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MidCapper Challenge! Short Game Goal Should Be ZERO REAL WEAKNESSES


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This post is, on purpose, specifically about short game improvement. I know all of Broadie's stuff. It's important. And some people's short games continue to plague them and they need help.

While what you said there is undoubtedly true, I think you are absolutely underestimating just how bad some 10 handicappers short games are. How limited. How many strokes they actually give up in an a

I don't think anyone here disagrees with the importance of your approach shot nor with what Brodie's work and what it really reveals. But not everyone who tees it up has the necessary skills, time, re

I fall into the midcap, not so good with the wedge camp. I spend almost every day practicing short shots around the yard. I've tried every method under the sun but have continued to struggle. Tried a bigger backswing on Saturday on the course and had some success. I literally get the club stuck in the grass on my backswing on the real short ones. I've addressed that by getting the cub up quicker. I will follow this thread with great interest.

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LOL yes, mid cappers miss the green a lot more than pro's do, at shorter courses. The ballstriking either isn't possible (lack of talent) or for lack of practice, or both. I fully agree with Obee on this. Why are people arguing? Most people don't practice their short game technique, or even know about it. I only started getting into it a year ago. It's so important and really not that hard to be at least proficient to not lose a full stroke or two if you are next to the green. From 30 yards short, many mid cappers will chunk it 5 yards, then put it on the green but be 5 yards away, and 2 if not 3 putt. Those are easy strokes to pick up even if they only recover half of the difference at first.

People acting like pro level ball strikers posing as mid caps are everywhere! Nah, they don't exist. Even if you think you are pro level, you are not. Just look at the teaching pro's trying to match up against touring pro's. Even they weep at how consistent and good the touring pro's are. Scratch golfers are further away. And how many of us are scratch golfers? Not me, and only a small pct of the golfing population.

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C'mon Obee, get some ice on it and suck it up!!

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This looks promising. I spend a majority of my practice time chipping and pitching but it remains a challenge to me.

Ping G410 Tour AD DI6

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Ben Hogan VKTR Hybrid

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I tried some video over the weekend. Not good. Need to re-shoot.

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One thing I’m curious about is to know whether I’m one of the bad short game guys for my index? While I feel like I’m bad, I really don’t know whether I’m bad, average, or good.

Last 20:

Index: 7.3

GIR: 48%

FIR: 71%

Scrambling: 26%

Putts: 33.4

 

Should I be doing better than 2 for 9 or 3 for 9 up and down as a 7 cap?

 

Driver: Ping G400 Max w/ Ping Alta CB 55 Stiff (44.5")

Fairway: Ping G410 SFT 3W w/ Ping Alta CB 65 Stiff

Hybrids: Titleist 818 H1 3H/4H w/ Aldila Rogue Black 85 Stiff

Irons: Ping i210 5i-UW w/ Nippon Modus 3 Tour 105 Stiff (+0.5"/1.5* upright)

Wedges: Ping Glide Stealth 2.0 54 SS / 58 ES w/ Ping AWT 2.0 Wedge Flex

Putter: Taylormade Spider X Navy (35")

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JMHO but yes you should.

As a 7 index and averaging 9 GIR, you obviously possess the "skills" necessary to double your current scrambling rate from 26% to 50% or better. It's just a matter of selecting and executing the correct shot 2/4 times. So by simply doing this you can see what eliminating 2-3 strokes per round will do for your index by leaving yourself more tap-ins and gimmes and eliminating most of those 15+ ft. putts for par. You'll also have a good chance at getting your putts to the sub-30's.

Look, I know it's old school but I really think it's worth the time and effort and the easiest way for someone at your level to improve their index.

Dave Pelz said that putting and short game are the only areas where amateurs can be as good and even better than the pros. After 40 years in golf, this has proven to me to be true.

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I'm a 7 handicap and oddly enough, short game is actually my primary strength. That's probably because early on it was a necessity. I was never a straight hitter. With my big fade I could always get to the green complex in regulation but I was always chipping or pitching. Converting GIR is still my primary weakness. If I hadn't learned to chip effectively early on I might've just given up, LOL. Thank God I could at least save a few pars and trick myself into thinking I was half-way decent!
10 years later, I'm a much straighter hitter and I hit more GIR but my LW is still the most frequently used of any club in my bag. A lot of that is practice. However, I think it's also true that we're lazy and biased and we tend to practice what we're comfortable with. I certainly don't practice the short game because I'm bad at it! I don't want to give the impression I worked really hard on my short game through brute force effort. Quite the opposite. I've always liked practicing my short game largely because I've always been pretty decent at it. The whole concept of activating the bounce just clicked with me so at some point early on I developed a really reliable ability to chip without any fear.
Once that became easy, I started developing a sense of distance control. Since that point I've been able to create a (reasonably) advanced short game (given my handicap). My experiences lead me to agree with @Obee that the goal should be to develop a short game that's robust. You never quite know where you're going to miss it but you'd better be able to handle whatever the course throws at you. Hopefully you miss in the right spot with an easy chip that's little more than a lag putt, but you need to perform well from essentially any position. I think @Obee is correct when he says that what holds most players back are the catastrophic mistakes: chunks, skulls, etc and that the general goal should be no weaknesses.

As for the overall importance of short game, well, I let the facts tell the story. I have a level of competence with my wedges that'd make most players envious but I'm still a 7 handicap. What does that tell you?
I would wager that my short game is probably good enough for me to be a scratch. Seriously. But I'm still not there. I'm still a 7 who misses a couple short putts every single round. And I still need to hit my driver more consistently (and straighter). In my experience, what holds me back is that my long game misses almost always involve curving the ball. That's probably pretty common but it's also the thing that leads to the regularly-occurring blow-up that you don't see on better players' scorecards.
So my advice to players looking to lower their handicap is always to (1) learn how to chip (relentlessly well) and (2) learn how to hit the ball straighter. Regarding #1, learning to chip is also something that is like riding a bike. Once you have it, it's always there.

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Question for @Obee, or anyone else with a really solid short game. Do you guys think swinging out to in or across the ball is a death move for a standard pitch? My thinking is that cutting across the ball steepens aoa and significantly reduces the margin for error. My natural move is to shift the path way left and I struggle with chunks and thin shots and double hits no matter how much I try to use the bounce. Started focusing on swinging through the inside quadrant of the ball and all of a sudden I can hit high soft pitches with ease.

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So just the opposite, actually. If you ingrain the "inside out" move it's likely that your short game will forever be mediocre or, at best, "good" (but one-dimensional). Heading out to do some video this afternoon. Will post tomorrow or Thursday.

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I keep a strokes gained spreadsheet that I update after every rounds and then I log these stats manually for my last 20 rounds.

Driver: Ping G400 Max w/ Ping Alta CB 55 Stiff (44.5")

Fairway: Ping G410 SFT 3W w/ Ping Alta CB 65 Stiff

Hybrids: Titleist 818 H1 3H/4H w/ Aldila Rogue Black 85 Stiff

Irons: Ping i210 5i-UW w/ Nippon Modus 3 Tour 105 Stiff (+0.5"/1.5* upright)

Wedges: Ping Glide Stealth 2.0 54 SS / 58 ES w/ Ping AWT 2.0 Wedge Flex

Putter: Taylormade Spider X Navy (35")

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Like a few other people here have said, I tend to miss a bunch of GIR or simply dont have the distance to get there, so I use my wedges.... a lot. My 50* wedge is my go to club from 70 yards in unless im in the sand or need to attempt some Phil magic with my 60*. Ive gotten pretty proficient with it and it has helped be get up and own for par or out of weird situations. I also practice with this club at the practice areas or in fields by my house. It only has 8* of bounce so I can really open it up if im in the rough or the ball is sitting up. The random guys I was playing with last week were surprised with my ability to flop shot with it and thought I was using a 60* or more wedge!

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I would definitely say its the short game proximity compared to the putt conversion.

The last 2 months, my short game SG inside 30 yards is -0.19/per over 108 shots.

My putting SG from 5-8 feet over that same time period is -0.10/per over 61 putts.

Thankfully, I have been improving. April 2020 short game was -0.23/per over 48 shots on short game inside 30 yards, whereas May is 0.17/per over 60 shots. I have managed to shave 0.06/per shot with some dedicated work. And scrambling for May is 29%.

 

Driver: Ping G400 Max w/ Ping Alta CB 55 Stiff (44.5")

Fairway: Ping G410 SFT 3W w/ Ping Alta CB 65 Stiff

Hybrids: Titleist 818 H1 3H/4H w/ Aldila Rogue Black 85 Stiff

Irons: Ping i210 5i-UW w/ Nippon Modus 3 Tour 105 Stiff (+0.5"/1.5* upright)

Wedges: Ping Glide Stealth 2.0 54 SS / 58 ES w/ Ping AWT 2.0 Wedge Flex

Putter: Taylormade Spider X Navy (35")

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One of the things I will be discussing in my videos is the benfit of using only one or two clubs for chipping/pitching. I'm almost exclusively use my 60/8* and my 56/14* for short games shots of every type.

The other method (lots of different clubs) absolutely works, but the one/two club method, I strongly believe, teaches (those truly willing to commit to it) concepts and clubface control that a multi-club system does not. In fact, I believe it can help immensely with one's ability to truly master hitting a wide variety of partial, 3/4 and full wedge shots.

 

PING G400 Max - Atmos Tour Spec Red - 65 - S
Titleist TS2 15* 3-wood - Tensei Blue - 65 - S; Titleist 918 5-wood 19*. Atmos Tour Spec Red - 65 - S
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I agree. It's sort of obvious to me that using my 60.10 as my primary short game tool is just...well...the simplest approach because I can best predict how the ball will come off using a single club.

I would frame it like this...if you can chip consistently (which is mostly a function of mastering the basic motion) it makes sense that you'd develop a go-to club, one with an appropriate amount of loft and a friendly sole shape.

 

On the other hand, if someone can't chip consistently, using a variety of clubs only serves to make things all the more unpredictable. It's hard enough to chip well with a single club! Using 3 or 4 different lofts is only adding another variable.

 

I think the notion of using a variety of lofts is derived from a form of golf we just don't often experience here in the United States. Thus, any notion that people should be pulling short irons out around the green as opposed to simply mastering their own feel (artistry) with say, a SW, is more misguided and wrong than it is an alternative and equally-valid approach here in this country.

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For me I think the multi club thing comes into play where you start transition from a chip to a pitch. Basically inside 50 yards I try to use the same swing without the club ever getting above my waist (To be fair, I stop at GW). For straight forward shots it's actually less variable because it's essentially the same simple swing. I think what Obee is talking about are for the less straight forward shots, where you need to start using skill/speed for spin, trajectory, etc. Where a straight forward chip is still going to leave you with a 20+ foot first putt.

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Yes, and that's what I want to jump straight to in my first video -- the difference between the wrong shot and the right shot on a relatively (but not extremely) difficult, short-sided shot. It's a huge difference -- especially if the green slopes away and/or they are quick.

PING G400 Max - Atmos Tour Spec Red - 65 - S
Titleist TS2 15* 3-wood - Tensei Blue - 65 - S; Titleist 918 5-wood 19*. Atmos Tour Spec Red - 65 - S
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Adams Idea Tech V4 5H 25* ProLaunch Blue 75 HY x-stiff; Adams Idea Tech V4 6H 28* ProLaunch Blue 75 HY x-stiff; Adams Idea Tech V4 7H 32* ProLaunch Blue 75 HY x-stiff
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Cleveland RTX-4 mid-bounce 50* DG s-400
Cleveland RTX-4 full-sole 56* DG s-400
Cleveland RTX-4 low-bounce 60* DG s-400
PING Sigma 2 Valor 400 Counter-Balanced, 38"

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I am definitely in the 2 club camp. The last full swing I take is my 54/12 (Ping Glide 2.0 Stealth 54/SS) from ~105 yards. Anything less than that, I'm using either that 54/12 or my 58/8 (Ping Glide 2.0 Stealth 58/ES).
Unless the situation calls for something absolutely crazy, here is my shot arsenal inside 90 yards. From 90-105, I use choked down full swing, and the only time I really do a full swing with my 58 is if I have 80-90 yards to a front pin with hazard in front and I need it to stop quickly.75 - 90 yards: 54/12 played off my shirt logo with an open stance. @MonteScheinblum-inspired Use The Bounce 2.0 underhand throw to the target and keep the right arm moving. High trajectory, but doesn't seem to spin much. I feel like I get a consistent 10-20 feet of release after landing. I don't take much of a divot.55 - 75 yards: Same shot as above, but could also move to 58/8, depending on pin location. If its 75 yards to the middle or back pin, I will use the 54 and try to fly it about 65 yards. If it's 75 yards to a front pin, I use the 58/8 and play it at 75 yards.30 - 55 yards: Same shot as above with the 58/8, pretty much regardless of pin location. Will just vary the amount I try to carry it. Will maybe use the 54 if 2/3rds of the ground to cover is green.30 yards or less: 3 options, all pretty much played with the 58/8. Same shot as above - open stance, played off the shirt logo, played 2/3rds of the way to the hole to allow for run out; Ball off back foot with open stance and steeper swing, low trajectory and hot and runs a lot; played 1/3rd of the way to the hole (will also play this with my 54/12 if I have tons of green to work with);Ball off shirt logo, open-stance, open-face, comes out higher and I try to carry it to the pin. This is my short-sided shot.Bunker: Ball off shirt logo, square stance, club open with grooves pointed at front toe (also from @MonteScheinblum's UTB 2.0 video). Inside of 15 yards, I use my 58/ES and outside 15 yards, I use my 54/SS.My biggest perceived weaknesses on self-evaluation:Inconsistent spin: I feel like the ball forward, underhand toss style shot doesn't create consistent spin. My carry distance and accuracy with this shot is pretty good. I have decent feel for it, and rarely have a catastrophic mess-up like a chunk/chili dip/thin. But I end up with a lot of 15-25 footers from pitch marks within 5-10 feet of the pin. I had previously used the clock method - ball centered, square stance, aggressive early hinge to a predetermined point, and hard/steeper release with a notable divot. Backswing length and club selection based on distance. My good shots were great, even better than they are now. Distance control was good, trajectory was medium, and I had good stopping power. The ball didn't run out much at all. I got away from that because I felt like I was very handsy/wristy and not using much body action, and I had more fats/thins that I do now (and thins were catastrophic misses due to the speed and aggression I was using for the shot).Super short chips inside 10-15 feet: Honestly, this is probably my worst shot relative to handicap (especially if I am short-sided). I have tried all 3 types of shot from #4 above, but I get misses both well short and well long. If I can putt it, even through some thicker fringe, I usually try to do that. A lot of it is probably mental at this point and rooted in the expectation that this shot is supposed to be easy because it's so close, but I don't have much confidence in my feel from this range.

Driver: Ping G400 Max w/ Ping Alta CB 55 Stiff (44.5")

Fairway: Ping G410 SFT 3W w/ Ping Alta CB 65 Stiff

Hybrids: Titleist 818 H1 3H/4H w/ Aldila Rogue Black 85 Stiff

Irons: Ping i210 5i-UW w/ Nippon Modus 3 Tour 105 Stiff (+0.5"/1.5* upright)

Wedges: Ping Glide Stealth 2.0 54 SS / 58 ES w/ Ping AWT 2.0 Wedge Flex

Putter: Taylormade Spider X Navy (35")

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