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Realistic Expectations


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This is a great topic, and I have seen that so many times where from 100 yards or so and in, the player's(often my own) expectations don't match reality.  Making the shots, and avoiding penalties to get you into that position where you even have a chance to score from that range is so important.  Great stuff.

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As usual, any OP by Erik is very informative and instructional.

I bet many people have asked this before, but do you have the current statistics for different levels of players versus say 10 years ago to see if all the equipment changes have possibly had a positive effect on the 110 yard and in game?

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Another time this pops up: you're short-sided, have to carry a bunker from a squidgy lie, and the green runs away from you. It's going to take an incredible shot to get the ball within 10 feet, yet players will try to play the hero shot and save par… often resulting in a double or worse.

Have realistic expectations here, too. A PGA Tour pro won't get that shot up and down half the time: there's no shame in giving yourself a 20-footer for par. You'll make it 10% of the time, but you'll almost never double bogey with that play.

1 minute ago, Lihu said:

I bet many people have asked this before, but do you have the current statistics for different levels of players versus say 10 years ago to see if all the equipment changes have possibly had a positive effect on the 110 yard and in game?

I don't think equipment has changed much in ten years. Not wedges (or golf balls).

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Great stuff! How many strokes would many of us save if we just hit to the middle of the green when playing over/near trouble?Just trying to get too cute with a short chip and leaving it in the rough can easily turn a two-putt bogey (~at worst) into a two-putt double. Having realistic expectations would save me from the more-than-occasional mind cramp of trying to get it close when assuring that the next shot is a reasonable putt should be job1.

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I play with at least 3 people that have a complete unrealistic expectation from 100-150 yards. They expect inside 20 ft everytime which just isn't going to happen. Great topic.

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4 minutes ago, georgep said:

Great stuff! How many strokes would many of us save if we just hit to the middle of the green when playing over/near trouble?Just trying to get too cute with a short chip and leaving it in the rough can easily turn a two-putt bogey (~at worst) into a two-putt double.

Yep. You have a Shot Zone on short shots, too. We use this example all the time in our LSW clinics:

shortgame_dm.jpg

The "distance gradient" for the resulting putts is already drawn in (roughly, don't read too much into it), and the lightest colored egg is likely the shorter shot with less carry out to the left, not the one going right at the flag.

Just now, Jakester23 said:

I play with at least 3 people that have a complete unrealistic expectation from 100-150 yards. They expect inside 20 ft everytime which just isn't going to happen. Great topic.

Buy them a copy of LSW from your winnings! :-)

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5 minutes ago, iacas said:

Yep. You have a Shot Zone on short shots, too. We use this example all the time in our LSW clinics:

shortgame_dm.jpg

The "distance gradient" for the resulting putts is already drawn in (roughly, don't read too much into it), and the lightest colored egg is likely the shorter shot with less carry out to the left, not the one going right at the flag.

Those eggs are not equal.  I assume the one on the lower left is a club down which is a "stock" shot (i.e. a full gap wedge) where the one on the right is trying to control the distance on a PW, which causes more error on distance control.  Or am I reading more into the picture than I should?

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1 minute ago, k-troop said:

Those eggs are not equal.  I assume the one on the lower left is a club down which is a "stock" shot (i.e. a full gap wedge) where the one on the right is trying to control the distance on a PW, which causes more error on distance control.  Or am I reading more into the picture than I should?

I'm assuming the ball is in the bunker on this shot indicated by the black dot.

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1 minute ago, CarlSpackler said:

I'm assuming the ball is in the bunker on this shot indicated by the black dot.

Yes, that's what I meant to say.  :whistle:

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11 minutes ago, k-troop said:

Those eggs are not equal.  I assume the one on the lower left is a club down which is a "stock" shot (i.e. a full gap wedge) where the one on the right is trying to control the distance on a PW, which causes more error on distance control.  Or am I reading more into the picture than I should?

You're missing the fact that the ball is in the bunker.

It's the blob in the bunker, the X is the hole, and the dot is the center of the likely better shot choice's Shot Zone.

:-D

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Great topic. This is really important to remember. I find that a lot of people have ridiculous expectations on their putting. They get down on themselves for missing a 10 footer, or for 3 putting from 50 feet. Neither of those things are really all that bad.

I think that partly goes hand in hand with watching PGA Tour broadcasts. They are always focused on the players playing their best, who are routinely making 10 foot putts and hitting wedge shots to a couple of feet. You then extrapolate that out, assuming all PGA Tour players are that good, and that falls into your game. You assume to be good at golf you have to hit all wedges to 5 feet and make every putt. It can be really disheartening. In reality, if you hit all of your approach shots to 30 feet and 2 putt, you'd be a plus golfer most likely.

It doesn't help that golf analysts say any average shot on the PGA Tour is a bad shot. Guys leave themselves 30 feet for birdie, and Johnny Miller is saying how that was only okay. It's hard to not internalize that.

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1 minute ago, DeadMan said:

I think that partly goes hand in hand with watching PGA Tour broadcasts. They are always focused on the players playing their best, who are routinely making 10 foot putts and hitting wedge shots to a couple of feet.

Or they cut ahead to a guy on 17 or 18 while the leaders are on the seventh… only to show him pitching in from across the green or holing a relatively meaningless 45-footer.

You can win a lot of bets if every time they cut to a non-star 10 holes ahead you wager that they're going to hole out.

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Even knowing stats like this I still get down on myself for not hitting the green, especially on those rare shots when I put myself in the fairway off the tee :-P. I'm always happy when I hit the green, even if I'm not near the hole, but I can't seem to have that same outlook on near misses. I think par 3s are the worst, because even the shortest are typically outside of 120 yards with the longest being nearer 200 yards. Someone like me isn't really expected to hit that green in regulation, but I can't for the life of me get myself to accept that fact when I'm out there playing. When I'm not playing, I know and accept it, but once I'm on the course those unrealistic expectations creep right back in.

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Nice post.  My mental game has generally gotten way better just from general personal development applied on the golf course.  But this kind of statistical thinking has definitely helped a bit as well.  Truly being honest with yourself about the realistic probabilities is a good motivator for the always aiming for the center of the green except from quite short.  For me, that's at the pin with my 60˚, shaded towards the pin with SW and maybe GW if I'm feeling good with the short clubs, and center of the green with anything longer.  

Erik emphasized the short clubs, sensibly, because it's more common for players to have unrealistic expectations with a wedge in hand.  But I've found this kind of thinking helpful with the long clubs too.  Like on a long par 3, I'm gonna be happy with nGIR, very happy about on the green, and super pumped about within 20-30 feet of green center (where I'm aiming).  Same with the driver.  Sure, I'm not gonna be all jazzed about a big hook or ugly far push fade, but if I miss a tad and end up not honestly super far from the center of the fairway but still under a tree on a pretty tight fairway, I'm bummed not to have an open look but not feeling like I made an unexpectedly bad shot.  

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