To copy, or not to copy
By mustang6560 on 12/14/12
Stephanie Wei recently posted an interesting article on her golf blog that she originally wrote for fall issue of the Northern California Golf Association Magazine. The article is titled "Should we copy everything the PGA and LPGA Tour pros do?" and it focuses on the aspects of the professional game we as amateur golfers should and should not try to apply to our game.

She highlights several solid DOs and DON'Ts from a variety of topics every amateur golfer should and I included my two favorite below — one DO and one DON'T.

*Take enough club (or even an extra club). The most common mistake Tour players see their pro-am partners make is overestimating how far they can hit the ball. Amateurs tend to take less than they need.

"If you can't drive the ball 250 yards, it is very likely your 3-wood won't fly the 270 yards necessary to carry the water hazard, the greenside bunker or your friends' heads," says Christina Kim, a two-time winner on the LPGA Tour.

In other words, check your ego in the parking lot. Your buddies will be much more impressed if you clear the hazard and find dry land or hit the green in regulation.


*Mark a putt inside three feet. The pros are playing for millions and an 18-inch putt could cost them hundreds of thousands and a major championship. Unless you're playing for more than you have in your bank account (which you shouldn't be doing in the first place), just putt out.
I included the above DON'T because I am guilty of marking my ball inside three feet. The reality is, as Stephanie points out, I'm not playing for millions of dollars so I need to get in the habit of "putting out". I'd probably sink more three-foot putts if I just got up there and hit it instead of thinking about it.

Any of the DO's and DON'Ts apply to your game?

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[ comments ]
Matt McGee says:
I don't usually mark putts inside 3 feet, but someone is going to have to start financing my wagers if I'm never going to mark them.
Great advice on the club length. I've recently started taking an extra club if there's any question in my mind that I have enough. It helps in many ways, not the least of which is improving the result of a less-than-perfect shot.
mjaber says:
Do... play your shot. I think everybody has a "natural" swing in them. Some take more work than others, but it's there. And everyone's swing is going to produce a "natural" ball flight. For some, it's a hook, others a slice, and everything in between. If you can find that, and play it, instead of trying to fight it, you'll have more fun.

Don't... be a hero. Just because Bubba hit the really cool hook out of the woods doesn't mean you can. I'm pretty sure you can't.
Panerai111 says:
I wouldn't say not to mark every 3 foot putt. Just the important ones. Yeah, I'm sick of seeing people wait for the green to clear on par 5s when they are on their 3 shot from 230 out.
frankteo714 says:
Well said mjaber. For too long now I've been trying to play a draw when my miss has clearly always been a slice. Just fighting fire with fire on that one. I have to just play the fade. I'm done trying to make moves in my swing that just hurt me in the long run.

I disagree with the 3 foot putt thing though. There are no gimmies on the green, sorry. I still like posting a legit score no matter how good or bad I am.
legitimatebeef says:
Not all three foot putts are the same. If you've just hit the first putt three feet past the hole, seen that it goes straight then yeah rap it in. But sometimes you are dealing with break, or even wind. Putts can be tricky. If thats the case I don't really care, I'll take my time, screw you. Unfortunate for everyone else but oh well, it's the game, I didn't make up the rule. I play fairly quick in every other part of the game. The time it takes me to play 18 probably puts yours to shame. Why should anyone dog their putts, to save time? Now all of a sudden you care about saving time. There's a thousand other causes of slow play, get off my back!!!
Ianinho says:
Yeah disagree with the 3 foot thing as well. 1)There is a big difference between a 3 footer and an 18 inch putt, 2)if anything it should be easier for pros to tap them in. They're playing on perfect greens and have very good strokes, for the most part. 3) They may be playing for thousands of dollars, but for most of them that means the same to them as me playing for €10
Dusty23 says:
If I was playing in a Pro Am with these guys fine, I'll putt out, but that 3 footer could be the difference between another frustrating day and a personal best for me. I don't spend a alot of time lining putts up from all over like pros do so I;m not taking alot of time anyway. Many times I will finish out, but if it means possibly messing with someones elses line,I mark.
bkuehn1952 says:
If I can take my normal stance without worrying about other player's lines, I will often putt out from 2 feet or so. 3 feet is starting to get a bit long to casually putt out, especially like beef says when there is a bit of break or it is straight down hill on a slick green. I certainly will not hit it if I have to stand in an odd fashion. Several times a year in our tournaments I see someone reach over and casually give their ball a nudge, only to see it roll past the hole.

The balance of the article does have some good reminders
golfingbumunderpar64 says:
Screw that lady. It's all a matter of opinion. ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS take your time 3-4 ft and in. Example: I made 7 putts last Sunday from that distance ( first one on #2 ) and had my first bogey free rd at my home course. If I hurried up just to save time it would have been a deal breaker. No one wants to play a 5 hr rd but we all pay our money and can always let faster players through. Its not enjoyable rushing and feeling pressured to hurry. You will lose strokes and day could be shot.
jcstoll says:
I disagree about the 3 footers, too. We shouldn't be taking 5 minutes to line them up, but the difference between making 3 footers and missing them can add up over a round. In more than 1 tournament, I've gone ahead to finish out with awkward stance to avoid others' lines and missed the 18-incher. I vowed to never again putt out in situations where I can't take a normal stance.
Kurt the Knife says:
DO: tip the cart girl

Don't: Hit on the cart girl
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