It is a little known fact that the highest correlation in shooting lower scores is the number of green-in-regulation a golfer hits per round. Putting and the short game are important, however, the more greens a player hits in regulation the lower their average score and handicap.
Club selection is critical if a player wants to hit more greens and for the average player that means making proper club selection.
One of the biggest differences between a mid to high handicap player and the very good amateur or professional golfer is where they miss greens. The average player misses the majority of greens short of the green. The expert player will miss greens pin high right or left or long.
So why does the average player miss short? The average player misses short because of incorrect club selection. Bottom line, most players play for their best shot ever, rather than the average distance they hit that club. For example, with all of the stars aligned, down wind, down hill off of a perfect lie, a player hits a perfect seven iron 175 yards. From that day forward, the seven iron becomes their 175 yard club. In reality, their seven iron is maybe their 145 yard club. Players need to learn the average distance of each club, not the maximum distance.
The best way to find your average distance with each club is to go to the driving range and hit 10-20 shots with each club and find the averages distance of all the shots hit with that club. If you have access to a facility that has a computer that measures distance that is ideal. If not, pace off the shots or use the yardage markers.
If your set of golf clubs has the correct loft angles and gaps between each club your variance in distance between each club should be eight to twelve yards.
The potential to hit greens is much higher, if once a player knows the average distance each club flies.
Other than the yardage itself, there are several other factors that should be considered when making the club selection for any particular shot.
- Actual yardage. Typically, yardage markers are to the center of the green. Where the pin is located on the green can dramatically change the true distance of the shot. Is the pin located in the front, center, or back of the green?
- Wind. Are the conditions calm or is the shot going to be into the wind or down wind? Into the wind, a shot will fly shorter. Down wind, a shot will carry further.
- Topography. If a shot is uphill, more golf club will be required to carry the same distance. A downhill shot will fly further and require less club to go the desired distance.
- The lie of the ball. Is the shot on a flat lie? Is it above or below the player’s feet? Is it a side hill lie? Is it in the fairway or rough? All of these lie’s can have an influence on ball flight and the distance the ball will carry.
Knowing your distances will allow you to hit more greens. Each additional green you hit in regulation per round will lower your scoring average a minimum of two to three shots. The bottom line for the average player is, if you do nothing more that learn the average distance you hit each club, you can significantly lower your scores.