What makes the players on tour really good? Well it can be broken down to many factors as to why they are good. Areas such as they practice a lot, they hit it a long ways and they are very consistent. Well these are things that the regular golfer probably doesn’t do. Most of us don’t have an abundance of time to practice, we don’t hit it as far as the players on the TV, and I can’t tell you how many times I hear from players they wish they could be more consistent. So maybe focusing on those 3 isn’t the best and fastest way to lower scores. Instead let us look at 3 areas on the golf course that the pro’s are really good at that we can implement easier.
The first area they are really good at is keeping the ball in play. They know where the trouble is and how to stay away from it. We can adopt this same approach to minimize the damage a penalty has on our score. What exactly does this mean though? It means being smart and not always taking the driver out on par 4’s and 5’s and not taking on too much risk. This means understanding what the hole is giving you such as where is the trouble and where is the safe zone. For example if you hit a driver on a hole and there is a chance your driver could go into a penalty if you hit it bad or even good then you shouldn’t be hitting the driver. Instead choose a club you are confident with such as a 6 or 7 iron and hit that. You have to make sure that the club you choose will not under any circumstances go into trouble even if you hit it bad or good. Now some people might say that giving up all the distance will make it difficult to score well but you have to remember that we aren’t always trying to score well but eliminate the big numbers. Big numbers on a scorecard won’t just make that hole a big score but will most definitely lead to other mistakes and big numbers as well. That is because our mood and emotions become more difficult to control. So when you come to a hole that has trouble on it remember these couple tips: play away from the trouble and choose a club that will keep you in play.
The second rule of scoring is NO 3 putts. How many times do you see a pro on tv 3 putt? Almost never. This is because they usually aren’t showing the players in the middle or bottom of the field who aren’t having the best of weeks. They are showing the players at the top of the leaderboard who are putting and playing well. The tour average for 2022 was 0.54 three putts per round. This means over the course of 4 tournament rounds they were three putting 1-2 times. Most amateurs will have more than that in the course of 18 holes. So how do we reduce the amount of three puts in a round? We do this by understanding a couple of things:
- Not all putts are going to go in so we shouldn’t be upset or disappointed when putts don’t go in.
- Be really good at 8 feet and in. This is where the winners on tv separate themselves from the rest of the field. We should be automatic at 3 feet and should make a handful of others in the 3-8 foot range. The problem with 3 foot putts is everyone knows we need to be good at them but it is rarely practiced.
- Learn to lag it close. When we are in a lag situation our goal should be to get it inside 10% of the overall putt length. This means on a 30 foot lag putt our goal would be to leave our next putt at 3 feet or closer. Focus on speed and leaving ourselves an easy next putt.
The third rule to scoring is get up and down. This is another area of the game that most amateurs don’t spend enough time practicing. Too many times I see players grabbing a club with too much loft or trying too hard to chip it to tap in range. Instead we should learn to simplify our chipping by getting the ball on the ground sooner rather than flying it to the hole. Secondly our goal with chipping should be to first get it on the green so we aren’t chipping again but also to get it inside of an 8 foot circle. Why 8 feet? If we spend a lot of our time on 8 feet and in putting we will be more efficient in that range which makes it easier to chip because we aren’t having to stick it within tap-in range but making our acceptable range bigger. This will reduce the pressure on the shot. This brings us back to being really good at putting and also understanding that even on the putts inside of 8 feet we are going to miss some and that is okay.
So the next time you are out practicing make sure to practice that short game and during your next round of golf try keeping the ball in play by choosing a shorter more confident club off the tee and playing away from trouble. If you follow these 3 rules to scoring you will see your scores improve.
Want to see how I can help you shoot your best rounds? Schedule a quick phone call with me to discuss your pathway to lower scores.