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How do you work on approach shots?


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How do you practice and improve your approach game?

I've been feeling relatively comfortable off the tee, and more often than not confident with the flat stick. But I couldn't tell you how many times I'm sitting in the middle of the fairway with 150-80 yds to the middle of the green and I miss green entirely. I'd love some tips and tricks of how you practice specifically approach shots.

I generally try to take the extra club as prescribed to mid to high handicappers like myself, but just the execution doesn't happen.

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You are talking about a 2-3

Club range and depending on how far you hit clubs you are in mid to potentially long iron range.

 

How to practice, go to the range and focus on hitting specific targets. You need to narrow the dispersion on the clubs you are hitting. Learn what you pattern is for all of you clubs so you can aim at the correct spot.

 

What are you trying to put the ball on the green? Why are you missing? Poor contact, ball is always long? Ball always short? What is your target? Do you know how wide of a dispersion pattern you have for those clubs and does the green accommodate that pattern?

 

If you can start answering those questions you can start working on the strategy to hit more greens and do better club selection.

 

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16 minutes ago, cnosil said:

You are talking about a 2-3

Club range and depending on how far you hit clubs you are in mid to potentially long iron range.

 

How to practice, go to the range and focus on hitting specific targets. You need to narrow the dispersion on the clubs you are hitting. Learn what you pattern is for all of you clubs so you can aim at the correct spot.

 

What are you trying to put the ball on the green? Why are you missing? Poor contact, ball is always long? Ball always short? What is your target? Do you know how wide of a dispersion pattern you have for those clubs and does the green accommodate that pattern?

 

If you can start answering those questions you can start working on the strategy to hit more greens and do better club selection.

 

C Nosil nailed it. You need to know your tendencies and play to them. Know where you don’t want to miss and adjust accordingly. On some greens and pin positions based on your tendencies.....40-50 feet away with a putt at birdie is a good shot. Hopefully you know how far you “carry” each club as that makes the above process much easier. I have nothing further to add. Good luck with your quest. 

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I'll second what @Cnosil and @Joen said.   If you are not hitting your irons well, a trip to see a local pro would also be beneficial.  The key to golf is a repeatable swing so you can play to that strength...so for example, if you know you are always going to fade the ball, then aim accordingly to take the fade into account.  While at the range, visualize a hole you've played and practice those approach shots to specific targets at the range.  Let us know how it goes!

 

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Range time it is!

Now that I say it, it's been a little while since I've really focused on my scoring clubs on the range. I guess that probably makes sense why I'm all over the place with them lol

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Right Handed

Driver (9°): :cobra-small: Speedzone (HZRDUS Smoke Green 70g X-Stiff shaft)

FW (15°): :callaway-logo-1: X2 Hot (Aldila Tour Green 75 Tx Stiff shaft)

Hybrid (18°): :tour-edge: Exotics EXS Pro (Evenflow Black 6.5) (2020 MGS Official Review here)

Irons (PW-4)  post-76102-0-38507100-1525284411_thumb.jpg TS-1's (KBS $-Taper 120g Stiff shafts)

Wedges (50°, 54° & 58°) post-76102-0-38507100-1525284411_thumb.jpg TSW Forged (Dynamic Gold S300)

Putter: :EVNROLL: ER2B (2019 MGS Official Review here)

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I spend most of my time at the range working the wedges and mid irons (long irons don't get as much love because I don't need them as much on the courses I play). I like to pick a variety of targets and try to hit them with different trajectories and different clubs. My biggest struggle currently is that my impact position simply isn't optimal. I can get there during a long range session where I'm constantly hitting an iron or wedge, but to go driver, iron/wedge, putter, driver iron/wedge, putter on the course from a variety of lies makes getting that optimal impact position difficult. It's just something I have to continue grinding on at the range (and at the course during practice rounds) until it becomes natural.

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I wouldn't overlook the mental side of this as well. I tend to struggle from the middle of the fairway because I put more subconscious pressure on myself. Ends up with my swing getting tight, and I often fade the ball off to the right or come up short but on line.

Are you seeing the same types of misses when you're in a little worse shape off the tee? I typically find that my best contacted irons are those that don't have the pressure of hitting the green, like punch outs and wedges back to the fairway when I have no other (sane) options available. They're literally "no pressure" type of shots because my expectations/anxieties are lowered.

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1 minute ago, edingc said:

I wouldn't overlook the mental side of this as well. I tend to struggle from the middle of the fairway because I put more subconscious pressure on myself. Ends up with my swing getting tight, and I often fade the ball off to the right or come up short but on line.

Are you seeing the same types of misses when you're in a little worse shape off the tee? I typically find that my best contacted irons are those that don't have the pressure of hitting the green, like punch outs and wedges back to the fairway when I have no other (sane) options available. They're literally "no pressure" type of shots because my expectations/anxieties are lowered.

I'm definitely in the same boat as you on this one. And it's almost the worst after I set myself up with a good drive. Start hearing those birds chirp and then...chunky monkey

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Hybrid (18°): :tour-edge: Exotics EXS Pro (Evenflow Black 6.5) (2020 MGS Official Review here)

Irons (PW-4)  post-76102-0-38507100-1525284411_thumb.jpg TS-1's (KBS $-Taper 120g Stiff shafts)

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Try this...rather than taking a full swing for max distance, club up and take a more controlled 3/4 swing.  I think you'll find yourself hitting the ball cleaner with crisp contract, plenty of spin, and better distance/trajectory control.

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I'm notoriously bad as it relates to a habitual lack of practice.

But once upon a time, I practiced hard. One thing that helped me greatly with touch was when I'd routinely try to hit my 160 yard, 150 yard and 140 yard clubs to the 100 yard green.

This type of practice segued beautifully toward helping me realize more touch and a smoother approach for 3/4 and 1/2 swing wedges too.

Partial swings soon became my preferred shot selection for 100 yards in. And when my full swing feels a bit loose, I'll still revert to clubbing up with less than full swings for longer yardages.

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I'll definitely have to give that a go at the range as well. I'm basically full swinging every shot until I'm close to the green.

Thanks for the tips!

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Right Handed

Driver (9°): :cobra-small: Speedzone (HZRDUS Smoke Green 70g X-Stiff shaft)

FW (15°): :callaway-logo-1: X2 Hot (Aldila Tour Green 75 Tx Stiff shaft)

Hybrid (18°): :tour-edge: Exotics EXS Pro (Evenflow Black 6.5) (2020 MGS Official Review here)

Irons (PW-4)  post-76102-0-38507100-1525284411_thumb.jpg TS-1's (KBS $-Taper 120g Stiff shafts)

Wedges (50°, 54° & 58°) post-76102-0-38507100-1525284411_thumb.jpg TSW Forged (Dynamic Gold S300)

Putter: :EVNROLL: ER2B (2019 MGS Official Review here)

Ball: :Snell: MTB-Black OR MAXFLI Tour OR TP5X

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On 8/28/2019 at 10:26 PM, ncwoz said:

I generally try to take the extra club as prescribed to mid to high handicappers like myself, but just the execution doesn't happen.

Been there, done that! In fact.. Still "there"... 😵

My (fellow high handicapper) Tip #1: use the BACK of the green yardage .. and still add a club .. and aim to the middle (or "fat part") of the green .. and swing smoothly and confidently.

My tip #2 is consider laying up if the long approach looks treacherous.

My tip #3: focus on the process of executing the shot and NOT on the (potential future) outcome of it.

As far as practicing approach shots.... 

I'm fortunate to have a few different Par 3 courses near me, which are each more than a pitch & putt and where holes vary from 65 to 160 yds, and I find these to be really great iron and wedge practice.

You're working on controlling distances, maybe factoring in winds, you're working on your aim and alignment .. and learning your dispersion tendencies ..  and you're quite literally teaching yourself to start hitting greens / else scramble to make an up & down!

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17 hours ago, Will_Mac said:

I'm notoriously bad as it relates to a habitual lack of practice.

But once upon a time, I practiced hard. One thing that helped me greatly with touch was when I'd routinely try to hit my 160 yard, 150 yard and 140 yard clubs to the 100 yard green.

This type of practice segued beautifully toward helping me realize more touch and a smoother approach for 3/4 and 1/2 swing wedges too.

Partial swings soon became my preferred shot selection for 100 yards in. And when my full swing feels a bit loose, I'll still revert to clubbing up with less than full swings for longer yardages.

 

I've done this too.  It helps you learn to swing the club within yourself and not overswing which may be part of the reason why you don't hit greens too.  I usually choose the 75 yard target and hit my sw, pw, 8i and 5i's to that green working on small punch shots too.  I also use that as an intermediate target to one that's further out, making sure when I do hit a full iron shot that it starts along the same target line.  Sometimes it easier to break up your line into smaller targets so you can figure out what may be going wrong.

 

MDGolfHacker

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What's In This Lefty's Bag?

Driver: :cobra-small: F8 9.5° Project X Even Flow Blue 65g shaft 

Fairway Woods: :cobra-small: F8 3W Project X Even Flow Blue 75g shaft

Fairway Woods: :cobra-small: F8 5W Project X Even Flow Blue 75g shaft

Hybrid: :titelist-small: 816H2 19°

Irons: :mizuno-small: MP-20 SEL Project X 5.5 shafts 5-PW

           :mizuno-small: MP-20 HMB Project X 5.5 shaft 4 Iron

Wedge: :cleveland-small: Tour Satin RTX 4 Wedges in 52° and 56° 2 Dot

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Some really good tips in here that i will also consider using. My current GIR stats are hovering around the 15-20% range which I atleast need to be doubling to increase my chances of better scoring.

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Try this...rather than taking a full swing for max distance, club up and take a more controlled 3/4 swing.  I think you'll find yourself hitting the ball cleaner with crisp contract, plenty of spin, and better distance/trajectory control.

A lot of wisdom here. I do this all of the time now - it's a more controlled swing.


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