Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Needs to Improve -- Long Game over Short
If you're out grinding on the putting green for hours while those range balls sit lonely on that green mat, you might be doing something wrong.
According to a study by Columbia University professor Mark Broadie, the biggest difference in a low-handicapper and high-handicapper is all the shots leading to 100-yards and in.
It is the long game that proves to be the biggest factor when examining the difference in scores between pros and amateurs and even between low- and high-handicap amateurs. If, for example, a PGA Tour player were available to hit shots for an amateur from 100 yards and in, or available to hit all the shots leading to the 100-yard mark, Broadie says the amateur would benefit the most from having the PGA player hit the long shots, not the short ones.
It is often said that 60 to 65 percent of all shots are struck within 100 yards of the hole. Broadie agreed but noted that if you take out “gimme” putts of two and a half feet, the statistic has less meaning. Remove very short putts that are rarely missed, and shots from 100 yards or less account for only 45 to 50 percent of all shots. Eliminate putts from three and a half feet or less, and the figure drops to 41 to 47 percent.
I actually agree with this completely. I've always thought the golf cliche "drive for show and putt or dough" is the dumbest thing a golfer can think. Sure, you can still make a high number after a big drive but you have zero chance of saving a high score if you snap a ball out of bounds off the tee. Putting the ball in play from long distances is one of the things golfers struggle with the most, so for something like this, I couldn't agree more.
Anyway, check out that New York Times article, because it's extremely thorough and doesn't use "shit" and "damn" and stuff so you know it's solid stuff.