In 18 holes of golf, most golfers hit 10 to 14 tee shots with their driver and 23 to 30 full swings with woods, hybrids and irons.
The same golfer will use his or her putter 30 to 38 times a round and hit at least 25 to 30 pitches, chips and bunker shots from 100 yards in.
If you look at the above statistics, you will see that approximately two-thirds of all shots during a round are from 100 yards in.
The next time you play, keep track of how many shots you take from 100 yards in and see what your percentage is. I’m sure that you will find that approximately 65% of your shots are considered the “short game.”
The typical golfer doesn’t practice their short game because it isn’t as exciting as hitting a long, solid tee shot. Many golfers feel that practicing the short game is boring.
So how can I help you change your mind about practicing golf?
First of all, the objective of playing golf is to have the lowest score possible. As a golf professional, I can’t teach the average golfer how to hit a driver 300 yards, but I can help you hit shots into the green to lower your scores. Remember that a 300-yard drive and a 3-foot putt count the same amount when you add up your score.
One suggestion is to practice your chipping and putting with the same ball(s) you play golf with. Range balls have one-piece covers and don’t fly as far as the balls you play with. They also don’t spin on short shots.
Most beginning golfers play with a two-piece ball that has a solid rubber core and a firm outer layer. These balls fly farther but have less accuracy around the greens. If you can afford to buy a three-piece ball, I recommend it if you want to have more spin on your short game shots.
I also recommend having three wedges in your bag: A sand wedge, a gap wedge, and a pitching wedge.
Occasionally, practice chipping and putting with one ball. Chip the ball to a hole and then putt it out. Then take another club and chip to a different hole and putt it out. Practice should not be repetitive in the short game. You need to change clubs and targets every few shots.
Short game is about “feel” and “distance control.” Remember that you only get one chance on the golf course, so your practice needs to reflect how you really play the game.
Dr. Jean Harris is an LPGA Master Professional and teaches at local courses. email@example.com; golfdoctorjean.com