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Stubbornness on Short Game vs Long Game

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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?

Because in his Short Game Bible, he lists Tom Kite as his best player (before Mickelson) but he won 12 PGA Tour events and one major compared to Lee Trevino, who he lists as the most accurate long game player and he won 29 events with 6 majors! Statistically in his playing career, Phil Mickelson is so accurate with his approach shots when he's in the fairway, second only to Tiger, he's not just a great wedge player.

Even the Division I golf team coach of the college I go to (NMSU) believes that the short game is the most important part but they didn't even make the NCAA team championship this year. Why is it that so many people are stubborn about this and refuse to change their opinion, even when presented with completely objective evidence??? 

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24 minutes ago, 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?

I have no clue if that originated with Pelz. 

27 minutes ago, golfdu said:

Why is it that so many people are stubborn about this and refuse to change their opinion, even when presented with completely objective evidence??? 

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 ;) 

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11 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

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 ;) 

I think it's this.

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49 minutes ago, 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?

It's not that people are stubborn or are "clinging" to the old belief; they just don't care enough to actually research the facts.  It's just a truism that you hear and it sounds sort of logical so you don't ever question it.

There are a ton of much stupider facts that people still believe for the same reason...a lot of people think that we only use 10% of our brains, for example.

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I was almost surprised to get an e-mail from Hank Haney the other day, where he said that those advocating that the short game governs scoring are all wrong! He put driver distance and accuracy at the top of the list, and made some very convincing arguments for his thoughts.

Obviously all parts of the game are important, but getting off to a good start seems elemental!

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29 minutes ago, Hardspoon said:

It's not that people are stubborn or are "clinging" to the old belief; they just don't care enough to actually research the facts.  It's just a truism that you hear and it sounds sort of logical so you don't ever question it.

There are a ton of much stupider facts that people still believe for the same reason...a lot of people think that we only use 10% of our brains, for example.

I used to think that, but not anymore. I've seen lots of people who continue their disbelief in spite of being presented with the research and evidence.

I have met people who know very little or possibly nothing about something form quick judgments about it and be impossible to convince that their assumptions which were founded upon nothing are actually wrong. It's more than simply that they don't know any better or need to be better informed. That's overly optimistic, IMO. I'd love to think everyone would make better informed decisions if they were better informed, but that hasn't been my experience. 

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Here's why:  recency bias.  You hit a meh drive, a meh approach, a meh chip to 16' and then miss the putt.  Why did you bogey?  Because you're a bad putter, you tell yourself.  Or someone tells you.  If only you were a better putter, you could erase all those mistakes with one grand putt. 

Bad math is also to blame.   You've seen the stats.  I shot an 87 today with 37 putts.  Clearly putting is 42% of my game, so I should spend 42% of my practice time putting!  I had I think 13 tap-in putts today, too... maybe I should spend 15% of my time practicing tap-ins!

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1 hour ago, Shindig said:

Bad math is also to blame.   You've seen the stats.  I shot an 87 today with 37 putts.  Clearly putting is 42% of my game, so I should spend 42% of my practice time putting!  I had I think 13 tap-in putts today, too... maybe I should spend 15% of my time practicing tap-ins!

This does it for me. 50% of your shots are from within 100 yards is also an easy mantra to fall for. I do believe that when Pelz started doing what he was doing, it was a major leap forward, but now, pretty much everyone does it, so it won't have the separation effect.

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It isn't three-putts that kill an otherwise good round...it's all those damn two-putts.

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It's just so frustrating because I'm a recent PGM student and I've studied so much on golf, looking past the lies and getting the facts and I love doing it so much, been doing it since I was 12.

But no one listens to me because I'm only 21, they don't want to learn from a 21 year old college student who's not on the golf team or playing professionally. I know TGM, MORAD, S&T, 5SK, TPI3D, AimPoint, advanced statistics, golf club design, mental game, golf course management, among so many things in golf that I love... And I still don't feel heard and it hits me hard because I'm hard of hearing and I want to be heard more than I want to hear. That's all I have to say.

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13 hours ago, Shindig said:

Bad math is also to blame.   You've seen the stats.  I shot an 87 today with 37 putts.  Clearly putting is 42% of my game, so I should spend 42% of my practice time putting!  I had I think 13 tap-in putts today, too... maybe I should spend 15% of my time practicing tap-ins!

I once heard a commentator say something like: all pros get on the green in the same number of strokes so what differentiates them is their putting.   

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In addition to some of the answers given above (and to repeat some):

  • Recency bias plays a role. Even though you're 50/50 to make an eight-footer, people will often blame their putting when they fail to get up and down for par.
  • It's tough to appreciate, for most people, partial shots, and the differences between them. A drive 10 yards farther leaves an easier second shot. Play from there 100 times instead of 10 yards back and you'll save strokes, but that's over 100 rounds.
  • People intuitively understand that putting is relatively easy, and enjoy fooling themselves that they could be pretty good if they just devoted time to putting.
  • People have been told wrong information for years and decades and even centuries.
  • People don't understand statistics. If Donald Trump was given a 16% chance to win the last election, too many people acted as if that was basically "never gonna happen" when really he would win once if you conducted six elections under roughly similar situations.
  • People don't play the "long game" and by that I don't mean the full swing, I mean understanding that it's going to take employing a change in strategy over a good period of time to see results. And even then you have to do a good bit of measuring to see the results.
  • People are stupid. Some just are. They're also biased, as Pelz would be (and I'd argue should be… if he's not entirely stupid), and push things that benefit them.

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7 minutes ago, krupa said:

I once heard a commentator say something like: all pros get on the green in the same number of strokes so what differentiates them is their putting.   

Ugh. That's not even partly accurate. Not only do all pros not get on in the same number of strokes, but their proximity to the hole is different, too. Proximity is a huge factor in putting.

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10 minutes ago, billchao said:

Ugh. That's not even partly accurate. Not only do all pros not get on in the same number of strokes, but their proximity to the hole is different, too. Proximity is a huge factor in putting.

Yeah it was a huge generalization and the guy made some caveat that he was talking about the people at the top of the leaderboard.  But it perpetuates the "work on your short game" mentality that so many people have.

Edited by krupa

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The way I see it everything counts....of course! But the closer I can place myself for each shot it gets exponentially easier/probable that I will score better. An oversimplification perhaps but... that's how it feels and if I'm feeling better and more confident about a shot it's good. Confidence is big!

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