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LeftyRM7

Long vs. Short Game

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On 12/19/2019 at 9:42 AM, palvord said:

It's been mentioned before, but variability in practice after mechanics have been honed is very important.

We are never presented with the exact same shot every time on the golf course, so our practice has to change shot to shot for us to be able to implement it on the course. (This is purely outside of changing something in the swing)

This is so frequently overlooked, but it's oh-so-important.  The only thing I'd add is to add pressure to your practice.  Unless you're practicing with someone else, the pressure will need to be something self-imposed, but you should really practice in such a way that every shot has consequences (good and bad).  If you hit a shot badly, then rake another ball over and hit it right away with the same club, you're not really helping yourself.  But you are giving yourself a false sense of accomplishment.  One simple pressure practice game is the club up/club down game.  Start at the bottom of your bag and pick out a specific target.  If your strike and direction are good (I try not to worry about distance, range balls are so inconsistent), move up a club.  Otherwise, try again.  Really be tough on yourself and don't move up unless your strike is good.  Catch it a groove low but it's right on line - thin to win?  No dice; don't move up.  Want to make it tougher on yourself?  Move down a club when you hit it poorly.  When you can't get past your 7 iron, you know you're really not hitting the ball all that well.  

One other thing I've been doing very recently to add variability to my practice is to try to curve the ball left-to-right (opposite of my normal right to left) every other shot.  Not that I'm going to try fading a ball into a tucked right-hand pin.  But if I can develop the feel of a left-to-right shot, I have a swing feel I can go to when the rope hook creeps into my swing (like it does every so often).  I generally don't hit an actual fade in these situations with my "fade swing," but I can turn the rope hook into a playable right-to-left shot and get around the golf course without hurting anyone.  It only took me 35 years to get that through my thick skull.

 

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I have a few acres I practice my short game (100 yards and in) with some pvc pipe in the ground as my hole locations. But the local course doesn't have a driving range so there's no way to work on my long game. Oddly enough, I have a major love hate relationship with my driver at the moment. Closest range is nearly 40 miles away.

Man, Golf is hard....

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I tend to find myself with 2/3 aspects of the game going. Example my short game and putting is going great but getting off the tee is a struggle. Next time will be off the tee and short game and putting struggles. I find when I am playing more often and consistently 2-3 times per week everything is a little more in sync. Beginning of the year is a real struggle.

I find what helps me when I am getting into shorts/long game issues is slowing down and finding that even tempo swing. Also go to your automatic club. For me it is my 2H off the tee instead of driver and when short game isn't going well it is my 8 Iron. I know no matter what is going on for some reason those 2 clubs in my hand brings me back down and back into consistency. If they aren't for some reason that day I get a beer 😂

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On 5/28/2019 at 9:17 PM, LeftyRM7 said:

 

In my endless quest to get better, I’ve noticed a trend in my game and practice. After struggling badly with long clubs, especially driver, I got fit for my driver in January. I’ve worked hard on my long game and I’ve seen massive improvement. Par 5’s have gone from my worst to my best holes most days. Lately I feel like I’m in a cycle between long and short clubs. I have a good round of the tee and hit most fairways but struggle to hit greens. So I’ll spend time on the range working on irons and wedges. Then like clockwork I go back to the course and struggle to get off the tee and find fairways but hit great approach shots, after dropping or punching out of the trees that is. Wondering if anyone else has got caught in this cycle and more importantly, how did you get out of it.

 

 

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On 5/28/2019 at 9:49 PM, Shankster said:

Welcome to my world. I focus too much of my time on 100 and in. Oddly enough, a lot of my approach shots are outside of that. Maybe I need to rethink my practice strategy.

 

On 5/28/2019 at 10:19 PM, GB13 said:

If anyone else comes up with a solution, please let me know immediately!! 

 

On 5/28/2019 at 11:35 PM, robertson153 said:

I think there has to be an equal amount of practice/range time on long and short game. I have yet to find that balance. I also struggle with getting off the tee, then with approach shots. In my mind I try to fix one thing and focus on that instead of my entire game. Maybe one of these days I’ll figure it out.


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I was given a range system to follow over a decade ago by a trusted coach and I still use it. This is all after being properly warmed up. I can post my warm-up if anyone is interested.

Divide the range session into 4 equal parts. I vary the order of the parts. Take breaks between parts. Treat every shot like you are playing it on the course. This system ensures I do not neglect part of my game and over focus on something else. I also do short game practice at least as much as I hit balls on the range, but not always both during one practice session. Parts 1-3 are easy to make competitive games out of and this really helps me focus during practice as well.

Part 1 is full swings using at least half of your non-wedge/putter clubs (ex. driver, hybrid, 5 iron, 7 iron, 9 iron).

Part 2 is for medium length pitches and full wedges which is 50-125 yards for me. Establish good gaps and practice them.

Part 3 is for workability (high, low, draw, fade, hitting gaps between clubs). Push yourself to try new and difficult shots here (whatever that means to your skill level).

Part 4 is for swing changes/mechanics. I like to focus on over exaggeration here.

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4 hours ago, lamb said:

I was given a range system to follow over a decade ago by a trusted coach and I still use it. This is all after being properly warmed up. I can post my warm-up if anyone is interested.

Divide the range session into 4 equal parts. I vary the order of the parts. Take breaks between parts. Treat every shot like you are playing it on the course. This system ensures I do not neglect part of my game and over focus on something else. I also do short game practice at least as much as I hit balls on the range, but not always both during one practice session. Parts 1-3 are easy to make competitive games out of and this really helps me focus during practice as well.

Part 1 is full swings using at least half of your non-wedge/putter clubs (ex. driver, hybrid, 5 iron, 7 iron, 9 iron).

Part 2 is for medium length pitches and full wedges which is 50-125 yards for me. Establish good gaps and practice them.

Part 3 is for workability (high, low, draw, fade, hitting gaps between clubs). Push yourself to try new and difficult shots here (whatever that means to your skill level).

Part 4 is for swing changes/mechanics. I like to focus on over exaggeration here.

So what part of your game is strongest, and what part is weakest?


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5 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

So what part of your game is strongest, and what part is weakest?

Putting and short game are the strongest.

Distance and consistent iron play are the weakest. Iron play really struggles if I don't keep up on practice.


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8 hours ago, lamb said:

. I also do short game practice at least as much as I hit balls on the range, but not always both during one practice session.

 

2 hours ago, lamb said:

Putting and short game are the strongest.

Distance and consistent iron play are the weakest. Iron play really struggles if I don't keep up on practice.

Given that, I'd spend less time on short game practice, and instead work to improve weaknesses.  I'm not saying NO practice for short game and putting, but more maintenance level.


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24 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

Given that, I'd spend less time on short game practice, and instead work to improve weaknesses.  I'm not saying NO practice for short game and putting, but more maintenance level.

I have found that when I do that (change the ratio of long game to short game practice time) my short game standards drop while my ball striking improves. Overall that leads to higher scores for me.

My goal this year is to dedicate more time to the range and playing without decreasing the amount of time I spend on short game. We'll see what happens.


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18 hours ago, lamb said:

I have found that when I do that (change the ratio of long game to short game practice time) my short game standards drop while my ball striking improves. Overall that leads to higher scores for me.

My goal this year is to dedicate more time to the range and playing without decreasing the amount of time I spend on short game. We'll see what happens.

Good luck.  Obviously we're all different.  I find that my short game is pretty stable.  When I can improve my full-swing game, I hit more greens, I need the short game less, so scores go down.

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On 3/23/2020 at 9:51 AM, DaveP043 said:

So what part of your game is strongest, and what part is weakest?

Definitely strong is short game and is the most consistent pretty much anything 180 and in (long irons are pretty consistent) I typically find myself struggling off the tee so when that is happening I try to go to the long irons just to save the round....but not always because who the hell wants to leave the driver in the bag.


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On 3/24/2020 at 8:22 AM, DaveP043 said:

Good luck.  Obviously we're all different.  I find that my short game is pretty stable.  When I can improve my full-swing game, I hit more greens, I need the short game less, so scores go down.

Somebody gets it.  You can hit 16 greens, never get up and down and be + handicap.  Easy game!

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I watched a Gary Player Clinic at which he claimed the short game was so important he could play a 20 handicappers drive on every hole and still shoot par........ I’m not so sure he could but the teaching point is still very relevant. You lose and or gain more strokes around the green then anywhere else on the golf course.


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Just now, SteddyGolf said:

I watched a Gary Player Clinic at which he claimed the short game was so important he could play a 20 handicappers drive on every hole and still shoot par........ I’m not so sure he could but the teaching point is still very relevant. You lose and or gain more strokes around the green then anywhere else on the golf course.


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The best in world are 67%, the worst are 51%, and the middle/average ~60%.  I'm guessing most everyone here is 50% or worse.  Now, which is easier: 50% of 10 opportunities or 50% of 4.  Fifty percent of 10 allows you to shoot 77.  Fifty percent of 4 allows you to shoot 74.  Which is more important?  

Now if you are a 1 handicap or better then you aren't using short game so much as to save a score but to make more birdies.  When a tour player wins they tend to scramble at a higher percentage because they tend to hit more greens than normal.  So when you see a winner at 80% it isn't really the entire story.  

 

If you want to improve your game, hit it between the trees, hit the green way more often than not (yes you might increase your proximity), and don't three putt.  Don't let a false narrative drive your improvement plan.  

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38 minutes ago, SteddyGolf said:

I watched a Gary Player Clinic at which he claimed the short game was so important he could play a 20 handicappers drive on every hole and still shoot par........ I’m not so sure he could but the teaching point is still very relevant. You lose and or gain more strokes around the green then anywhere else on the golf course.

I know Dave Peltz would tell you the same thing, but statistics tell us quite the opposite.  The differences between "classes" of players are typically about 2/3 full swing, and 1/3 short game and putting.  Of course those statistics don't hold true for every single player, but most of us have more to gain by improving full swing shots.  And most of us can improve putting and short game with less time and effort, full swing improvement is tougher.

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1 hour ago, DaveP043 said:

I know Dave Peltz would tell you the same thing, but statistics tell us quite the opposite.  The differences between "classes" of players are typically about 2/3 full swing, and 1/3 short game and putting.  Of course those statistics don't hold true for every single player, but most of us have more to gain by improving full swing shots.  And most of us can improve putting and short game with less time and effort, full swing improvement is tougher.

Putting improvement when reducing three putts is very easy, 5-15' not so much.  Technique, tactical knowledge, & tactical decision tremendously harder harder than hitting a green from any distance and two-putting.  Full swing improvements are much easier if one chooses the shortest/hardest path to improvement.  Most, however, travel the path of least resistance which leads way downhill before going uphill.  Overall, full swing adjustments can take two to three months.  The problem is we try to change like professional golfers who must make changes while still making money.  If we just do it, the pain will be over in 2-3 month.  Discipline over default is the shortcut.  

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I watched a Gary Player Clinic at which he claimed the short game was so important he could play a 20 handicappers drive on every hole and still shoot par........ I’m not so sure he could but the teaching point is still very relevant. You lose and or gain more strokes around the green then anywhere else on the golf course.


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As a 20 handicap that makes a few pars a round, it’s fair to say that a pro could easily shoot par with my drives. Most people hit way more short game shots than long but the long also covers more yardage. Then where do you draw the line between short and long? Full swings? What if you don’t play full swings and hit mostly 3/4 and 1/2 shots. I think the argument on which is more important is so irrelevant to making anyone better. Every shot counts the same on the card!


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13 hours ago, LeftyRM7 said:


As a 20 handicap that makes a few pars a round, it’s fair to say that a pro could easily shoot par with my drives. Most people hit way more short game shots than long but the long also covers more yardage. Then where do you draw the line between short and long? Full swings? What if you don’t play full swings and hit mostly 3/4 and 1/2 shots. I think the argument on which is more important is so irrelevant to making anyone better. Every shot counts the same on the card!

The reason that a really good player can shoot a decent scores with your drives is that a good player is HUGELY better than you are on longer shots.  He'll hit the green from 180 yards, you won't (most of the time).  Heck, that's the primary difference between me, as an 8 handicapper, and a scratch player.

I want to circle back on something I said earlier about statistics.  Looking at this report published a few years back:

https://mygolfspy.com/2016-report-overall-golfer-performance-by-handicap/

A scratch player averages 31.5 putts, a 21-25 handicapper takes 36.8.  So there's a score difference of 22 or 23 strokes, 5 strokes from putting, and the rest (17 strokes, close to 80% of the difference) from other reasons.  

And of course every shot counts the same, a 3 inch putt counts just the same as a drive.  Which one should you spend the effort trying to improve?  The same time and effort on each, since they each count the same?

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13 hours ago, LeftyRM7 said:


As a 20 handicap that makes a few pars a round, it’s fair to say that a pro could easily shoot par with my drives. Most people hit way more short game shots than long but the long also covers more yardage. Then where do you draw the line between short and long? Full swings? What if you don’t play full swings and hit mostly 3/4 and 1/2 shots. I think the argument on which is more important is so irrelevant to making anyone better. Every shot counts the same on the card!


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The line for me that differentiates short game and approach shots is one of the following:  30 yards and closer to the pin or a shift in swing pattern from short game pattern to full swing pattern.  3/4 & 1/2 swings are most likely a full swing pattern.  

I understand that each shot counts but there is significant data that putts a greater importance on full swings versus short game shots.  That said, I would believe that for a you, as a 20 handicap, that you either can't reach the green or you do but your approach shot places you in difficult situations.  For example, what would you score for 18 holes if you placed the ball 5 yards short of every green (playing 2 on a par 3, 3 on a par 4, and 4 on a par 5)?  What would you score if you place the ball directly in the middle of every green for 18 holes as if you hit the green in regulation?  Once you finish this game, tell me which part of the game has a greater influence on your score.  

 

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22 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

The reason that a really good player can shoot a decent scores with your drives is that a good player is HUGELY better than you are on longer shots.  He'll hit the green from 180 yards, you won't (most of the time).  Heck, that's the primary difference between me, as an 8 handicapper, and a scratch player.

I want to circle back on something I said earlier about statistics.  Looking at this report published a few years back:

https://mygolfspy.com/2016-report-overall-golfer-performance-by-handicap/

A scratch player averages 31.5 putts, a 21-25 handicapper takes 36.8.  So there's a score difference of 22 or 23 strokes, 5 strokes from putting, and the rest (17 strokes, close to 80% of the difference) from other reasons.  

And of course every shot counts the same, a 3 inch putt counts just the same as a drive.  Which one should you spend the effort trying to improve?  The same time and effort on each, since they each count the same?

Well said.  The low hanging fruit for most is almost always ball-control improvements (technique, alignment, or strategy) and eliminating bad 3-putts.  Unfortunately, our narrative comes from watching golf on tv versus watching golf from a statistical perspective.  Of course the players in contention are getting up and down.  It is easier to get up and down when you miss in the correct spots and only miss 3-4 greens per round in the week they win.  Remember, winners are routinely between 75-90% conversion when they are on average between 52-67%. Shots may count the same but they do not have equal weight or influence on your score.  

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The line for me that differentiates short game and approach shots is one of the following:  30 yards and closer to the pin or a shift in swing pattern from short game pattern to full swing pattern.  3/4 & 1/2 swings are most likely a full swing pattern.  
I understand that each shot counts but there is significant data that putts a greater importance on full swings versus short game shots.  That said, I would believe that for a you, as a 20 handicap, that you either can't reach the green or you do but your approach shot places you in difficult situations.  For example, what would you score for 18 holes if you placed the ball 5 yards short of every green (playing 2 on a par 3, 3 on a par 4, and 4 on a par 5)?  What would you score if you place the ball directly in the middle of every green for 18 holes as if you hit the green in regulation?  Once you finish this game, tell me which part of the game has a greater influence on your score.  
 

Ironically we’ve had this exact conversation before. Yes if I were to arbitrarily erase strokes off my game, by placing balls, I would score better. But to play hypotheticals, as I’ve said before, generally being center green vs just off the green makes very little difference in score. Statistically it changes everything. That’s the disconnect. So I could grind on full swing to hit better shots or work on putting to give myself better chances on the green. All equates to a single stroke gained or lost. What I’m saying is it all matters equally, and most of what the discussion is about is purely subjective to how the person saying/hearing it interprets it.


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