Is there is anything more exciting than playing the golf round of your life; you know the round where you hit it straighter than usual, hole more putts than usual, and write down a lower golf score than usual? Now that is fun! And wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could produce more of these magical rounds of golf? Well you can but you’re going to have to change a couple of your habits to make it happen.
Firstly let’s clear the air about some of those habits that you have. I’m not talking about golf swing habits here; I’m talking about your motivation to buy a better golf game. Yes I know you’ve heard it all before. But seriously, a putter with a name on it doesn’t make it a better putter, just a more expensive one.
And a different coloured driver head doesn’t translate into longer tee-shots. Sure, in the motoring world a red Ferrari will go faster than a red Hyundai but they will both get you from A to B. One ride is just more expensive than the other.
In this post I’m not debating about whether one brand is better than another, what I am going to share with you is that one type of golf shot is a lot more valuable than another type of golf shot. And by spending more time mastering this golf shot, you will lower your high golf score average into a lower one and have a lot more fun doing it.
Did you know that the best golfers in the world hit on average about 67 percent of their approach irons onto the green and drive the ball into the fairway about 65 percent of the time?
The one factor that defines the level of their competitive performance is how effective they are at producing consistently low golf scores. And as much as it is important to hit full golf shots solidly and consistently, compared to the short-game there is no comparison. The short-game rules!
"And as much as it is important to hit full golf shots solidly and consistently, compared to the short-game there is no comparison. The short-game rules!"
When you look at the statistics of tour players-two statistics stand out; how far they hit it from the hole from within 100 yards (Proximity to hole) and how many putts they have (Scrambling). Successful tour golfers are exceptional with a wedge in their hand from within 100 yards, and are also great putters from within 16 feet of the hole.
So why should it be different for you? If you hit your wedges closer to the hole you will have a lower score average regardless of the type of putter you’re using.
The probability of holing putts is increased the closer to the hole you hit your shot. Not rocket science I know, but in my experience definitely the key performance factor that will drive your high score average down and the one overlooked the most when golfers are striving for improvement.
To lower you high score average you need to improve your wedge and putt conversion average. So for all the brave golfers reading this that want to genuinely lower their high score average, the following four strategies will help you to improve this critical to performance skill set.
1. Learn to hit wedge shots with a much shorter arm swing
When you hit shots within 100 yards of the green control the length of your arm swing so that you never swing your hands higher than your trailing shoulder. (Opposite to target side shoulder) I call this the ‘Green Zone’ and it is a simple and straightforward guideline for keeping your arm-swing between your hips and shoulders on the back-swing.
2. Always complete the finish of your stroke
Fold your arms over your shoulder on all shots within 100 yards. In other words complete the finish of your stroke. Finishing the stroke ensures that you generate momentum so that there is very little de-acceleration through impact. I call it a short-long stroke which means a short and compact back-swing and a long follow-through.
3. Aim for solid contact First and direction Second
The key is to develop a shorter and compact stroke that hits the ball more out of the center of the club-face first. Then you can work on your accuracy. You’d be surprised how many golfers don’t hit the green when they play from within 100 yards.
4. Use The Wedge Chart to Focus on controlling your wedge distances
I developed a really simple table to help you to improve your expectations of hitting your approach wedge shots in relation to the hole. The following table has three categories of golfer;
I have never met a golfer who couldn’t lower their golf score average by hitting their approach wedges closer to the hole. Set yourself a goal over the next 12 weeks to focus sixty percent of your available practice time to work on the four wedge success strategies and you will discover that the closer that you hit your golf shots to the hole the more putts you’ll make leading to lowering your high golf score average.
Lawrie Montague and David Milne