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Four facets of a touring pros game.....which is more important?


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Actually Sam said that a few were born to “play under the gun on the back nine on Sunday afternoon,” a few more “worked their *sses off to play under the gun on the back nine on Sunday afternoon,” but most, if and when they ever got to the back nine on Sunday afternoon “would melt like a popsicle on a hot tin roof.” Sam called those that could, “SBNers.” He and Pete had a lot of quirky sayings that Richard referred to as “Peteisms,” “Samisms” and then “Sneadisms,” haha. See you soon :) L, M

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Let's face it - all of them can make the shots. Sure, some are longer than others, better putters, better wedge game, etc. However, when you boil it down, the player that can think rationally under

Its fun to see these discussions and see everyone have an opinion. I have been a plus handicap for over 20 years and play in elite am invitationals and have qualified for USGA events. I was always r

Statistically speaking, driving and long game are the most important.

It’s the mental game and there should be no questions asked.

 

You could have the best Long Game, Iron Game and Short Game in the world but if the Mental Game sucks then you aren’t going to do anything when it matters. You can be average at one of the other three and still make it to the Top. Look at Luke Donald - super Iron player and all time great when it comes to being around the green. His long game - not so good. Short and crooked yet there was World Number 1. Then you have Martin Kaymer - terrible short game (comparatively speaking) and he has two majors and was World Number 1 also.

 

Those guys might have been able to use other parts of their games to get over their deficiencies but they aren’t doing that without a strong mental game.

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I was a standard bearer at the US Amateur at Riviera a couple years ago...talking to parents/coaches/rules officials everyone said the same thing: they can all stripe the ball, but the difference at the top level all comes down to putting.

Not that surprising when you consider that 50% of the strokes "allotted" in a round of golf are for putting.

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Its fun to see these discussions and see everyone have an opinion. I have been a plus handicap for over 20 years and play in elite am invitationals and have qualified for USGA events. I was always really close 20years ago and could shoot some really stupid good rounds but it felt more lightning in a bottle than consistency. what got me over the hump was playing with a lot of tour pros and other elite ams in money games on the days I was hitting it GREAT and still losing. Their ability to get up and down is nothing like most people can fathom. Tour pros aren't just trying to get it close to the hole they are trying to get it to a specific spot where best to putt from. It isn't horseshoes and hand grenades with them, it's precision laser guided wedge shots/pitches/chips and leaves on long putts. there is an absolute argument to be made that mental game should be number one, my only rebuttal is though for the avg guy is if you don't have a repeatable motion and have a general idea which way the ball moves I don't care how strong you are mentally you won't lower your scores. when I decided I REALLY wanted to be at an elite level in golf I basically stopped hitting balls on the range (granted I had a very good idea which way the ball was going but I would never say I had an elite level striking ability) and spent 90% of my practice time from within 100 yards of the green. I also didn't just hit balls off of good lies, in fact I rarely hit practice shots around the green from the fairway cut unless I'm working on a specific face angle or specific shot. I would find deep rough, sand, side hill lies, downhill lies, uphill lies and drop balls and force myself to get up and down 8/10 before I moved onto the next shot. Somedays I spent the whole session on one shot. I also would find guys who had elite short games and watch them to see how they approached each shot, how they read the greens, what club they used on each shot, how they hit each shot. I finally got to a point after about 6 months to where there was nowhere under 100yards I didn't think I'd get up and down. ever. it became an art to me, not a point a to point b thing. Don't be afraid to practice absurd shots, how to spin it sideways, how to chunk and run, how to nip it, how to hit into a bank and get it to stop short sided. how to use a hybrid/3wood around the green. you have 14 clubs in the bag to use, use all of them. That gave me the confidence to step on any course and KNOW that if I wasn't driving it well and hitting my irons close I was still going to have a good round.

Before practicing short game relentlessly

great round was 67-70 and avg rounds 74-76, bad rounds 77-80

After practicing short game relentlessly

great rounds are 65-68, avg rounds are 70-73 bad rounds rarely if ever above 75

 

I play from the tips whenever possible (85% of the time), I never touch the ball to improve a lie even in a casual round, I putt everything out, literally everything.

 

My ranking would be 1) short game 2) mental game 3) Driving 4) iron shots.

 

There is literally no course in the world I will tee it up on and not believe I will shoot even par or better. that is because I KNOW my short game is sharp

 

If I go play a casual round I will spend 10 min hitting full shots pre round and about 20-30 min hitting wedge shots/ pitch shots and getting to know the green speeds.

If I am playing in a tournament round I will spend 20 min on the range hitting full shots and 40 min practicing my short game pre round.

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Not sure I agree with this regarding putting. Even if you are the very best putter in the world you are still putting from 25-30 times per round.

If you one putt every green what do you shoot? If you two putt every green what do you shoot?

^The answer is you can't tell me. If you miss the GIR but chip on and one putt for par you only have 18 putts but shoot even par. If you hit every GIR but two putt and have 36 putts you shoot par.

 

This is not one of the 4 attributes/facets but the variable with the greatest impact on scoring is proximity to the hole. The question then becomes what is the very best way to get the ball as close to the hole as possible? Hitting it farther off the tee number one and number two hitting it more accurately to the green with your approach. The reason why the long iron game gets brought into (even if you don't really hit a lot of long irons in your rounds) is that if you can hit a long iron accurately it is pretty well a foregone conclusion that you are hitting your 7-8-9 irons and wedges well too.

Driving, ball-striking, chipping and pitching, putting all under a decent game plan/strategy umbrella.

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Because you hit your long irons well by no means is it a forgone conclusion that your other irons will be stellar .....just ask Tiger Woods. When he started out he was a great long Iron player but over shot and missed a lot of greens. On the tour you need a dead arm wedge shot to excel. Just ask Ken Venturi..... that was his mantra

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Thanks. That was very nice of you to say. I found this forum several years ago, but t hff en took a 2 year hiatus from golf while building my business, so I wasn't on here at all. I have been playing again since May. So, now I am on here catching up on everything. This place is a great one for information and varying opinions on the game.

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