Getting Around the Course

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By Tim E

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  • 13 Replies
  1. I saw a discussion on the twitter the other night and it got me thinking. Sorry I don't remember who posted it, but the thought was... if most mid-handicappers played to the middle of the green and used the yardage to the back of the green on approach shots their scores would drop.

    I think the basic idea was most mid-handicappers miss is short as they over estimate their carry distance on their irons.

    It just got me thinking, is there anything any of you guys look at differently than conventional thinking to help get you through the course?

    I think I basically do a small version of this. I usually take the yardage to the pin and and go up a club from what I think I hit that distance.

    Any other small tips or thoughts to help a guy look at things differently?

  2. Sextg01

    swampscott, MA

    I see guys try to play the exact yardage all the time and because they do not really know their yardages, often come up short or fly the green all together.
    That being said I play to the middle of the green most often. If its a really dry course sometimes Ill go with the land short and let it run method taking all conditions into consideration, and if its a wet course play it one club more.
    I do have decent spin ability/control with my Vokey and ProV1 combo so if Im 100 or so out a nice smooth 53 degree will put me in good shape. Anything less than 80 is the 56 degree and I really only take my 60 out for the round if its a course that I know warrants it. I think the biggest obstacle for the mid handicapper is the lack of practice, and the thought they are better or longer than reality. Also the adjustments some make for slope, wind, etc etc dont always add up in my mind either. Like no matter how uphill a shot is some will just add 10 or 15 or even 20 yards to their shot and then wonder why their ball is closer to the next tee box than the green.
    All that being said and perhaps off topic I try to play center of the green 85 percent of the time I would say and based off course and weather conditions do i club up or down on the approach!
  3. Dale V

    Dale V
    Escondido, CA

    I factor in where is the trouble? Where is it easiest to get up-and-down? I usually don't hit many greens but i am pretty good at keeping the doubles off the scorecard by playing very conservatively. Some courses are impossible to get up-and-down from the back so using your philosophy might not be best for every situation. That said, agree that most high handicappers do under-club. Worse, they try to play the impossible recovery shot from rough or over water. Pitch it out and take your bogey. maybe you one-putt for par.
  4. I agree with both of you, I usually forget where the pin is and go for middle of the green, while trying to be sure my miss would be to a safe spot.

    When I say play yardage to the back I just mean use that yardage when picking a club, not necessarily trying to get it to the back. I know many guys (me too) can over estimate their yardages. ex. The pin is 145 out but the back of green is 160. There is a good chance the club they think they hit 160 actually goes 145.

    They once hit their X iron 160 but average 145 with it. Then they never figure out why they are always short when hitting it to a pin 160 yards away. Just because you did it once, doesn't mean it will become the norm.
  5. I (as a midish handicapper) often play to the back of the green for a centred pin or middle for a front pin ect. That said if there isn’t much trouble short and pin is at the front then I’ll take the pin on especially summer time when even if you land short you can get an extra bounce or two to get close.
    Wind/slope is my biggest downfall when calculating shots and I’ve definitely found picking the longest possible yardage and hitting a club with a maximum distance of that to have helped lower my scores than pin seeking too much. But there are quite a few caveats to that theory. Definitely suggest it’s Worth giving it a go on a practice round or two though.
  6. Madhatter


    Many many years ago a wise old man said to me "play the shot you know you can play, not the one you would like to be able to play" , as true today as it was when I was a young 14 year old starting out in this wonderful game of ours.

  7. Frank P

    Frank P
    Port St. Lucie, FL

    I remember a great comment I heard on a golf telecast some years ago. When a commentator was asked to reply to a viewers question on how to spin the ball back on an approach shot to the green. " Why would an amateur want to spin the ball back, when every one that I ever play with is short of the hole to begin with."
  8. Jerry M

    Jerry M
    Dallas, TX

    This is a great topic for everyone who plays. I like the fact were focusing on mid-handicappers. Most of us are usually short of the green. I know I am on occasions. The past couple of years, I've tried to hit one more club because often I don't make solid contact. It so far has helped me well. A friend of mine told me quite some time ago. Try to take bogey, or double bogey out of the equation. I know that has been mentioned previously in this topic.

    On a side note, I will often sit in the grill, which has floor to ceiling windows and faces the 18th green (par 5) It is amazing how many people come up 10-15 yards short of the green. One day I saw 3 foursomes hit their approach shot. I remember only 1 hit the green. Everyone else was short.
  9. Dave H

    Dave H
    Puyallup, WA

    I started last year to target the center of the green and club up. The results have been outstanding. Instead of trying to get it near a 4" hole I'm now trying to get close to the center of a 6000 sq ft green. I'm more relax and able to swing more freely.
  10. Chuck Z

    Chuck Z
    Mt Pleasant, SC

    Dave H said:

    I started last year to target the center of the green and club up. The results have been outstanding. Instead of trying to get it near a 4" hole I'm now trying to get close to the center of a 6000 sq ft green. I'm more relax and able to swing more freely.

    I play on an old school course that was built in 1929. We play on nickel and dime greens. We do not have the luxury of aiming a greens that big, so when we go to other courses our main concern is being able to putt on large greens. My percentage is pretty high on hitting greens on our mini greens and even higher on other courses. Have to work on putting strokes away from our course. Can't wait until we get our new greens over the winter. Tired of greens that run at best a 7. If is good when you are retired and all you have to worry about is how many days you are going to play golf in a week. Does not matter to me as long as it ends in DAY. =)
  11. Chuck Z

    Chuck Z
    Mt Pleasant, SC

    I am dialed in pretty well on my yardages, if I strike the club correctly. If I am off a little, come up short, am off left or right of the pin, that is off the green, hey I have been known to putt pretty good with my nine iron and get the ball pretty close to the pin for an easy tap in for a par or on some days even make a birdie or two with that nine iron. Know the yardage and how to recover. Eliminate those doubles and bogies. That is what I am working on this year. My handicap has dropped six strokes since November. Yes, I have been taking lessons. See you local teaching pro.
  12. For me, I factor in the spots that will cause me to make worse than a par. If the pin is tucked a few paces over the lone bunker or lone trouble area on the left hand side of the green, then me taking dead aim could cause me to make worse than a par. If I aim for right center of the green, I can get a par after a 2 putt. If I do hit a bad shot and miss right, I still have plenty of green to work with to potentially get up and down. Worst case scenario, I will 3 putt or 2 putt after a missed GIR. Walk away no worse than a bogey. Of course, there are a ton of factors that go into this decision. If I have been dialed in with my distances, I may take on the risk of taking dead aim.
  13. Keith M

    Keith M
    Acworth, GA

    Rangefinders have probably shaved 3-5 strokes off my game. Being at the 150 yard marker and finding out it's only 137 or 163, depending on pin placement or angle and knowing what club is the right one cuts down on a lot of the mistakes.

    But being a mid-ish handicapper, every once and a while a mishit could send that thing blazing in a direction you don't want it. It also helps that 95% of the time I'm playing at my local club with lightning fast greens and if I'm below the hole that's the best play.

    Don't underestimate local knowledge. Middle of the green can sometimes be the worst place to be.
  14. I aim for the middle of the green and then try to hit a cut or a draw depending on hole location.

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