The main reason you canít break 90 or 100 is that you
havenít consistently mastered, to a reasonable degree, four clubs; the
driver, the two wedges (pitching and sand wedge) and the putter. If you
can consistently hit a tee shot and then hit the green from fifty or sixty
yards away into the pin, you can break 90 or 100.
Iíve heard that old Scottish saying for many years ďDrive for show ó putt
for the dough.Ē Well, listen up, Bunkie; if you donít hit it well and
consistent off the tee, you never have a chance to putt for the dough.
Tell Tiger Woods, Ernie Els or David Duval that they can hit it anywhere
and short off the tee and they will still be among the best players in the
world. I donít think so.
These guys hit it long and put it in play. This gives them the opportunity
to hit that second shot in close. Iíd like to play Tiger any day his is
hitting it in the woods or deep rough and me playing it from the middle of
the fairway and fifty yards further towards the pin. Iíll eat his lunch
day in and day out. That driver in your hands is your attack club. Thatís
what your best offensive club is. You need to have that idea in your mind
every time you step on the tee with it in your hands.
Usually when I have a student on the lesson tee and I tell him the above,
he or she says ďYeah thatís all well and good. You can do it ó I canít.
All Iím trying to do is hit it in the fairway.Ē Then they proceed to try
and steer the ball down the middle. They take it halfway back and halfway
through. Thereís no turn on the back swing and no release of the body and
forearms on the follow through. They hit it out there about 150 yards with
a big slice. ďThatís my shot,Ē they say. In five minutes I teach them to
release and turn it over so they draw the ball. This usually equals about
fifty more yards. They may be in the left rough, but theyíre fifty yards
further down towards the hole. All good players learn first to draw the
The second reason most players canít break 90 or 100 is that they canít
pitch the ball to the green from sixty yards on into the pin. Theyíve got
no feel for it. In our clinics we try to equate pitching the golf ball to
making an underhand pitch in softball. In softball, you swing your
pitching arm back as you transfer weight to your back foot and then
transfer it back to your lead foot with your pitching arm extending
forward to the plate. Same in golf: you swing your pitching arm forward
and face the target. Most people are afraid theyíre going to hit it too
hard and then they stop their follow through with their weight transfer
and follow through. (?) As a result, they skull it and chunk it, hitting
the ground six inches behind the ball.
The third reason you canít break 90 or 100 is youíre particularly lousy at
chipping the ball close from the edge of the green. This is the stroke
that turns bogies into birdies or at least pars. How many times have you
gotten the ball close to the green on a par four in two shots and then
made six or seven? I saw Jose
Maria Olazabal hit six green in regulation and shot three under par 69. He
upped and downed it twelve times for par. An average tour pro only hits
twelve green in regulation. Where does that leave you? If I hit ten
greens, I shoot par or better. If you donít hit many greens, you better be
a whiz at the short game, especially chipping. 3
Now letís get to that flat stick. Forty percent of your shots are going to
be putts. If youíre three or four putting every green, this will surly add
up that final number. Think about it. If you average three puffs a hole,
thatís 54 shots. I canít tell you the number of people who come to see me
who just want a lesson on the swing, never a putting lesson. Remember, you
usually hit a driver around 14 times a round, but you use that flat stick
every hole and usually at least twice, thatís thirty six times. Needless
to say, you better learn to use it well.
I had a bunch of kids in my Junior Program when they were about ten to
twelve years old. Our focus was on the short game. By the time two of
these kids got to high school they could hit it 240 yards or better. The
rest were about 200 yards off the tee. In their senior year those kids
beat the number one team in the state twice in one week. They werenít
long, but they could get it up and down out of the ball washer. They were
the best short game players in the state.
I havenít had but one player who ever came to our school who couldnít
break 90 or 100 after three days. The one who couldnít, refused to work on
his short game. All he wanted to do was hit his driver and long irons. He
got pretty good at those, but still couldnít score. Even Tiger Woods
couldnít win out there if he didnít have a great short game. Heíd just be
another so-so player.
To sum it up, learn how to hit four clubs ó the driver, the two wedges and
the putter. Youíll break 100 or 90 easily.
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