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Stubbornness on Short Game vs Long Game

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1 hour ago, Patch said:

I agree that for most golfers the the tee shot is more important. But, here's the deal. For myself, and others like me, my long game is no longer that long, which means, I need to save shots with my more important short game. This,  while playing from the middle tees.

No… that's still wrong.

The "long game" is not about hitting the ball "long." It's about the full swing - your tee shots and approach shots.

The scores you shoot are still largely dependent on how well your full swing works on any given day.

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7 hours ago, MrDC said:

I have no idea why anyone would want to point to any aspect of the game as the most important, it's all important, work on everything, golf is a perishable skill.

 

I agree with you because every part of my game is weak - including the full swing. I hit a higher percentage of GIR than most at my HC, but my inability to keep my driver and woods in play is hurting me more than my putting (which is also awful, by the way).

But I have an idea of why @iacas and others are so emphatic about this - and they can correct me if I'm wrong. It's to dispel the very common myth that the short game is most important.

Perhaps they've seen too many students neglecting the part of the game that is the hardest to learn and which accounts for the most strokes lost or gained (statistically) simply because they've been led to believe it's less important.

 

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A bad day putting is what...three or four strokes?  A bad day off the tee is hell.

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15 minutes ago, Piz said:

A bad day putting is what...three or four strokes?  A bad day off the tee is hell.

Depends on what you define as bad putting. Missing a lot of 30-40 FT putts, maybe not so much. Missing 4 out of 5 inside 5 FT, probably ;) 

 

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5 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

Depends on what you define as bad putting. Missing a lot of 30-40 FT putts, maybe not so much. Missing 4 out of 5 inside 5 FT, probably ;) 

 

A greed.  I just don't recall having to play many "repair" shots with a putter.  Not that it has never happened.

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30 minutes ago, JonMA1 said:

But I have an idea of why @iacas and others are so emphatic about this - and they can correct me if I'm wrong. It's to dispel the very common myth that the short game is most important.

Yup.  If you dig up some REALLY old threads (I'm not actually suggesting this), you can find me arguing with them when I was a 22 handicap or so (2009, 2010 or so) and insisted that if I just had a good short game facility to go to and spent more time on the putting green, I'd be down to the single digits pronto.  And then I stagnated around 19, other than a very brief dip when I had a few good rounds in short succession.  Didn't get under 19 and stay down until I focused on full swing stuff (first "My swing" focused then evolvr)

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On ‎8‎/‎5‎/‎2017 at 7:18 PM, saevel25 said:

I have no clue if that originated with Pelz. 

A lot of people like to refuse to accept they are wrong. How many people hold on to old beliefs just because its what they have always thought they knew was right. I put it down as just being human ;) 

Uhhh,,,,The earth IS flat you know.

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On 8/5/2017 at 6:50 PM, golfdu said:

I don't understand why so many players and coaches still think the short game (shots from inside 100 yards) is more important than the long game... Is it because of Dave Pelz and his research in the 90's?

To start with your opening remark:

I have been following this argument since LSW came out. In 2011 I wrote a Trap Five column on Golf Secrets for Beginners. I said that getting the short game under control was the #1 thing, while getting tee shots into the fairway was the #1.2 thing - ahead of whatever was in second place. In my defense, this judgment preceded LSW by three years.

Since then, from experience, I would say that a struggling short game and three putts keeps you from playing decently. As LSW noted in Chap. 13, p. 93:

Quote

...In fact, while 65/20/15 is a great ratio for improving your skills at a consistent rate, we would tend to agree with the age-old wisdom that the fastest way to shoot lower scores is to improve your short game

My new driver has been the biggest enhancer of my game. And, the three recent rounds when I broke 90 were on days when I hit several GIR or nGIR approach shots. Still, twice a round I will  put a decent drive into the fairway, and end up with double bogie because I botched the approach shot.

Need to go out for five-hole practice sessions and focus on hitting approaches into the greens from the point of good drives, and not-so-good drives.

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Working with statistics (in a completely different field) day in, day out, I know all too well how they can be misleading and terribly misunderstood by a great many people, statisticians included. 

I recently heard a Youtube instructor say that they should consider spending the sort of money they spend on a driver on a putter, because they play many more shots with their putter. Indeed, but as others have pointed out , the penalty for a bad putt isn't going to involve an actual penalty. 

That said, knowing something makes a big difference isn't the whole story. As the quote from LSW acknowledges, short game practice is the fastest way to decrease scores, seemingly in spite of the finding that it has a lower overall impact, because practice can yield quick improvement.

We don't yet have the stats on return per hour spent practicing various skills, nor data around where the diminishing returns in each category are. And then what about seniors/women, high handicappers (who make up most golfers) and aspiring pros? 

Nobody can claim they have the definitive answer to this, there is still much to understand.

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3 hours ago, Moxley said:

That said, knowing something makes a big difference isn't the whole story. As the quote from LSW acknowledges, short game practice is the fastest way to decrease scores, seemingly in spite of the finding that it has a lower overall impact, because practice can yield quick improvement.

All we said, really, is that if you have one week and need to shave 1-2 strokes… look to the short game. Easier to find them there. But you're gonna struggle to find more than 1-2 there, too.

 

3 hours ago, Moxley said:

We don't yet have the stats on return per hour spent practicing various skills, nor data around where the diminishing returns in each category are. And then what about seniors/women, high handicappers (who make up most golfers) and aspiring pros?

Aspiring pros? They fit the same ratios. The ratios are pretty consistent across handicap ranges.

Diminishing returns? They're pretty similar to the same returns on how hard it is to improve. Much harder to go from a 6 to 3 than a 16 to 13.

Nobody has truly quantified it, and even then everyone is a little unique, but we still understand it pretty well.

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On 8/7/2017 at 4:20 PM, Missouri Swede said:

Yeah, but I think they mean it in a derogatory fashion. 

Uhhh, maybe not! "Bomb and gouge" was Tiger's mindset when he came out of college onto the pro tour! I watched an interview with him and Butch Harmon where he referred to his college swing as the "Ole' " swing! Just bomb the crap out of it, and find a way to get it on the green. He quickly figured out that that didn't work on pro tour courses! Especially major courses!

On 8/7/2017 at 5:48 PM, iacas said:

No… that's still wrong.

The "long game" is not about hitting the ball "long." It's about the full swing - your tee shots and approach shots.

The scores you shoot are still largely dependent on how well your full swing works on any given day.

True! Also it's about finding the proper set of tees for you to play. My buddy and I have grudgingly begun accepting this reality. We'll both be 65 very soon. And we're actually pretty decent golfers, we just don't hit it anywhere near as far as we used to! If we play a course 6,500 yards or more, we'll be slugging our brains out all day!

6,200 to 6,300 yards is more our speed now. Move up a set of tees and see what happens. It can make golf a whole lot of fun again!

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I think there is "conventional wisdom" in every aspect of life which is often proved wrong but continues to be perpetuated.  That's what Freakenomics is about and also the book "The Signal and the Noise".  It takes a long time for conventional wisdom to change so just be satisfied you're an early adopter.  I remember a line from somewhere... If the legend is better than the truth... print the legend. 

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8 hours ago, Buckeyebowman said:

Uhhh, maybe not! "Bomb and gouge" was Tiger's mindset when he came out of college onto the pro tour! I watched an interview with him and Butch Harmon where he referred to his college swing as the "Ole' " swing! Just bomb the crap out of it, and find a way to get it on the green. He quickly figured out that that didn't work on pro tour courses! Especially major courses!

Huh?

He won like his third Tour event, and his first major as a pro.

Still, "long game" is not about distance. We all know that's an advantage.

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In addition to what others have said, there's something in sports coverage where people like to credit the non-obvious factors that don't appear to be related to natural talent.  People who can smash drives and stick long approaches seems like natural talent.  Grinding around the green is "grit" and "tenacity".  Think about the words used to describe Z Johnson vs. D Johnson.  "Gritty, bulldog mentality" vs. "so talented, physical gifts".  People tend to praise the former more than the latter for whatever reason.  

Usually in sports a team / player wins because they're just better.  More talented, more athletic, better players.  But people almost never say that.  Even Golden State, the most talented team ever assembled, you still hear about their "team mentality" and "lack of ego".  Really they just have 4 top-25 players, which is nearly impossible in team sports, so they smash everyone.  

For whatever reason, writers tend to make sports into a referendum on character/personality vs. a test of talent/performance.  Somehow people persist in thinking this is the "smart" take even though it's completely disproven with reams of data.  

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