Where would you concentrate your practice/improvement?

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By msalejandro1201

  • 21 Replies
  1. msalejandro1201

    Hampton, VA

    I played in a 2 day amtour tournament this past weekend. Realized that my driving and putting were pretty good and didn't really fail me. I hit almost all fairways, and both rounds, my putting was under 36. Pitching and chipping saved me, which allowed me to scramble and one putt.

    My playing partner was saying since his surgery, he has been healing up and has lost his consistency with his long/mid irons, so he focused on short game to try and recoup. His short game is really strong. Personally, I think I should focus on mid/long game, because I think that's where my real weakness is.

    So my question is, where would you focus your practice/improvement? Mid game (long irons, second shots, approach) or short game (greenside pitching/chipping, 100yds and in)?

    What do you suggest?

  2. Gary D

    Gary D
    Cranston, RI

    100 yds and in is where the game is played. Add up your strokes in a round and you'll discover that over half your strokes are inside 100 yds. I spend 50% of my time on full swing practice and 50% of my time on chipping, pitching, and lag putting. Don't know why but I've never met anyone but myself that practices lag putting from long distance. Its a skill that pays benefits.
  3. Chipping and pitching is definitely a must practice, thats my favorite part of my game to practice and it has definitely payed off.
  4. Barry B

    Barry B
    Lake St Louis, MO

    Work on what you perceive to be a weakness, but don't stop working on your strengths also. Maybe look at a 60/40 ratio to start and adjust as required to get all parts of your game at the same level.
  5. Gabriel G

    Gabriel G
    Cedar Park, TX

    The first thing that pops into my mind is your short game. When I reconsider the same answer comes up. Practice your short game, chipping and putting. When I play tournaments I always walk away thinking "if I could have made more putts."
  6. Chris R

    Chris R
    Madison, MS

    You will use your putter on every single hole, unless you hit that miracle shot. So go with the putter. Having said that it is easier to make a 3 foot putt than to make a 20 foot putt, so I practice alot on the long/mid irons. Also wedges, wedges, wedges.
  7. Speedy

    Newmarket, NH

    I have to agree with Gabriel. Played in tournament over the weekend and putting killed my score.. 38 putts, yeah not good and it's been like that so far this year... I need to put in more time on the putting green and chipping...
  8. Cole W

    Cole W
    Windermere, FL

    100 yards in for sure, if you can cut down your proximity to the hole from that distance you have a better opportunity to make more puts which lead to more birdies and par saves! If you feel that you are driving and putting well thats the next logical place to spend some time.
  9. Short game is almost always the obvious answer to improved scoring, but what exactly to focus most of your time on that varies from one player to another. For putting, I personally spend about 70% of my time on the practice green trying it improve my make % inside of 5 feet, which is where most of us amateurs will lose a lot of strokes. Agree with Gary D that lag putting is important, but even a terrible putter should be able to putt it to 5 feet. For your mid/long irons, have you ever tried playing middle/back green yardage? This is something I started doing earlier this year and it's done wonders for my GIR, especially with the 4-7 irons.

    Also, download one of the stat tracking apps like "My Golfgame Book" and keep track of your drive and putts. It give amazing stats that may shed more light on what exactly to work on to improve scoring. Cheers!
  10. Dino J

    Dino J
    Burnaby, BC

    Hi msalejandro ... I am going to be a bit of a contrarian here and suggest that you are correct about looking to improve your approach game (ie: "iron play").

    Please don't get me wrong though, you still need a good short game to fall back on when your iron play is "not up to snuff" and being the best iron player in the world is not worth very much if a player cannot consistently make putts within 10ft. or so!

    Here's the rationale behind the contrarian opinion:

    The key to scoring well means hitting more greens in regulation (GIR) and your "proximity to the hole" with your approach shots. Typically, but not always, when a player has a good round, one can often see that their GIR's have been pretty good and that they have putted reasonably well.

    The basis for this is that as a player, statistically speaking, a player is more likely to sink a 5 foot putt than a 10 foot putt. The same holds true for the 10 foot putt vs. the 20 foot putt - and so on and so forth.

    Improving your iron play so that you can hit the green more regularly and improving your proximity to the hole means that you are going to be putting from spots where you have better odds of sinking the putt or in essence "one-putting". If you two putt, then the result is "par".

    Of course, if your putting goes sour, and it sometimes does for every player sometime, then the advantage or benefit of good iron play is muted. So that is why a player must still putt reasonably well.

    But, iron play improvements become the key to improving your scores -- after all, it is not feasible to expect to build a game around 18 missed greens, but have 18 - "up and downs" to save par.

  11. Todd T

    Todd T
    San Diego, CA

    Short game and always end with putting!
  12. I think driving it in the fairway is important and working on 100 yards and in along with greenside play. I don't play a lot of courses where I need to be at the top of my game with long irons. But improving my wedge game, particularly around the green, have drastically improved my scores.
  13. Joey L

    Joey L
    Youngsville, LA

    Definitely short game(chipping, putting,100 yds in). This is where creativity turns into reality. This is where you will set yourself apart from your opponent. If you can make this the best part of your game, you will see your scores go down
  14. Darryl M

    Darryl M
    Wichita, KS

    I say short game.................................................

    I took lessons with a Master Instructor this off season to improve ball striking with my irons. IT WAS AWESOME, now my driver is suffering as I keep trying to impose my iron backswing into the drivers swings. Now it's right side miss, left side miss. I used to miss right 37% of the time & 16% left. Now it's almost even & now I miss most fairways (down from 44% to 27%) My short game is solid my putts are at 29.6 a round I can get up & down 43% of the time so short game is good.

    My DRIVING IS TERRIBLE and today I went & hit 100 chips & putted them all out and plan on working on short game later this week.. I only hit 14 drives a round, but scoring shots are the majority of your shots.

    Putting & chipping are the ones that save the round from disaster most of the time.

    In my opinion though.
  15. msalejandro1201

    Hampton, VA

    Why I should your driver swing any different from your iron swing?

    Has your game gotten better since your lesson overall?
  16. I personally believe that hitting GIRs is the easiest recipe for low scores. However, iron play tends to be a weakness in my game as well. It is far and away the one thing I would like to improve this year. That being said, if you don't have a quality short game, then your scores will suffer. I personally divide my practice into three parts(range time, putting and chipping). I usually try to keep short game at 50% of my total time and range the other 50%. Of the short game time, I try to spend 60% putting and 40% chipping. That seems to work best for me. If you can focus on getting your irons under control and mind your misses, coupled with a solid short game, you will be in terrific shape for the season. Hope this helps! Enjoy your season!
  17. Chuck Z

    Chuck Z
    Mt Pleasant, SC

    Definitely short, game inside 100 yards. Those 70 yard shots have been killing me. Putting could use a little tuning. Think bottom of cup and listen for it to go in.
  18. Amanda S

    Amanda S

    Having a feel around the green. I chip it too far or not far enough and putting well that needs a miracle.
  19. Hotsauce

    Georgetown MA

    Obviously short game will make or break you. Don't neglect short game to work on something else.
    That said, if you're less than 36 putts, but you're only hitting 50% of greens I would say practice a bit more on your approach shots- specifically the ones you miss greens on.
    If you're hitting a lot of greens and still not scoring, think about your proximity to the hole. Being front right on a back left pin is probably the same as a missed green in reality. If you can get your approach shots a bit tighter to the hole, you'll be 1 putting birdies instead of scrambling for pars all round.
  20. Christian J

    Christian J

    This is going to be a little contrarian as well but I'm curious what you average distance to the hole was after your tee shot was? I ask that because I have taken on the 'bomb and gauge' approach recently and dramatically improved my scores thinking about the game differently. I would highly recommend reading Mark Broadie and understanding the strokes gained method he developed.

    I played with someone last year in a tournament and he hit irons off of every tee, even par 5s - his rationale being I am a better long iron player than I am driver of the ball. That may be true but I guaranteed him that he has a higher % of hitting the green with a 9i than a 4i and the proximity to the hole after both shots will skew much closer with the 9i. Small sample size but I made him hit driver on the last hole of the day (a par 5) and he made birdie after hitting his next shot around the green with a long iron - even after missing the fairway!

    I have focused heavily the last two years on my driver to the point that I hit it on every hole possible. Golf announcers always talk about laying up to your perfect yardage but the stats and science say the perfect yardage is the one closest to the hole. For example, I will hit the green 9/10 from 50 yds and maybe 7 or 8 out of 10 from 100 yds. Let's say that number goes to 5/10 from 150 yds. Related to that is my proximity to the hole. PGA tour players make 20ft putts 13% of the time and 10ft putts 39% of the time. Go back to 35ft and they will 3 putt 2% of the time. From 60 ft that 3 putt % increases to 21%.

    I like my chances to get inside 20ft from 50 yds better than I do from 100 yds and much much better than from 150 yds meaning if I can hit my driver (regardless of fairway or rough) inside 100 yds on every hole, I should have no problem walking away with par. You look at a player like Dustin Johnson, he is so long and so straight, he is able to have higher probabilities of birdie based off of his driving alone. There was much to do about his proximity from 125 and in recently but the truth is he has 125 and in more than most players and is more often than not in the fairway.

    Long story short - work on your driver confidence and getting as close to the hole as possible on each shot (no laying up). I guarantee even a mediocre iron player will have more success doing this than focusing solely on shots 100yds and in. I hope this gives you pause and makes you think a bit different about your game. It's changed mine for the better and I know it will change yours as well!
  21. Edward K

    Edward K
    Wesley Chapel, FL

    Try this on for size!

    1. When practicing chipping, don't leave until you make 1 or more.
    2. Bunkers, don't leave until you make one.

    You'll become more target oriented instead of just getting it on the green, or close.

    On the wedges, you need a circle (6', 8', 10') around the hole, start at 30 yards out, then move out as you progress. Simplifying your target will help you dial it in. I was once a +4-5, and it certainly wasn't due to my ball striking......Short game all day long.......It don't care what anyone says, it's HARD work getting good at this game. There are no "naturals"......
  22. msalejandro1201

    Hampton, VA

    Yeah. After working on my irons and getting good impact, i shot an 87 at my home course. I

    Short game is absolutely important. But for me initially it was getting the ball close to the green that was the problem. At least now I'm chipping on for 3 or 4 shot instead of 4 or 5 shot. Then chip up and putt for par or bogey. So I'm actually giving myself a chance now. Iron striking was important for me.

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