What Would You Shoot If...
In talking with golfers, I often ask questions about what is the best part of their game, and what is the worst. The answers I get are all over the place, as you might imagine. How would you answer the questions? And how confident are you that your answers are really correct?

So, while driving last evening, I got to thinking about this notion of how much would you improve if you "fixed" the worst part of your game? What kind of scores would you shoot if you could effectively address that part of the game that you think troubles you the most.

So, here's an idea of you can find out just what the impact would be on your game if you did just that. Here are a few common answers to my question about the weakest part of “your” game, and how I would suggest you determine the real impact of that on your scoring:

  1. "I don’t hit it far enough."

    If that is your issue, the next time you go play a fun round, when you get to each drive, just pick up the ball and move it 12 yards further down the target line. Not toward the green, mind you, but along the line it was taking when it came to rest. Then play in from there and see how your scoring was impacted by that suddenly added distance. If it was meaningful, there are ways to extract 10-12 more yards for almost anyone.

  2. "I don’t hit enough fairways."

    For this one, on every hole where you miss the fairway, take the ball and walk it straight out to the middle, then back 12 yards. That will show you the impact of giving up a little distance in exchange for accuracy. If it has the effect on your score that you think it will, there are many ways to trade a little distance for a lot of accuracy.

  3. "My short game isn’t good enough."

    This one is easy. Keep a second row of scores going. On every hole where you miss the green, in that second row, just add 2.5 shots. At the end of the round, see how the second score total compares to your real score.

  4. "I’m not a good putter."

    Again, keep a second score running, and never take more than a two-putt and give yourself half of the putts under 10 feet. See what that total comes out to, in comparison to your real score.

  5. "I don’t hit enough greens."

    For this final "scientific test", play your round and for each hole where you miss the green with a 5-iron or less, put out a second ball on the safe side of the flag, a distance from the hole as follows:


    • 5- and 6-iron approach, 40 feet

    • 7- and 8-iron approach, 30 feet

    • 9-iron and PW approach, 25 feet

    • Gap and SW approach, 18 feet

You can reduce these distances a little if you think that is more reflective of your skill level. See how this second score improves over your real score and that will tell you something about hitting greens, playing to the safe side, and learning to throttle back your power until you can make those irons go where you want them to, within these allowable distance tolerances.

It's fun to dream about how our scoring would be impacted "If only..." and this is a great way to find out just what that impact would be. Then that provides you with the proof of where you should be spending your investments in lessons, practice and equipment.
The Wedge Guy is sponsored by SCOR Golf, where Terry Koehler is President/CEO. He encourages you to submit your questions or topics to be considered for his columns on Tuesdays and Fridays. Each submission automatically enters you to win a SCOR4161 wedge to be given away monthly. Click the button below to submit your question or topic today.


[ comments ]
gpickin says:
Its a pretty good idea... I'll have to do this sometime.
Funny, apart from hit it too far (which I think I hit it far enough), I think the rest probably apply :)

Number 3 is the most important I think for me, but it hasn't affected me as much lately because 5 has been working better.
Number 2 is the next issue for me, too much time in the trees is always going to make it tough.

4 and 5 are improving.
It will be interesting to see what it actually does to my game though to try these :)
7/3/12
 
larrynjr says:
Without having to do this, I already have a good idea of what I'm capable of. About 2 months ago I was playing 18 holes at my regular course. The high school teams were practicing on the front nine so I played the back first with a couple of other players I didn't know. I played just over my handicap on the back with a 47 with par being 34. The other guys dropped out and I finished the front on my own. I proceeded to par the first 6 holes, bogied 7 & 8 and par'd 9 for a 38 with par being 36. This gave me my best ever 18 hole score of 85 and also my best 9. Previous best for 9 was 42. I KNOW I can play better, I have. Usually my issue is mental. I've got life events weighing on mind and I am not able to block them suffiently while I play.
7/3/12
 
jasonfish11 says:
#5 is working good for me right now. But I'm having trouble learning to lag put because before I didnt need to since I never hit greens.

So I did what you recomended for #4 based on my last round. I would have saved 7 strokes if I 1) didnt 3-put and 2) made half my <10' puts. BTW I shot 80 w/ 40 puts that round :(
7/3/12
 
joe jones says:
What if you don't hit it far enough.don't hit enough fairways,don't have a good short game, are a lousy putter and don't hit enough greens. What then? Just asking.
7/3/12
 
jasonfish11 says:
"joe jones says:
What if you don't hit it far enough.don't hit enough fairways,don't have a good short game, are a lousy putter and don't hit enough greens. What then? Just asking."

Drink more while playing...Or less one of the two has to work.
7/3/12
 
jrbizzle says:
jasonfish - Amen to that. I spent two years really improving my iron play and hitting more greens. And the result was...I found out I suck at lag putting! I was so used missing a green, and then chipping the ball somewhat close to the hole and needing to two putt from 5-15 feet that I never really attempted many 20-30 footers. My scores didn't really improve at first because I replaced a chip and two putts with three putts. Same result.

But over the next couple years I got better at placing my irons and the lag putting.
7/3/12
 
Anti-Mulligan says:
#4 is the problem for me. No matter how hard I try, I might make one ten foot putt a round. I practice a ton but on the course they never go in. Wedgeguy - A good article would be how to better control wedge distances. I choke down to take off yardage on my wedges and currently carry four but still don't hit them close. When the distance is correct, I pull or push it or hit it straight but come up short or fly it long. I rarely hit it inside ten feet. Any tips? I currently carry a 1 handicap, drive it straight, hit tons of greens but don't make enough birdies to score well.
7/3/12
 
Matt McGee says:
In that list of problems, put "Hole #" in front of each issue number. Repeat with numbers 6 through 18. You have now explained my game.
7/3/12
 
birdieXris says:
There's no doubt in my mind that i would score better if i hit more fairways. Exhibit A: My last round played. I know the answers, it's making them happen that's the tough part.
7/3/12
 
GBogey says:
The real strokes are in #3 and #4 - if you can get up and down in 2.5 strokes AND make half of putts under 10 feet, you are shooting low 80's worst case, and that's probably better than most of us do. Add some greens for #5 accuracy and you are breaking 80 regularly, which again is probably better than most of us (me!). I see #1 and #2 as enablers - distance and fairways make it easier to hit greens, but if you don't have accuracy on approaches or can't putt in two they really don't reduce your score.
7/3/12
 
GBogey says:
Case in point my last round. Had 3 really good drives, 2 came on short par 4's which left me PW from green. Hit my worst 2 irons of the day and missed both greens and ended up bogey from around 100 yards twice. At least I can honestly say that one of the greens is about the smallest green that I have ever played.
7/3/12
 
Duke of Hazards says:
@Anti-Mulligan, I'll trade my inability to score well for yours.
7/3/12
 
joe jones says:
Anti mulligan. I have a few slightly worn out body parts I will trade for your handicap. Even up.
7/3/12
 
JuKu says:
@GBogey: If you can get up and down in 2.5 strokes AND make half of putts under 10 feet, but hit your drives out of bounds and your approach shots into water, you can still shoot high 110's easily. I'm not practicing anyhting but full shots (other than just for the fun) until my GIR+1 is at least 50%.

I wonder how much the course has to do with this. On some courses, a drive 30 y/m of line only means a longer approach shot, on the course I'm playing today
7/4/12
 
onedollarwed says:
@Larrynjr, I feel for you. Golf has always been a refuge for me in hard times, and has been quite therapeutic. When problems weigh on the course, I kind of feel pointless for being there. It's nice to play with strangers to get your mind off your life!
@Anti-M, I get in those same kind of ruts with my game. To score well, I need to sink some 10-footers or chip in. Sticking the wedges and approaches can be tough no matter what happens in the rest of your game. There are so many variables.
1) I never play the same course twice in the same day or in consecutive days. This would probably help us dial in much more precise scoring shots (firmness and slopes of greens, pin locations)
2) I feel like my initial perceptions are faulty. Do you know exactly the distance you're hitting? Do you walk up to the green and think "oh that's how it slopes, the pin is way back there?"
3) I also feel like there are elements I'm not taking into consideration - up/down hill, wind, slope, etc.
4) A caddy would help, no?
7/4/12
 
...the Murseless says:
Regarding the 'hitting more fairways' adjustment - it would be more realistic to walk back _all_ drives by 12 yards (even the ones that hit the fairway.) You can't assume to know that you are going to hit the fairway you just hit before taking the drive, so you would also need to pretend to have 'taken something off' the ones that actually hit the fairway too.
7/4/12
 
DougE says:
If I could hit greens at the same rate I do now (about 35%), but with an added stat on GIRs being GIR<20' I think I would drop 5 strokes on average. First putt distances on greens hit is my winning combo. Yesterday I hit 3 greens in a row and 3-putted every one of them. Ironically they were my only 3-putts of the round. Hmmmm, sounds like something mental could have been in play on those greens, whatd'ya think?
7/4/12
 
Bryan K says:
Driving is definitely the best part of my game. And it's also definitely the least important. Usually, even a bad drive for me goes 200+. But here is the deal. I had a bout that lasted about two rounds this summer where I was hitting these horrible duck hooks that went about 120-150 if they stayed in play. I found myself with a lot of LOOONG second shots, and I was hitting those second shots so well, I put myself into a lot of positions to go up and down to save par. So as long as my drive stays in play, I'm going to be able to recover enough to be able to shoot my handicap regardless of how far it goes.
7/4/12
 
Bryan K says:
The success of my rounds are predicated on my ability to hit greens. The problem with missing greens is that sooner or later, you're going to find yourself in a tough spot because of it. And my home course has a LOT of trouble around the greens. I've found that I tend to shoot below my handicap on just about every course I play except my home course, where I shoot well over my handicap with regularity. But here is the kicker. I tend to do better on rounds where I am duffing iron shots than I do on rounds where I am hitting those irons square but just missing the green. I honestly think that the difference between hitting greens 40% of the time (which is my goal) and hitting them less than 15% of the time (which is my regular result) is eight strokes. It would be ten, but I think I lose one or two putts hitting greens because my lag putting is so bad.
7/4/12
 
Gromit5 says:
Damn, nobody's happy. Put your clubs away and stop for a year. Maybe then you'll have a notion as to why you play golf.
7/4/12
 
JuKu says:
The hyenas in the Safari ate the last line of my comment. I tried to say that on that course, a drive 30 m off-line is either lost or wet.
7/5/12
 
Anti-Mulligan says:
Onedollarwed - I think I know the distances of my wedges and I carry a range finder with me to get the exact distance. I try to calibrate all the factors before making a swing but find I am always just a little bit off. Would a caddy help, of course, anyone helping with anyone's game would help make decisions!
7/5/12
 
[ post comment ]
Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

Click here to learn more about Terry.
Click here to for Terry's blogroll.
 
    Golf Talk
Most Popular:

Subscribe