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Moxley

Ideal Pitching/Layup Distance

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Okay- there's seems to be a LOT of high falootin tech out there to prove that you're better off closer than further. But in the real world where most people are, and who don't really care that being 39.6 yards away is better than being 62.4 yards away, the partial wedge is among the three hardest shots to play. I've been playing for 45 years and have enough anecdotal experience to know that. When I started, I wasn't always long enough or straight enough to be on in regulation most holes. So, I learned how to play the shorter shots, sand play, etc... I grew out of that phase but retained the ability, for the most part, to make those shots when needed. 

As I said, Joe Weekender isn't concerned about that tech stuff and doesn't know "I think the pin is tucked into a corner behind a trap with a green sloping away" while on the tee. He just wants to get his ball in play and as close as possible. He's not thinking he should put it 30 yards away because "statistically" it's easier than being 90yds away. I'm not talking about the guy in a league who is playing every weekend- I'm talking about the guy who gets a call from his buddies and plays at the busiest time because that's when his schedule lets him. Maybe every week but likely every third week. Shows up, whacks 10 balls on the range to loosen up and tees off. Doesn't spend 10 minutes a night practicing his takeaway in the basement, no range sessions to "work on this or that", maybe reads an instructional magazine while in "the library" and just plays. THAT is your majority of golfers out there. And THOSE guys have the most trouble with that partial shot. 

I would say I fall into that category because of time constraints, but I've also been playing for a long time and have retained most of those early lessons. If I end up in that situation, I will call upon experience if needed. BUT- I would prefer to end up at a good yardage with a full swing.

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13 minutes ago, RayG said:

Doesn't spend 10 minutes a night practicing his takeaway in the basement, no range sessions to "work on this or that", maybe reads an instructional magazine while in "the library" and just plays. THAT is your majority of golfers out there. And THOSE guys have the most trouble with that partial shot. 

I get it.  We shouldn't give advice to the guys who wouldn't read or listen to the advice anyway.  But those same guys aren't in this forum, reading this thread.  In our little internet world here, we're talking to people who DO read advice, and many of whom actually follow it.  

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For me the normal rule of thumb is to go for it unless there is a hazard that can take such a shot out of play.  The funny thing is for me partial shots are a nightmare in judging distance.  Anyway, all I am aiming for is putting it on the green and taking two putts from there.  If that leads to a bogey at maximum I am OK.

The only time I look at hitting to specific yardage is when the long club I need to hit is misbehaving and presents too many risks.  Nowadays I rarely hit more than a 4 iron even though I have a 3 iron, a 3 wood and will be getting a 4 hybrid soon.  It is all about confidence and range time, which is sorely lacking at the moment.

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4 hours ago, RayG said:

Okay- there's seems to be a LOT of high falootin tech out there to prove that you're better off closer than further. But in the real world where most people are, and who don't really care that being 39.6 yards away is better than being 62.4 yards away, the partial wedge is among the three hardest shots to play. I've been playing for 45 years and have enough anecdotal experience to know that. When I started, I wasn't always long enough or straight enough to be on in regulation most holes. So, I learned how to play the shorter shots, sand play, etc... I grew out of that phase but retained the ability, for the most part, to make those shots when needed. 

Well, let's not let your anecdotal experience interfere with any empirical studies or anything... the latter of which also featured people who, primarily, hadn't practiced partial shots and still got those closer than full ones.

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4 hours ago, RayG said:

Okay- there's seems to be a LOT of high falootin tech out there to prove that you're better off closer than further. But in the real world where most people are, and who don't really care that being 39.6 yards away is better than being 62.4 yards away, the partial wedge is among the three hardest shots to play. I've been playing for 45 years and have enough anecdotal experience to know that. When I started, I wasn't always long enough or straight enough to be on in regulation most holes. So, I learned how to play the shorter shots, sand play, etc... I grew out of that phase but retained the ability, for the most part, to make those shots when needed. 

As I said, Joe Weekender isn't concerned about that tech stuff and doesn't know "I think the pin is tucked into a corner behind a trap with a green sloping away" while on the tee. He just wants to get his ball in play and as close as possible. He's not thinking he should put it 30 yards away because "statistically" it's easier than being 90yds away. I'm not talking about the guy in a league who is playing every weekend- I'm talking about the guy who gets a call from his buddies and plays at the busiest time because that's when his schedule lets him. Maybe every week but likely every third week. Shows up, whacks 10 balls on the range to loosen up and tees off. Doesn't spend 10 minutes a night practicing his takeaway in the basement, no range sessions to "work on this or that", maybe reads an instructional magazine while in "the library" and just plays. THAT is your majority of golfers out there. And THOSE guys have the most trouble with that partial shot. 

I would say I fall into that category because of time constraints, but I've also been playing for a long time and have retained most of those early lessons. If I end up in that situation, I will call upon experience if needed. BUT- I would prefer to end up at a good yardage with a full swing.

Ok, I know I should leave it, but do you think that 'Joe Weekender' is capable of laying up, accurately, to a full iron/wedge distance? 

I'm also curious, what are the two other hardest shots? I can think of at least twenty that are harder than a partial wedge.

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5 hours ago, RayG said:

Okay- there's seems to be a LOT of high falootin tech out there to prove that you're better off closer than further. But in the real world where most people are, and who don't really care that being 39.6 yards away is better than being 62.4 yards away, the partial wedge is among the three hardest shots to play.

@RayG, you seem to have missed the point I made in my last post: of the golfers in the chart I posted (dozens and dozens of them), virtually none had ever spent time practicing their "39.6 yard" swing. Virtually all would have told us that they were uncomfortable or weren't sure what they were doing from that distance.

And virtually all of them hit it closer to the hole, hit more greens, and shot lower scores from closer to the green, regardless of their lack of comfort and practice.

5 hours ago, RayG said:

I've been playing for 45 years and have enough anecdotal experience to know that.

Nobody's debating that people often feel uncomfortable or haven't practiced from those yardages very much.

That's not the point, nor what I (nor others who understand what's written in LSW) are saying.

5 hours ago, RayG said:

He's not thinking he should put it 30 yards away because "statistically" it's easier than being 90yds away.

The point is that sometimes they DO think "I want to lay up to a comfortable yardage" despite the fact that this is likely hurting their scoring!!!

5 hours ago, RayG said:

Shows up, whacks 10 balls on the range to loosen up and tees off.

Apologies for the bluntness here, but who gives a shit about that guy? He's not listening to anything anyone says about anything. Who cares? He's not here reading this stuff. You're not that guy. So why are we talking about him?

I'm talking about golfers. And even those who are almost the guy you're describing - the 19+ handicappers  who never practice the shorter shots and may even feel uncomfortable on them - are better off at 30 yards than 90. And if they get little more out of reading this topic or some other topic on the site, it's to their benefit.

5 hours ago, RayG said:

And THOSE guys have the most trouble with that partial shot.

Honestly, even if we're not talking about those guys, I still don't know that I agree. They are still likely going to hit the green more often and get it closer more often. Again, look at the 19+ chart above.

5 hours ago, RayG said:

I would say I fall into that category because of time constraints, but I've also been playing for a long time and have retained most of those early lessons. If I end up in that situation, I will call upon experience if needed. BUT- I would prefer to end up at a good yardage with a full swing.

Yeah, I still don't know that I buy it. It makes you the exception rather than the rule, and that's certainly possible, but… the chart I posted earlier speaks volumes. Those too were golfers who don't practice it and who don't feel "comfortable" all the time over those shorter shots.

In other words, this sums it up in a nutshell…

14 minutes ago, Shindig said:

Well, let's not let your anecdotal experience interfere with any empirical studies or anything... the latter of which also featured people who, primarily, hadn't practiced partial shots and still got those closer than full ones.

@RayG, in closing, perhaps you are the exception. Maybe with ten minutes of practice you'd realize you can hit those yardages comfortably, and you don't care enough about your scoring to want to spend those 10-15 minutes…

But I've got a LOT of evidence to support the idea that you're wrong about the average golfer, because at ALL levels, and particularly at higher handicapper levels, the trend defies what your anecdotal experience says. It says, consistently, and always, that being closer is better, even if the players feel a little uncomfortable and haven't practiced the shots.

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I'll never lay up farther away from the green if the amount of hazard relative to my target area is the same for different clubs. Never.

If a 7-iron will put me at 100 yards and I love my 100 yard shot versus a 3w will put me on or close to the green, even if I hit my 3W a lot worse than my 7i, if the hazard level is the same, I'll pull 3w. 

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5 minutes ago, jkelley9 said:

I'll never lay up farther away from the green if the amount of hazard relative to my target area is the same for different clubs. Never.

If a 7-iron will put me at 100 yards and I love my 100 yard shot versus a 3w will put me on or close to the green, even if I hit my 3W a lot worse than my 7i, if the hazard level is the same, I'll pull 3w. 

I see your point... 

I was talking to Lori Atsedes (The one who won the Big Break), I asked her and Jim (her dad) this question... And they both said exactly the same thing Erik is saying to all of us. The closer you can get the better, without penalties or lost balls, etc. Most ams would be safer aiming away from the hole, toward the center of the green even from as close as 25-30 yards... Yes, you read that correctly 25 to 30 yards from the hole. Sometimes even closer depending on the situation. 

Most ams with higher handicaps, focus too much on the flag as their target as opposed to the bigger target which is the green...

If you aim for the center of the green it's a bigger target which you are more likely to hit from shorter, but more likely to hit it in general aiming for the center of the green...

Like I said, there is no ideal lay-up distance. Just get as close as you can, with the longest club you are comfortable hitting in that situation.

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6 hours ago, RayG said:

Okay- there's seems to be a LOT of high falootin tech out there to prove that you're better off closer than further.

Ray, I meant no disrespect towards you with my post. Anyone who can play at a 13 knows a helluva lot more about this crazy game than I ever will. :beer:

My point was that if an uncoordinated, backwoods oaf like me can improve that skill, anyone can. The only reason I attached the graphic was to discourage someone from calling BS on my post (it occasionally happens when a high capper makes a claim that might be outside the norm).

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Went out and played the local par 3 with a couple of balls today, and practiced the close pitches today (the tricky ones 10-20 yds away where I'd normally worry about over/under hitting or even blading it) , throwing another ball in the interesting positions. 

I'd say that having digested the content of the thread, and having worked on those shots (making where I went wrong and why) , that I think getting closer & mastering a wider range of partial shots is the best way for me, as long as I don't risk going into sand/water. Turns out these shots are also really great fun to play too.  

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15 minutes ago, Moxley said:

Turns out these shots are also really great fun to play too.  

Glad to hear it! Wedges are the most fun part of the bag for me. Just so much you can do with them with trajectories, spin etc.

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14 hours ago, iacas said:

Few of the golfers in our study had.

FWIW.

I can believe that. And as far as b101's incredibly detailed post goes, he reminds me of me when I was in my late teens early 20's. At this point in my life I've lost a little of the fire. I still love the game, but am strictly a recreational golfer these days.

And as much as any of us love the game, we don't, and usually can't, give anywhere near the time to it that the pros do. That includes practicing partial wedge shots. I'd just as soon lay back to where I have a full wedge.

Thus Iacas' "thumbs up", "slap the forehead" emojis in response to my first reply.

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4 hours ago, Moxley said:

I'd say that having digested the content of the thread, and having worked on those shots (making where I went wrong and why) , that I think getting closer & mastering a wider range of partial shots is the best way for me, as long as I don't risk going into sand/water. Turns out these shots are also really great fun to play too.  

You know when else they're great?  Match play.  I won my club's match play two years ago and lost in the semi-finals the year before.  I frequently had situations where my opponent had a full shot into a green (our course ends with two par-5s and we have a par-5 for hole #4 also, plus we have three long par-4s) and I had a partial wedge in for the same distance.  Twice I heard an opponent in this situation comment to someone else in the foursome that he had the advantage now... only to miss the green and watch me hit it ("close," which in our flight really just means within 20' or so.  I don't remember the exact distances). 

Not only are you going to hit the green more, but if you are playing against someone, being in a situation where your stock shot is going to exceed their expectations... it's a lot of fun.

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2 minutes ago, Buckeyebowman said:

And as much as any of us love the game, we don't, and usually can't, give anywhere near the time to it that the pros do. That includes practicing partial wedge shots. I'd just as soon lay back to where I have a full wedge.

Thus Iacas' "thumbs up", "slap the forehead" emojis in response to my first reply.

You earned the :doh: emoji.

Are you reading the discussion?

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I have to say that every range session should begin with a simple pitch.   Every range session should include 50 75 100 125 150 at minimum.

imo if you are stymied by a fifty yard wedge and all you can do is swing full you are missing out on what good golfers do.

Wedges are fun.  It's way easier to get on from fifty than 125.  It's also way easier to get close from fifty.  I don't understand the guy who was trying to say partial wedges are hard shots.

Imo that would only be true for a player who can only swing full.  A nine to three is a great thing for wedges.

Imo if your stock wedge swing goes parallel you are overswinging.

Edited by Jack Watson

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12 minutes ago, Buckeyebowman said:

I can believe that. And as far as b101's incredibly detailed post goes, he reminds me of me when I was in my late teens early 20's. At this point in my life I've lost a little of the fire. I still love the game, but am strictly a recreational golfer these days.

And as much as any of us love the game, we don't, and usually can't, give anywhere near the time to it that the pros do. That includes practicing partial wedge shots. I'd just as soon lay back to where I have a full wedge.

Thus Iacas' "thumbs up", "slap the forehead" emojis in response to my first reply.

Do you mind if I ask how often you go to the range?  Next time, use five balls to figure out how far the ball goes if you swing back to A3 and forward to about an equal position with one of your wedges.  You don't have to figure out how much to manipulate it for +/- 5 yards from that.  It's an easy shot, then figure the distance with your other wedges.  Virtually no time, and you can adjust your estimate as needed.  

I find hitting half wedges easier than a full 56 or 50 degree shot.  

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Note: This thread is 849 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

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