In our last article we shared with you the 3 shot window which is the zone that world class golfers score within. The idea behind this is that by getting your seasonal score average down to between 69 and 71 you will make more than 60 percent of cuts in a season, which gives you the opportunity to get paid at least 60 percent of the time in the tournaments you play in.
But it is easier said than done isn’t it?
Yes, there’s no doubt that scoring this low over a season is an outstanding ability, but it’s certainly not outside the realms of possibility, because there are many golfers who can already do it right?
In our experience we find that the reason the great majority of professionals don’t score this low is because they work on their game at the wrong end of the golf performance spectrum.
What I mean is that they work on elements within their game to improve the way they play, without always knowing what their target score average needs to be.
They look at their stats, but not the most important one—their competitive score average.
And that’s a big problem because it often leads to what we call the “somehow and in some way I’ll make it” approach to golf improvement.
What we believe is a far better and more common-sense way for elite amateurs and professional golfers to develop their game to a world class standard is to start at the score end and work backwards.
So let’s look at it this way.
Since the par of most of the golf courses you will play in professional tournaments will be either par 70, 71 or 72, basically what you are aiming to do is score around 70 for the season.
You will hear golfers and experts alike tell you that you shouldn't think about your score during a round, as this focuses too much on the result or outcome, and not enough on the process.
Fair enough, but as much as we understand the reasoning behind this, it makes little sense if you want to become a world class golfer.
Why you ask?
It makes no sense to work hard at your game for thousands of hours to try and become a world class golfer if you don’t know the target score you should aim for.
In other words, how do you develop your game to a very high standard if you never truly define the standard to start with?
Remember the “somehow and in some way approach?”
It doesn’t work!
In almost every athletic endeavor you define the time, or standard to be achieved, first and foremost.
If you want to be a world class swimmer, sprinter, or marathon runner, you need to know the times that you will need to produce to be world class, and this is no different for golfers.
Golfers should define the score average first.
We firmly believe that much of the mental anguish experienced by elite golfers is primarily because they employ the “somehow and in some way approach,” as opposed to defining the specific target score they need, and then going after it.
Do not 'hope' to be a world class golfer, establish your score target first, and then work out what you and your instructor need to do to develop your game to this standard.
Irrespective of how you go about developing your game to world class standard, there’s something we have identified with world class golfers that will help you greatly.
World class golfers who score around 70 for a season will make around 12 pars, 4 birdies and 2 bogeys on average.
We call this the Golf Success Code 12-4-2, and this is what you must aim for.
Cracking the Golf Success Code
Basically you need to develop your golf game to the standard where you will produce on average 12 pars, 4 birdies, and you make no more than 2 bogeys per round on any golf course you play.
This is the world class tournament standard.
Now you might be thinking to yourself that you can already make 12 pars in tournaments, (because many elite golfers can do this), and you will have rounds where you make at least 4 birdies, however the real challenge is averaging 4 birdies and just 2 bogeys each round.
So how do you do this?
The key is for you to think about how you make the bulk of your pars in every round. I’m sure you would agree that most of your pars in each round will come from your tee to green effort.
You make most of your pars in a round by hitting enough greens in regulation.
The tee to green tournament standard you need to aim for is to average 8 to 10 fairways per round, and 11 to 13 greens in regulation.
Assuming that you rarely 3 putt, you will make around 10 to 12 pars per round with this tee to green standard.
For producing 4 or more birdies on average per round—outside of making the occasional birdie by hitting 11 to 13 greens in regulation, you will make the majority of your birdies on par 5 holes.
Depending on the average length of your tee-shot, this will get down to your approach wedge and greenside skills ability within 100 yards of the pin.
Golfers who hit their tee-shots in the 270 to 290 yards or longer range will be able to reach many par 5 holes in 2 shots, thus increasing the probability of making more birdies on par 5 holes.
But what if you are not in this long-hitting class but you still need to make enough birdies in each round to meet the birdie quota?
What are you are going to do?
You will have to be a first class approach wedge specialist.
If you hit your tee-shots in the 250 to 270 yards or shorter range, you are going to be hitting many of your approach wedge shots from 40 to 120 yards to the pin.
So you will need to hit your wedge shots with excellent distance control and accuracy to increase your probability of converting many of your wedge shots into birdies.
The skill set you need to develop is to make a minimum of 2 birdies for every 4 par 5 holes you play.
In other words you will need to birdie at least 50 percent of the par 5 holes you play over a season.
It is possible that you will make another birdie or 2 on the par 4 holes each round, and maybe the occasional birdie will also be made on par 3 holes.
But most of your birdies will come from the par 5's.
Finally keeping bogeys down to just 2 per round or less will require that you are exceptionally skilled within 30 yards of the edge of the green, including shots from greenside bunkers.
When you miss greens in regulation you will need to be able to scramble your ball from all types of grass and sand lies, and you need to develop the ability to hit your ball to within 10 feet of the pin at least 80 percent of the time.
You will also need to be able to make between 50 and 100 percent of your putts within this range to keep your bogeys down to a minimum. This will mean that you will have to become an exceptional putter from 3 feet to 10 feet over a season.
From good lies around the green you will need to get your ball within 6 feet of the pin most of the time, and from poor lies to within 10 to 12 feet of the pin.
The best golfers in the world perform to this standard consistently, and that is the main reason they can score as low as they do.
The 12-4-2 score code model will help you to dissect each area of your game, and it will help motivate you to spend the necessary time to upgrade your weaker skills to the standards we have described.
Every time you play a round—whether in practice or during a tournament, write down your full score code rather than just your score for 18 holes.
How many pars, birdies, bogeys and worse did you have, write it down, and then analyse how you produced it.
You will find this easier to do by breaking your game up into 4 units. At Pro Tour Golf College all our training is aimed at improving the following 4 units.
1. Tee to Green Skills
2. Approach Wedge Skills
3. Greenside Skills
4. Putting Skills
By writing down your full golf score code you will gain a better understanding of what you need to improve in your game to lower your score average into the world class golf score zone.
And we think it’s important for you to remember that all the excellent golfers who have made it into the top 100 ranked golfers were once where you are now, and they found their way to score between 69 and 71 on average.
That is the world class golf score zone that will help you to make many more cuts than you miss, and more money than you could probably spend in your lifetime.
We wish you the very best with your efforts to join the top 100 golfers who play in the world class golf score zone.
Lawrie Montague and David Milne - Pro Tour Golf College
Your Success On Tour is Our Business