Short Game Survey - The Results Are In
First of all, let me thank the 184 of you that took our Survey on the Short Game. I'll share with you what we learned from this, and make my own observations. Then you all can chime in with your feedback.

Let’s begin by profiling the Wedge Guy reader. Just over 20% of you play to a single digit handicap, but I was surprised that almost 28% play to a 20 or higher, and another 23% to a 16-20. So, over half of you readers play to a 16 or more – my goal is to help you shave as many of those strokes as possible, so let me know what you are curious about and we’ll dig into it.

But you guys are strong -- typical driving distance for 32% of you is 225-250, with another 31% averaging 250-275. As for that 9% that claim to average over 275, what are you guys eating??

When it comes to irons, the largest category play a basic cavity back – 41%. But more of you play some kind of blade (36%) than the higher tech cavity backs or hybrid sets combined (21%). I congratulate you on realizing that the way-out technology in irons really isn’t the answer most of the time.

Now let’s talk wedges. Almost 90% of you are playing the pitching wedge that came with your set, but over half of you carry at least 3 other wedges – GREAT! As for the 45% of you that are only carrying one or two specialty wedges, this is where you might consider giving yourself more options in scoring range. Why have 3-5 clubs that cover a small range at the long end, where precision is not that critical, and limit yourself when you are inside of Pitching Wedge range? I’m a big believer in more scoring options for shotmaking precision.

Oh, and it appears that for most of you, your wedges fall in the age range of about 3 years old. If you play any golf at all, you’ve probably lost some spin there, either by having wedges that do not fully take advantage of modern groove milling technology, or they are getting worn. At the risk of sounding “sales-y”, EIDOLON can help you there.

Of particular interest to me as your WedgeGuy were the results from the questions about your skills around the greens. 24% of you said that bunkers give you the most trouble, which was slightly passed (27%) by medium thick rough. Watch for articles on both very soon.

Of interest to me also, and related to this question of the age of your wedges was that over 75% of you said that you don’t get the spin you’d like around the greens. Well, unless you are expecting to back up every shot (which is just not realistic), I can help you with that. And that’s another series of articles that will be coming soon.

Now, we get to putting. 57% of you said you’ll three-putt once or twice a round, but almost 27% of you claim to have 3 or 4 per round. Those are strokes you can get back with just a little work, and I want to help you. But that response seems to be related to the answers regarding your skill assessment on various lengths of putts. The lowest scores were given to long straightaway lags and approach putts with big breaks. I’ll be into that subject by next week, OK?

So, there’s the wrap up on the Short Game Survey. I hope you enjoyed learning more about the average oobgolfer’s game and thanks for sharing your input. If you think surveys are kind of fun, please let me know your ideas for other topics we can investigate together.

And now I’ve got to get to writing, as I’ve promised you lots of material here, haven’t I?
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[ comments ]
yomonk1 says:
Great info. Seems I'm about average...good to know. On self assessment, I have to admit. Wedge play is certainly one of my weaker points. I'm game to hear whatever you have to say. Preach on, My Brotha.
Tim Horan says:
My long straight putt woes continue and nearly always end up short,but my longer putts with a break or two I do quite well...getting them to or just past the hole most times. I seem to be getting something extra from the reading of a break that I don't get on a straight putt. On the break putts I read a curve rather than a point at which I aim and so envisage the whole putt. Do any of you guys have any tips to help envisage the straight putts?
Kickntrue says:
Tim- I'd love to help you out- but all you have to do is look at my putting stats to know I'm not the guy to help!

One thing I will say about the survey in general is amateurs continued insistance on being long bombers. My AVERAGE driving distance is around 210 yards even though I can on occassion hit drives 275-300. If I connect and launch one down the middle it will ALWAYS go 275. That doesn't mean I hit the ball 275 yards. A lot of pros don't "average" that number. Just saying...
BMcDonald says:
Great! Looks like everything that was my weak points, was in line with everyone else! Sweet that means it could really be a fun year of golf! Only thing I have different is my driving, even though I can drive 250-300 EVERY TIME I lose ALL control. This forces bad lies and no way of "attacking" the greens. Which usually puts me in the 100's. I seen to play better Teeing off with a 1i,2i,3i combo. I used the 3i the final stretch of the year. I usually had 80 to 90% fairways hit, but lost distance usually hitting 150-200 yards. Is this a bad move?it seems that I ONLY miss hit outside my irons, large drivers are always a problem as they go about 170 then slice hard right.

Any help with these problems will greatly be appreciated.
TaylorFade says:
I don't want to reopen this can of worms, but the tour average was 286ish last year. I averaged all of my fairways hits last year and it was over 250 and I'm not a bomber. But, you know, after hitting 3-iron into at least 4 par 4's last week I have come to realize that I was only counting clear summer day numbers for my average. You throw in the windy, the cold, the wet, and all other adverse conditions into the mix and that average plummets. I bet a lot of others were doing the same thing.

But anyway, this is a short game column. One of the questions should have been %'s of up and downs from 30yds and in. I think the tour average is like 60%. Mine is like 10%.
drwoosah says:
Tim- Something that helps for me on straight putts, or all putts for that matter, is break the putt up. In your head, break it up into 10 foot sections, or 5 foot sections etc. Envision where you want the ball to roll in that section, and work backwards from the pin. I picked it up from playing Tiger haha. When you're putting on there, it has the grid on the green, showing you the slope and uphill or downhill. When I'm playing, I mentally throw that grid onto the green and work with it. Take it for what its worth though, im far from a great putter. It works for me and my group of friends. Hope that helps. :)
Tim Horan says:
drwoosah - Thanks for that I don't have difficulty reading the line but it has helped breaking the putt up and applying something Terry fed in about thinking of speed rather than how hard to hit it. I have had some success with breaking the putt up into sections and assessing the speed through each section. This has actually resulted in a slight over hitting of longer putts. But at least they have a better chance of dropping than the woefully short efforts of late. I hit my first par round at the weekend and still felt that I left a few out there. Cheers guys!
JWHpurist says:
An interesting point that I discovered several years ago. When I putt crosshanded, I can reduce the number of putts per round by 5 to 8 strokes. I believe that Palmer & Nicklaus both found this to be the case later in their careers. Try it you might like it (lead with the left). JWHpurist
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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

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