Monday, May 13, 2013

Understanding What You Need to Practice

I was talking to a fellow golfer the other day and he asked the question what he should practice the most on his driver or another part of the game.  I asked him why he thought it was important to practice with his driver.  He stated, so he could have more accuracy and keep the ball in the fairway to give him a chance to get to the green better.

I asked him how many drives do you hit in a round.  He thought about it and stated 18.  I explained to him that in reality you only hit 14 drives.  He asked, what happened to the other 4 drives.  I stated that those are par threes.  Most par threes for average golfers are only 150 yards or shorter, therefore, you wouldn't hit a driver.   He stated he never thought of that.

Then I got into percentages.  I stated that the higher percentage of practice should be based the higher percentage of shots that will be taken in the course of a round of golf. 

If par is 72 and you only hit 14 drives that is only 19% of your score.  Even if you hit 18 drives that is still only 25% of your score.  Putting is the highest percentage of your score in golf.  In 18 holes of golf the par for putting is 36, which is 50% of your score.   The remainder of your score after the tee shot is 25-31% depending on the number of drives you consider as 14 or 18.  So what is your area you want to practice most, drives or putts. 

With the information in previous paragraph, you want to spend most of your time on putting, then chipping and pitching and working on 150 yards in which will be at least 75% of your scoring.  Then the remainder of the practice you want to work on is your swing technique, tempo and yardage control.  The least amount of time should be spent on your driver. 

In the mathematical scheme of things, Drives are the only constant in the game.  You see, there only 14-18 holes to which you would probably hit your driver.  So you will not hit less than 14 and no more than 14 shots with your driver (not including par threes).  That is the only constant in the game.  You cannot go up or down it stays 14.  The rest of the game is what truly determines your score.  If you had a 400 yard hole and you hit a 1 iron 200 yards that gives you 200 yards left and you hit the 1 iron again.  You will either be on the green or close to the green depending on your accuracy.  So you have to either chip close and one putt or two putt for a par.  Any additional strokes is what makes your score add above par. 

With all this being stated above it comes down to the game of golf is a mathematical percentage that determines how close your score will be to par.  Mathematics determines what you need to work on and how you need to play the game.  The old saying of 10% skill and 90% mental is truly not an understatement.

I know that is a lot of math, but, I just wanted to get the point across that golfers should spend most of their time putting, chipping, and working on 150 yards and less into the green. 

The other practice should be on swing technique, tempo, and balance. Not smacking the driver over and over on the practice range. 

Until next time, go to the range and practice area with a purpose and your score on the course will get better........

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