which is less than two greens in regulation per round. So on the PGA Tour a LOT of importance is placed on the short game, because they're all pretty damn good at getting on the green in regulation .

But back to the original topic, which is NOT about the relative importance, but rather, about how much practice is required to ingrain, maintain, or improve: so what? It still doesn't make the case for practicing your short game a lot because it's relatively easy to ingrain and maintain (or improve) .

Originally Posted by Harmonious

For us mere mortals, I think there is a sliding scale.  As you progress in the game and your ball striking improves, the emphasis should shift from "long game" to "short game". Neither should be neglected, of course.

The stats simply don't bear that out, and again, you're posts would indicate that you believe the short game is just as difficult as the long game.

Let me ask you this: if you take six months off from the game, what's tougher to get back? Your ball striking or your putting? If you took six months off and didn't touch a club, do you think that you could two-putt 95% of the time from 30 feet right away or hit an average green 60% of the time from 175?

I don't know about you, but I'm taking the guy with the putter in his hands. He's going to be closer to the 95% than you will be to the 60%.

I played with a lefty the other day and since I was just goofing around (business golf), when we'd get to the greens I'd putt and chip using his clubs on the back nine. I got up and down on two of the four holes I chipped/pitched on and I never three-putted. I left myself tap-ins (lining up from the other side cost me - I was never sure I was aimed exactly where I wanted to be).

Putting and the short game are easy to ingrain and maintain (or improve) . So when you're practicing, I said above and I'll say again for the twentieth time, I'm not telling anyone to ignore their short game or putting. I am saying that devoting more than about 35% of your time to it is pointless (unless it's a glaring weakness). You're never going to turn into the guy that can make 75% of his twenty-footers. It's simply not going to happen. There's a both a ceiling on how good you can get with the short game/putting but there's also a floor that's pretty damn easy to stay above, too.

The bottom can fall out of your ball striking but unless you get the yips with the short game you can always count on it to be there for you at a pretty decent level.

Driving and the full swing are like a sports car: they need oil changes, they need gas, they need to be tuned, washed, waxed, whatever. The short game is like your bicycle: far less maintenance required and though you might not immediately be able to ride long distances hands-free to show off, you're not going to start falling over or having the pedals fail to go around all of a sudden, either.


tl;dr: This is not a discussion about the relative importance of different areas of the game, it's a discussion about how much one has to practice the different areas of the game to maintain or improve their proficiency in that section. With the full swing you have to spend more time because the motion is more complex and it's tougher to either maintain or improve than the short game or putting.

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The problem is that we are looking at pro stats, which means that worst person in GIR is hitting 9-10 greens a round, and the best is hitting 12-13

So your looking at a difference of only 3-4 greens per round. That is not that huge of a number. So of course pro's will focus on other areas of there game like, Putting and Chipping. But when your talking to an Amateur who hits anywere from Zero to 8 greens per round, there is alot of ground to make up, especially if they can get near pro level at 10-12 greens average.

Think about that, gaining 6 GIR in reg. Amateurs can double the strokes gained than a pro. Its because Pro's are so close together. Especially if you look at scoring average,

Best: 69.66

Worst: 73.51

4 Strokes right there.. Thats it, 4 strokes between the best and worst on average. But look at Amateurs, the range is crazy, what scratch to 120+

So we spout pro stats, when strokes gained shows that they make more strokes by hitting greens, that would be even more for Amateurs. Because we going to suffer more from missing a green. If we had a pro's short game and pro's putting, then the strokes gained would be closer.

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i thought i'd chime in.. i've been following this thread for a while now.   i adopted this strategy because i noticed i was missing a lot of GIRs, and i wanted that stat to improve.  as such, i started spending more and more time on the range (4 days a week) and limited my short game (1 day a week).  putting - i'd generally putt about 10-20min after each range session.

anyway, what did i notice?  my scores dropping, that's what!   i finally broke 80 for the first time last week, and have been close to several times.  and i give credit to my ball striking more than anything.   my short game did improve with the 1 day a week i was giving to it, and that has helped me save a few pars, but mostly it keeps me from getting above a bogey.   i used to have 2-3 double bogey holes each round, and the last few i've had none.  i also noticed that if i hit a GIR, i was almost guaranteed a par (yes, i've had a couple 3 putts.. damn!).   furthermore, i feel to break 80, you gotta get in at LEAST 1 birdie in a round.  the day i broke 80, i had 3 (a record for me).    its a lot easier to get bridies if you're on the green in reg, than chipping it in from off it.

i'm not sure where i heard it, or how accurate this stat is, but as i understand it, good players generally get up and down 64% of the time.  sooo.... if i spend so much time on my short game, only to still lose par nearly 40% of the time, i'm not sure i'm saving that many strokes.  but if i know i'm getting at least a par 95% of the time if i hit the green in reg, then i'm definitely saving strokes vs. trying for that up and down.

i may have rambled a bit here, but i just want to say i'm a BIG believer in the 65/25/10 methodology.    its definitely working for me, and i feel that to reach my goal this year of a solid single digit handicap (<8), the majority of my time will be spent on the range.

iacas, i give you the credit.

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Fairways hit is my single biggest weakness, so I work on this the most.  My putts per 18 is below 32.  I  get a lot of one putts with my short game, so I spend less time on it than I did before.

Ironically, I played 9 last Sunday with my wife and friends and hit 7 of 9 greens and 6 of 7 fairways and had 18 putts!  My two green missed were just off the green.  No one putts!  But I was also further away on most first putts.

Work on your weaknesses.

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Since 50% of all golf scoring is on the green, it seems that you should allow for 50% of your time to putting.  Then spend the next block of time, say 30% to chipping and shots from 100 yards in.  The remaining time should be split between iron play and the driver.  The putting and chipping require a sense of touch, and that requires much more practice than full shots, which do not require a sense of touch.

Scoring is all about the short game.  You drive for show, and putt for dough!  A full swing should be the easiest thing to master, and should not take a long time to keep sharp.  Chipping and putting will kill your score faster than an occasional errant drive or dumped iron shot.  No one mentioned course management, making a wise club selection, or trying to maintain your energy and concentration levels for the entire 18 holes.

You should devote some time to learning how to play smart around the course.  Learn when to layup and not to go for it.  Learn if you are better off with rolling the ball on the ground, versus flying it to the objective.  Learn when not to use a driver.  Place your concentration on the first three and last three holes.  This is where you lose the most strokes during a round.  At the end of the day, golf is a thinking mans game, not an athletic event.  You can learn to score with a crappy swing, good course management, and a good putting stroke.

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Originally Posted by OCEANDJJACK

Since 50% of all golf scoring is on the green, it seems that you should allow for 50% of your time to putting.  Then spend the next block of time, say 30% to chipping and shots from 100 yards in.  The remaining time should be split between iron play and the driver.  The putting and chipping require a sense of touch, and that requires much more practice than full shots, which do not require a sense of touch.

Again, do you spend 25% of your time practicing tap ins?

There may be interesting counter arguments to this approach.  This isn't one of them.  And it ignores the fact that its been discussed at length already.

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The further you move away from the hole, the less important the task is at hand.  If you are a great putter, this forgives many faults in other areas of your game.  Putting is foremost the most important, followed by chipping, followed by iron shots, and lastly the driver.  Learning how to play from the hole outwards is the best way to practice in my opinion.  This I submit as a general overview of how to approach your practice time.

If you have a defined weakness, such as approach shots from 150 yards to the green, then by all means do what it takes to fix this.  I find that approach shots can save you strokes if you can get the ball close enough to let you one putt.  This is an important part of scoring, especially on par fives.

Practicing out of sand traps is another area where lots of stokes can be saved.  Sand play is easy when you know how.  Take the time to get this one right, otherwise you will cost yourself lots of stokes.  My point is to practice specific types of shots, like sand saves.

Each person has different set of issues and, should spend more time in the areas which will have him/her the most strokes.  If you can't get off the tee, then use a 3 wood or mid iron when playing. When practicing, spend more time with the driver.

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The mantra is wrong.  Read http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303753904577454662959172648.html for the gory details. The flaw in your evaluation is that GIR is not a good measure of how good a pros long game is.  It is good for amateurs but for pros it means very little. The pros are all bunched together closely and it does tell you how bad the misses are. I have said this before but scramblings correlation with scores is good because it requires you to do a lot of things right. You need to have a decent tee shot (try saving par with an OOB shot), you need a decent approach shot(again try saving par if your 70 yards from the hole), a good pitch, and a putt. A GIR just requires a good drive and approach shot which leaves those putts unmeasured.

And not to you but you can never save a lot of shots by having a good sand game.  How often is the average pro (or am) in a bunker? 4 times a round would be a huge number. Unless you are leaving the ball in the bunker (or chipping over the green) you are most likely look at 1 to 2 shots a round. For a pro that is important. For anyone else not so much.

Originally Posted by Harmonious

Because I always bought into the "drive for show, putt for dough" mantra, I checked the stats for 2011.  Turns out that mantra is right (sort of), at least for 2011. Someone else can do more thorough research for other years, but it shows that low scoring is most closely related to scrambling than either GIRs or putts gained. There are only two exceptions (Simpson, Toms) where their GIR rank is lower than either their Putts Gained or Scrambling Rank.

Name

Stroke Avg. Rank

GIR Rank

Putts Gained Rank

Scrambling Rank

Simpson

1

8

57

16

Donald

2

41

1

8

Stricker

3

78

2

2

Toms

4

6

18

25

Watney

5

54

12

12

Kucher

6

50

26

13

Howell

7

19

30

5

Day

8

110

7

3

Snedeker

9

113

10

22

Mahan

10

22

13

92

Looks like you can make big bucks either way, but at the upper echelon of golfdom, scoring and short game/putting are most closely related.  Which is what Gaijin was saying about the difference between GOOD and GREAT.

For us mere mortals, I think there is a sliding scale.  As you progress in the game and your ball striking improves, the emphasis should shift from "long game" to "short game". Neither should be neglected, of course.

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Originally Posted by x129

And not to you but you can never save a lot of shots by having a good sand game.  How often is the average pro (or am) in a bunker? 4 times a round would be a huge number.

Seriously.  I just started keeping stats on golfshot 9 rounds ago, and in those 9 rounds I've hit into 12 bunkers total.  And not because I am good ... I hit only 1/3 of the greens over that stretch.  I don't practice bunker play right now, and even so I saved 3 of those 12 pars.  I could spend hours and hours practicing bunker play, and at best, it's going to save me a shot per round.  Not to mention, the time it's going to take away from my full swing practice so I am probably going to start hitting into more bunkers, but thats OK apparently, because I'll be realllllllllllly good at getting out of them.

Also, I almost never practice putting (a few minutes a day on the carpet here in the office) and I average 1.8 putts per round.

It's, far and away, those first couple shots on every hole where I lose my strokes.  (I don't remember the last time missing a tap in putt cost me 2 - or more - strokes.)

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Originally Posted by OCEANDJJACK

The further you move away from the hole, the less important the task is at hand.  If you are a great putter, this forgives many faults in other areas of your game.  Putting is foremost the most important, followed by chipping, followed by iron shots, and lastly the driver.

Its almost like you didn't read any of the thread at all. I find it so bizarre how people hold on to and defend old beliefs just because they got the concept from someone who they respect or who is a good player. I feel like the first 100 or so posts here disprove everything you said rather forcefully and the link x129 posted pretty much ends the conversation.

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The full swing is easy.  It is the teaching methods that are difficult to employ.  If you stop using the current full swing models being marketed, you will perhaps open your eyes and look elsewhere for alternative swing models.  Even the pros get confused by their own theories.  It seems that every generation comes up with something different.  During Hogan's time, his swing was very flat by today's standards.  Nicklaus swing was much more upright.  Do you remember the reverse "C"  finish of Johnny Miller?  You don't see that anymore.  Do you remember Payne Stewart?  His swing was very classical, not unlike the swing of Sam Snead.

My point is, there is more than one way to teach or learn the full swing. Trying to copy by diagram, how the pros do it, will not help you.  Once you learn an easier approach, you will definitely spend tons less time on your full swing.  It is the easiest part of the game.  Chipping and putting separate the winners from the losers.  All the rest is the easy stuff.  Driving is not that difficult if you don't try to hit the ball 380 yards every time.  I use the same exact swing for my short irons, long irons, fairway woods, and driver.  If you use a method that makes you hit down for the irons, sweep for the diver, and have different ball positions for each and every iron, then you will be more inconsistent, in my opinion.  This is just making the game more difficult than it has to be, in my opinion.

Using the legs very actively in the golf swing is a relatively new idea.  During the playing days of Lord Byron Nelson, no one then considered using the legs for more power.  Then there came the big muscle swing craze. How about firing the right side?  Jimmy Ballard's brainchild.  My point is that ideas come and go.  Some are better than others.  Some are much easier to employ than others.  Did you ever read the Square to Square Method golf book?  That was the book my father used to learn how to play.  He hit his drives further, and straighter than any of his non-professional buddies.  There is much to explore in the golfing literature.  Open your mind, do your research, not just the current thinking.

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Originally Posted by OCEANDJJACK

The full swing is easy...

I don't disagree with your basic premise.  But I get the impression that you might not be playing necessarily the same game a lot of these other guys are playing.  There is a lot to be said against the current rage of the "bomb and gouge" style of play.  You mentioned earlier playing the ball along the ground versus flying it to the hole, and I've played with a lot of older players who routinely will use their putter from 50 yards off the green.  That's a style we aren't used to seeing here in the states but it is a style that can be used to great effect.  So too can players become obsessed with the power game, and quite frankly I have to say that it isn't always the most effective way to shoot lower scores especially if the player isn't capable of being consistent when they try to apply that power.

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