Did you know that the best golfers in the world average 65% of their drives into the fairway and 67% of their shots onto the green? The one factor that determines their level of performance is how they are so good at consistently producing low scores. How do they do it? The short game rules. Pros are very accurate with a wedge in their hand from within 100 yards, and are also great putters within 16 feet of the hole. I have played with many a player who may not hit the ball far, but makes up for it with their short games from 100 yards and in. Wants some more stats? The average distance a top ranked PGA tour player will hit his chip shots from the fringe is 2 – 3 feet from the hole. From this distance he will make 95-99% of those putts. The average distance form a greenside bunker? – 7 – 9 feet from the hole, and from there they make 56% of their putts. I like to tell my students that 70% of you practice time should be focused on the short game, from 100 yards and in. I also like to tell them that the short game, especially from 40 yards and in, is not ‘black and white’, but ‘grey’ — meaning you need to have a good visual and imagination of what you want to do. You can putt, chip or pitch — you should know all 3 options – and use the one that your are most confident in that will produce the best shot. You also need to have the right equipment. Do you have the proper sand wedge for you? Do you need a lob wedge as well? How far do you hit your wedges (pitching, gap, sand and lob?).. If you have no idea, you cannot have the confidence to pull off the shot at hand. I had a gentleman that has 4 wedges – pitching, gap (or approach wedge), sand and lob wedge. His short game was very inconsistent, short on one shot, long on another. We tested his wedges and found out his gap wedge and sand wedge were going the same distance – so basically he had two clubs doing the same thing. As a result, he had a gap of distance between his sand wedge and pitching wedge. Hence, the inconsistency of his shot from 80 yards. We found out what wedge loft would work for him for that distance of 80 yards, put him in that wedge – and voila — much better scoring and confidence. So go to your practice facility (hopefully, it is Evies!), and test yourself. Hit shots to different targets from 100 yards and in. Go putt and see how many putts you drain from 10 feet. If you are below 50%, you need to focus a lot more on your wedges and putting. That is why tour players are so good at scoring – they focus a lot more time on their short games as opposed to most amateurs. So get out there and practice! Call me if you want to test your wedges distances and see how well they are doing for you.
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