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Realistic Expectations


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My expectations aren't that I'm going to hit the green from 165, or within 8' from 75. What I do hate (covered previously in my blog) is that I frequently take an awesome drive that leaves me a short shot from 70 yards and lay a piece of sod over it. It drives me absolutely INSANE. My shot zone for this should be much smaller than a 100 yard shot, but I find a way to make it huge. It's a nice easy sand wedge for me that I can hit relatively close 9 times out of 10 on the range.

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2 hours ago, iacas said:

 

shortgame_dm.jpg

 

I love this aspect of the game, the "thinking" part of the game.  I had this situation yesterday.  This hole is on a slope, everything is sloping from the back of the green towards the front, the back section of the green is flatter, the slope is greater at the middle to the front of the green.  Chipping and even putting from above the hole is difficult, it's hard to get the speed correct and most end up rolling to the front edge of the green.  I was first out in the morning, that sand trap had casual water in it and was near hard pan where there wasn't water (the crew hadn't gotten out to maintain it). The green is maybe 20 feet wide where the hole is.

I went straight at the flag with a lob wedge, hit the upper lip of the sand trap and rolled back into the casual water which was within my shot zone with a lob wedge.  It went down hill from there.  Still, I'm not sure there was any other shot to try, even considering shot zone... chip over to the fairway in front of the green?

11th.PNG

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Good post! totally agreed. For my short irons (105 to 130 yards) my scoring average it´s 3,2. An it would be better if i will aim more towards the middle of the green.

Acording to my stats the strong part of my game it´s around the green, but besides my skills it is because i stop trying to go for the miracle shot and first be sure that a bad shoot will still land on the green an then if i can get the ball close to the hole.
An example from this past weekend in a mid am, i was with my 4th shoot on the bunker in a par 5 with a downhill wet lie and a down hill shoot shortsided, everything against me. Needed up and down to save bogey but with a conventional shoot i can only leave the ball 15 feet past. The alternative risky shoot was to hit a putter out of the sand, the edge of it where flat width 30 degrees of angle.
What i did ? hit my conventional shot to 15 feet pass and leave myself a chance of saving par. Avoided the posibility of hitting the put short and don´t get out of the bunker or hit it to hard and go way past the flag where another bunker was waiting for me. Just take safe route and avoided to shoot a triple and still give me a chance of making bogey.  

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I wondered why the OP got so many reps. I should print it out and keep it in my bag.

I literally expect to hit every green with my gap wedge. Contact should be clean enough and the dispersion tight enough to land it on the green.... every single time.

What's worse is that I'm surprised (and pissed) if I duff or pull the shot and it doesn't happen. I mean, c'mon! How hard can it be to hit the green from 100 yards, right?!

Just stupid, unrealistic thinking... a perfect way to waste what should be an enjoyable experience.

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3 hours ago, JonMA1 said:

I literally expect to hit every green with my gap wedge. Contact should be clean enough and the dispersion tight enough to land it on the green.... every single time.

What's worse is that I'm surprised (and pissed) if I duff or pull the shot and it doesn't happen. I mean, c'mon! How hard can it be to hit the green from 100 yards, right?!

Just stupid, unrealistic thinking... a perfect way to waste what should be an enjoyable experience.

I don't usually duff a 110 yard shot, but even then it's still hard for me to hit a green even at that distance.

When you think about it (but don't when playing :-D), you're lobbing a ball about 30 yards up into the air then expecting it to land in an area about 30 yards around. The ball is traveling farther than 110 yards because of the arc. Plus, it's got side spin on it.

That's why the pros are so impressive. They hit this shot within 20 feet on average? Wow!

http://www.pgatour.com/stats/stat.074.html

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  • 1 month later...

Thank you for this breakdown!  Awesome post.  This was great to read, and had some surprising results.  I would have said that PGA players get up and down from 110 yards at least 40-50% of the time.  Turns out this isn't the case.  I have recently (after beating myself up emotionally for so long) reached a 5 handicap.  I am just now beginning to relax a little and realize that you can't hit the perfect shot even 70% of the time.  The short game practice area at my club has a 3 foot circle drawn around the flag on the pitching green.  I've hit 50 short pitch shots (about 40-50 yards) and only put 10 or 15 inside this circle, and thought..."I've failed.  I've got to do better than this."  I got in the mindset that the balls that were, say, a foot or two outside of that circle were just "crap shots" and I need to be more precise.  After reading this, I understand that anything inside 10 feet from that distance is good (since anything inside 20 feet from 110 would be acceptable, then inside 10 feet from 50 yards should also be acceptable).  Again, thanks for helping me adjust my frame of reference.

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  • 2 weeks later...

It s interesting say to compare my expectations when hitting a baseball vs a golf ball. I see a batter win a batting title and only hits the ball 350 times out of a thousand and when I play slow pitch my expectation is less than that, so why do I think I'm going to hit better than I can today when it comes to golf.

I wonder if one of the factors causing unrealistic golf expectations is the influence of  the playing partner-The guy I meet most rounds, He is telling me about his great golf scores, 300 yard drives , won't shut the **** up about it, and I feel I am not meeting his grandiose lie.

Maybe I should bring a bat with me on the course to deal with those guys, lol

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Great post @iacas!!!  I think we forget how hard golf really is, and then like you said, we make it harder by having unrealistic expectations about how close our shots should be to the pin.  I am one of these people that gets upset if I cannot put a 56* wedge from 110 to within 10 feet...its unrealistic expectations, and seeing this has helped me understand that.  This is exactly what I needed to see, thank you for the great write up!

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1 hour ago, Grinde6 said:

Great post @iacas!!!  I think we forget how hard golf really is, and then like you said, we make it harder by having unrealistic expectations about how close our shots should be to the pin.  I am one of these people that gets upset if I cannot put a 56* wedge from 110 to within 10 feet...its unrealistic expectations, and seeing this has helped me understand that.  This is exactly what I needed to see, thank you for the great write up!

Thinking a bit about it, even if I had a really good 56 wedge and could stick every shot from 110, the greens and the areas around the greens are so uneven I can't imagine being able to keep it within 10 feet especially if it rolls a bit.

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@jb27 Good information here. There are too many shots that our crowd consider to be bad and get mad at when we should be pumped about them

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On 2/3/2017 at 0:59 PM, No Mulligans said:

I love this aspect of the game, the "thinking" part of the game.  I had this situation yesterday.  This hole is on a slope, everything is sloping from the back of the green towards the front, the back section of the green is flatter, the slope is greater at the middle to the front of the green.  Chipping and even putting from above the hole is difficult, it's hard to get the speed correct and most end up rolling to the front edge of the green.  I was first out in the morning, that sand trap had casual water in it and was near hard pan where there wasn't water (the crew hadn't gotten out to maintain it). The green is maybe 20 feet wide where the hole is.

I went straight at the flag with a lob wedge, hit the upper lip of the sand trap and rolled back into the casual water which was within my shot zone with a lob wedge.  It went down hill from there.  Still, I'm not sure there was any other shot to try, even considering shot zone... chip over to the fairway in front of the green?

11th.PNG

This is one part of the game that i love as well...To me the play would have been playing more to the right, trying to take the bunkers out of play and aiming to the bigger part of the green.  It may not be a fun putt down the hill.  but, worst case scenario is a 3 putt bogey from there.  or if you miss the green, not in the bunker, pitch it on and 2 putt.  Your chances of a double bogey is pretty low in that scenario.  In the bunker, short sided is dead for most of us...I would take my chances on the downhill putt, or pitch from above the flag.  Eliminate the big number.  

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On 2/3/2017 at 1:18 PM, iacas said:

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.

This is something that I noticed quite a bit while watching The Amen Corner feed during the masters.   it's just sitting on 3 holes, with no bias to who is coming through or how they are playing.   PGA players are no where near as good as you "perceive" them to be when watching the broadcast feed.   

clarifying note:  This is not in any way meant to suggest that pros are not incredible golfers.   Simply to point out that the broadcast feed only shows that golfers that are playing the very best that day, and only cutting to the best of the best shots from the rest of the field.   It makes them appear to be super human, and makes you feel that your game is even further from theirs than it actually is.   

 

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6 minutes ago, lastings said:

This is something that I noticed quite a bit while watching The Amen Corner feed during the masters.   it's just sitting on 3 holes, with no bias to who is coming through or how they are playing.   PGA players are no where near as good as you "perceive" them to be when watching the broadcast feed.   

clarifying note:  This is not in any way meant to suggest that pros are not incredible golfers.   Simply to point out that the broadcast feed only shows that golfers that are playing the very best that day, and only cutting to the best of the best shots from the rest of the field.   It makes them appear to be super human, and makes you feel that your game is even further from theirs than it actually is.

That's a good point and a good way to watch "all" shots rather than just those playing well.

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28 minutes ago, lastings said:

This is something that I noticed quite a bit while watching The Amen Corner feed during the masters.   it's just sitting on 3 holes, with no bias to who is coming through or how they are playing.   PGA players are no where near as good as you "perceive" them to be when watching the broadcast feed.   

clarifying note:  This is not in any way meant to suggest that pros are not incredible golfers.   Simply to point out that the broadcast feed only shows that golfers that are playing the very best that day, and only cutting to the best of the best shots from the rest of the field.   It makes them appear to be super human, and makes you feel that your game is even further from theirs than it actually is.

I have noticed the same thing working ShotLink at The Memorial Tournament where you are at the same hole all day and see every player come through.

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29 minutes ago, lastings said:

This is something that I noticed quite a bit while watching The Amen Corner feed during the masters.   it's just sitting on 3 holes, with no bias to who is coming through or how they are playing.   PGA players are no where near as good as you "perceive" them to be when watching the broadcast feed.

I've read this from Erik and others who are familiar with pro tournaments outside of what is shown on TV. It might be easy to forget that during Tiger's last tournament he wasn't the only one who played poorly. Dustin Johnson and Ricky Fowler both missed the cut. So even the top players can have bad shots, bad rounds and bad tournaments. Maybe we tend to put that out of our minds when we see them playing well.

Still, they have one thing going for them most of us do not... the ability to make a single bad shot and still recover with par or better. 

Those of us who have trouble scoring low are the opposite. We'll string together some good shots and screw those up with one poor shot. That's why we often do so poorly on par 5's. The more opportunities we have, the more likely that a damaging shot will turn up. 

With each year that comes and goes, the more grounded I become with expectations. When I start off a round with a birdie and three pars, the possibility of a sub-par round isn't what's running through my mind. Instead, I'm thinking that these good holes will come in handy offsetting the doubles and triples that will eventually show up.

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9 hours ago, JonMA1 said:

I've read this from Erik and others who are familiar with pro tournaments outside of what is shown on TV. It might be easy to forget that during Tiger's last tournament he wasn't the only one who played poorly. Dustin Johnson and Ricky Fowler both missed the cut. So even the top players can have bad shots, bad rounds and bad tournaments. Maybe we tend to put that out of our minds when we see them playing well.

Still, they have one thing going for them most of us do not... the ability to make a single bad shot and still recover with par or better. 

Those of us who have trouble scoring low are the opposite. We'll string together some good shots and screw those up with one poor shot. That's why we often do so poorly on par 5's. The more opportunities we have, the more likely that a damaging shot will turn up. 

With each year that comes and goes, the more grounded I become with expectations. When I start off a round with a birdie and three pars, the possibility of a sub-par round isn't what's running through my mind. Instead, I'm thinking that these good holes will come in handy offsetting the doubles and triples that will eventually show up.

They also have the ability to make that single great shot that saves a hole. :-D

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