Thursday, 5 October 2017

Short Game Can Cover a Multitude of Sins

Short game. As Harvey Penick said, those are the magic words. A good short game can cover a multitude of sins. The biggest difference between pros and amateurs is their short game. And yet, when you think about it, it shouldn't be. It doesn't take great physical ability to chip, pitch, and putt.

The other day I shot 71 and I think I hit four greens in regulation. Today, I shot even par on the first nine, hitting two greens. The back nine was another story today as I pretty much mailed it in. But the fact is I'm only going to get worse as a ballstriker as my back deteriorates. But I can still post a respectable score if I manage to chip and putt well. 

Most amateurs--except the guys who are really wild off the tee--can manage to get within fifty yards of pretty much every green in regulation--and usually closer. It's from there that they really start throwing away strokes. So why, I wonder, is almost all golf advertising focussed on the long game. Equipment companies push new drivers that will hit it farther, and irons that will give you more distance. Where's all the ads for wedges and putters? Okay, there are some. But equipment manufacturers and golf teachers focus most on distance and the long game.

Now, I guess it's another chicken or the egg scenario. Do manufacturers and teachers tend to focus on the long game because they think it's most helpful to golfers; or do they focus on it because it's what the average golfer wants to hear? All I know is, most shots are taken within 100 yards of the green. And, if it's score you are interested in, that is where you should be most focussed. And yet, where do we see most players practising? On the range with long irons and drivers in their hands. 

Harvey Penick believed that the average player could take five strokes off his game if he practised his short game for just a week. He was probably right. But most of us won't do it. We'd rather work on getting another twenty yards off the tee. That's just the way golfers are.