Scoring. That’s what the game is about.
As the adage states, “It’s not how, it’s how many.”
Stats Don’t Lie
With more than 65% of golf shots coming within 100 yards, it would stand to reason that players would spend more than two thirds of their time practicing those shots. Tour professionals do. But in most cases, average golfers spend a bulk of time hitting drivers, hybrids or their favorite irons.
When you consider that statistic, it becomes clear that a plan of attack to improve scoring must include a heavy dose of shots inside 100 yards.
Proper Practice Plan
Here’s how to begin. Develop a practice plan that incorporates one range day where you only hit shots of 100, 75 and 50 yards. Limit your shots to 10 or 15 balls to each target so each shot is meaningful (just like if you were on the course). As I say to my players and students, “This isn’t cardio.”
Start at the 100 yard target. Then fire at that same target with one more club. For instance, if your 100-yard club is a 52 degree, then hit a PW the next time to that same target. When hitting the longer club, concentrate on a slightly shorter backswing, good swing pace and full follow through. Even choke up a bit to maintain good distance control. Throughout the session, make sure you focus on good tempo. This will build consistency and repeatability in these scoring shots.
Get Comfortable with the Uncomfortable
I’ve had players tell me that those shorter shots are often an “uncomfortable distance” because it’s not a full swing and they can be played in a variety of ways. That’s correct.
The purpose of practicing shots at these distances is twofold: 1) To improve consistency from those ranges (often to ensure a birdie or save a par) and 2) To increase your number of shot options from scoring distances.
Again, watch what the best in the world do. They will confidently pitch out after a poor drive or lay up to a distance they know they can score from. And more often than not, they get up and down.
And here’s another benefit of working on these distances: when you are comfortable from inside 100 yards, your confidence level improves all the way back to the tee. So dedicate one day of your practice routine on the range and spend time on shots inside 100 yards before spending more money on another driver.
Next up, we’ll keep working on improved scoring with putting tips and strategy.