Dennis Sales Golf

Informative Golf Information

The Importance of the Short Game

Virtually every single time you open up a golf magazine all they talk about is hitting the ball longer off the tee.  But does that really affect your ability to put the ball in the hole in the least amount of shots possible?  No doubt, it does have some positive effects to scoring, but it’s not everything as some magazines would like you to believe.

Let’s look at the current No. 3 player in the world, Luke Donald. Specifically, let’s examine Luke’s driving distance, or better yet, lack thereof.

Had he won at Harbour Town, he would have been the new No. 1 player in the world.  He didn’t get that close to being number one from bombing 300+ yard drives. Believe it or not, Luke only averaged 261.5 yards off the tee and hit 64 percent of fairways atHarbourTown.

So far for the 2011 season, Luke’s listed at No. 166 on tour with a mere 275.5 yards average off the tee for the year and hits 65 percent of fairways.  That puts him 39.5 yards behind the 62nd ranked player in the world, J.B. Holmes, who happens to be No. 1 on the PGA Tour in driving distance.

While his short game is tremendous and arguably second to none, there’s nothing flashy about Luke’s game that the average golfer can’t come close to duplicating. Especially in the percentage of fairways-hit department.

Let’s look at the stats around the green that clearly have affected Luke’s scoring and exactly where amateur golfers should be looking to improve if they want to shoot lower scores.

PGA Tour Averages (as of April 24th, 2011):

Putting Average – 1st @ 1.69 per hole

Putts Per Round – 2nd @ 27.28 per round

Scrambling – 2nd @ 68.6%

These are some very interesting numbers that most amateurs are completely unaware of.  What’s startling to me is that most amateurs don’t know exactly where they stand.  How can a golfer improve if he or she doesn’t know what skill they need to improve?

I don’t personally know Luke, but I’m sure he didn’t get those averages from not practicing it or knowing that certain aspects of his game needed improvement.  The short game has certainly helped him – and it helps everyone else — from throwing away shots on and around the green.

Luke is a prime example of that old adage: You drive for show and you putt for dough.

Putting may not be as sexy as hitting booming drives, but if you’re looking to maximize your potential on the course, spend some serious time with the flat-stick.


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