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Your Top Five Golf Myths or Misinformation


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1 hour ago, klineka said:

Regarding laying up to comfortable wedge distance, I can see both sides of this argument, the last round I had, par 5, hit 3 wood off the tee, had about 250 left to the flag. I knew I couldnt reach the green, so instead of trying to jack a 3 or 4 iron as far as I could (with higher chance for error) I hit a 8 iron 150 yds, much higher percentage shot, then that left me 100 yds out for a perfect full sand wedge, landed middle of the green and 2 putted for a par.

You think I would shoot lower scores over time if I chose 3,4,5 irons, with a much higher chance for error and a larger dispersion, not to mention leaving myself with a partial wedge shot?

 

The problem is the twitter length version, get it as close to the hole as possible, is easy to read as, hit the longest club.  Really the argument in LSW (backed by stats), is around a multi-faceted risk assessment.  Simplifying less than the twitter version, hit it as far as possible without bringing "too much" risk into play.  The long version is basically a law of total probability argument, where you assess the probability of various outcomes with each current shot choice, and weight them by the average shots to hole out given each outcome, and choose the lowest.

For example, you're sitting at 250 on a par 5.  You go through the potential outcomes of an 8i and 3i and estimate average shots to hole out from each: on target, slightly off target, chunk, blade, in jail, in hazard, open look but super penal rough, OB, whatever.  Then you think about the chances of these outcomes, and calculate the total expected score from each choice.

The point in LSW is that you can't go through a bunch of equations for every shot, but if you're accurate about your average shot dispersions across clubs, then the typical bogey or better golfer is often overestimating the increase in risk from going for the longer shot, and underestimating the decrease in expected number of shots to hole out from getting it closer.

The rule of thumb is that if there's not something in the layout that is a big risk at the longer distance but not at the short one – so in your case lateral hazard or big fairway thinning or big fairway bunker or much or penal rough or the like that starts at 75 yards out – then generally your lower expected total score is from hitting the longer club.  The strokes you lose when you do hit an errant long iron but wouldn't have hit an errant short iron are more than made up for by the strokes you gain from having an approach half as long when you don't hit an errant shot.

Of course, it's always case by case and player by player.

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These are myths that I hear a lot. Some are just eye rolling trivia but some can hurt.

1. Tour pros continuously vary their shot shape based on hole demand. Not true. They have one predominant shot shape they play almost all the time. Only when in jail or extreme condition do they actually try anything out of their comfort zone - which is smaller than most folks think.

2. Tour pros are like swing doctors. They know everything there is to know about the golf swing. Nope - they are simply phenomenal listeners and executors.

3. You must understand the swing in it's entirety to learn and become better - Yeah, good luck on that path.  

4. To have lag just hold the angle of the shaft to forearm until impact. - Lag is a result of good mechanics and club position and path. Can't force it.

5. You must have a superlight grip pressure (2-3 on a scale of 1 to 10) to hit good shots. - While white knuckling is just bad, you do need more grip pressure than you think.

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1. Ben Hogans Golf Fundamentals - (1. He was trying to fight a hook and 2. what he says he was doing doesn't always line up with what he actually did, squared back foot for instance)

2. The average golfer has a 14 handicap.  (Most golfers don't have a HI at all, the average golfer is much worse than a 14)

3. The golf ball matters to a high handicapper.

4. Putting, accelerate to impact

5.  Never up, never in.  (Obvious yes but the implication is to always error on getting it past the hole.  Not so with long lag putts.  And, don't forget about "capture speed").

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I'll pile on to just a couple:

"Topspin"  The only shot that generates topspin is a cold top, everything else generates backspin.  

"You should always work the ball from the center of the green towards the hole".  Most golfers should hit their normal shot every chance the get.  For most of us, working the ball the "other" way should be an act of desperation.

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2 hours ago, Golfingdad said:

Putt breaks are affected by nearby geographical features.  This one is perpetuated on nearly every telecast practically every week.  Putts don't break towards oceans or creeks or away from mountains or anything else in the vicinity.  They break down the hill.  They are affected by gravity and gravity alone.

I know I'm a 14+ handicap and I'm probably just looking for an excuse as to why I putt so poorly, but... I joined a club in September that has the absolute grainiest greens in the history of the game.  You can place a level on the green to find a flat putt and the grain (which grows towards the water and away from hills more often than not) will absolutely influence the putt by a ball, sometimes two or more.  

I watch it every single time I'm out on that course.  It gets me... it gets players worse than me... it gets players better than me.  It's a real thing.  

I'd say just my opinion... but, it's not an opinion.  It's a real thing.

CY

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1. The arms are just passive and "along for the ride"

2. You have to release the club and roll the hands over to hit a draw

3. The cart girl thinks you're charming and not a creeper perv nonce

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1) Drive for show, putt for dough.  I think putting is more exciting to watch. Regardless, you aren't winning any money off better players if you can't smoke it off the tee a little.

2) Swing easy for greater distance. Also drive your car slower to get some place more quickly. Slouch to look taller, etc.

3) If I could only bring my range game to the course... The problem is that we do bring our range game to the course, but it just isn't as good as we think it is. (Except me. Mine is almost there. Almost got it.)

4) Mental game holds me back. Just improve Keys 1-5, and quit whining already.  

5) Short game matters most. Complete b.s. spread, endorsed, and sold by people too lazy to practice or teach the full swing.

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I've heard I can't practice on mats, mats are no good. No, you're just not practicing and learning correctly. You can find ways to sense/see you're hitting fat, video being one of them. Or you're  just looking for an excuse to pay for extra for that grass range, but you're still practicing sub-optimally. 

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4 hours ago, nevets88 said:

I've heard I can't practice on mats, mats are no good. No, you're just not practicing and learning correctly. You can find ways to sense/see you're hitting fat, video being one of them. Or you're  just looking for an excuse to pay for extra for that grass range, but you're still practicing sub-optimally. 

Great point.  This is such BS.  I almost prefer ranges with mats because I don't have to spend a ton of my practice time cleaning my clubs.  Maybe for a total newbie it might be useful to be 100% sure whether or not you're hitting it fat, but if you spend any time at all seriously practicing and getting to know your swing and the game, it's saying something bad about you, not the mats, if you can't tell whether you hit a shot fat off a mat. 

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There are a ton of things mentioned that I could +1. But here is my list:

1. You use your putter for almost half of your shots therefore making it the most important club in your bag.

2. Since I am hitting wedge, I should be inside 5 feet every time.

3. To hit a hook I put the face towards the target and then my stance line where I want the ball to start.

4. We should always listen to touring professionals advice in the latest Golf Digest because they know the swing best.

5. Tiger and Jack were great before any technology like radar was available, so you don't need it either.

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39 minutes ago, mchepp said:

There are a ton of things mentioned that I could +1. But here is my list:

1. You use your putter for almost half of your shots therefore making it the most important club in your bag.

2. Since I am hitting wedge, I should be inside 5 feet every time.

3. To hit a hook I put the face towards the target and then my stance line where I want the ball to start.

4. We should always listen to touring professionals advice in the latest Golf Digest because they know the swing best.

5. Tiger and Jack were great before any technology like radar was available, so you don't need it either.

I could have sworn I heard this during the latest telecast, but for a fade, from Ian Baker Finch. :mad:

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On 2/26/2017 at 10:47 PM, saevel25 said:

I might have to use a couple of @iacas for this. 

  1. Putting matters most 
  2. The Quick Fix - Too many golfers believe in advocating the quick fix or try to hard to find one. 
  3. Draws produce topspin - Might as well through in an absurd one I have heard a few times. That fades produce backspin and draws product topspin. 
  4. Ball Flight Laws
  5. Mental Game will make the difference

Those are some good ones, as well a iacas' post.

"Drive for show, putt for dough!"

Not only did draws produce topspin, so did Drivers! I can't remember how many times I heard that as a young golfer, even by commentators on golf telecasts! I also played a little tennis in my day, and could hit a screamer of a topspin forehand that would "hump over" and dive into the court and not go out. Made me wonder why Driver shots didn't just dive into the ground.

The mental game can make "a" difference, but not "the" difference as long as it stops you from playing what I now call "stupid golf"! My buddy and I will go out and play courses that we played 40 years ago. We'll  get on a tee box and I'll ask him if he remembers some of the stupid golf we used to play there! You know, things like trying to cut dog legs that maybe John Daly or Bubba  could do, but we couldn't. I'm also reminded of Ben Hogan's comments after playing with Jack Nicklaus in Nicklaus' first ever round at the Masters. Hogan said, something like, "I played with a young kid today who, if he understood anything at all about the game, would have made this course look silly!"

My buddy's Son, who is now 41 (God, are we getting old!), was battling a persistent fade/slice. He thought the way to fix it was to throw the clubhead outside and try to "yank" the ball back into play. I told him that's what was causing his problem in the first place! Every so often he'd hit a dead straight pull left. He'd look at me like "what happened there?" I told him that was confirmation of what I was telling him. His path was out to in, but that time he managed to square the clubface with the path. The fact that the ball flew straight was the evidence.

And I think quick fixes can help, but it depends upon the swing of the person on the receiving end. Case in point. Some years ago I had some free time and the itch to go play, but couldn't scare up any of my buds. So, I went to a local course and got teamed up with a couple of black guys. The one guy had a beautiful swing and could hit the ball a country mile! His main problem was with his Driver which would just "bleed" right and end up in the rough. On the front 9 I noticed that he had his left thumb running down the top of the grip. We were on the 10th tee, waiting for his buddy to come out of the clubhouse, and decided to hit our drives. His drive again wound up in the right rough. He started shaking his head and told me he wished he could solve that problem. I had him tee up another ball and told him to turn his left hand just a little bit clockwise. Maybe just a quarter inch. Just enough to get his thumb a little to the right of "top dead center". He smashed it dead down the middle! He played his original drive on 10, but that was the only fairway he missed on the back 9! After the round he bought me a beer, shook my hand, gave me a big bro hug, and thanked me up and down for helping him with his game!

But what did I do? He already had a really good swing which he learned somewhere. All I did was notice something that anyone familiar with the game should be aware of! Still, it made me feel good.

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  1. It's not specifically for golf, but "You can't teach an old dog new tricks."
  2. Golf is Hard. Scoring low is hard, but playing golf is easy.
  3. Golf is dying.
  4. All I need to do is keep my head down.
  5. <Insert book/DVD, device, etc. here> is the only thing standing between you and lower scores. Just send 4 payments of $49.99, and YOU will be on your way to better golf GUARANTEED!
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Putting does matter for the better players. There are so many players who play at a high level and cannot make putts to take advantage of it.

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Most have been covered well. Here are my favorite myths things my dad (still) likes to say when we play...

  1. "You took your eye off the ball."
  2. "You lifted your head."
  3. "You have to stay down on the ball."
  4. "You just have to concentrate."
  5. "I think Faldo knows what he's talking about."
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