Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Tiger Woods' survey update

I'm glad to see a few of you have elected to take Woods' putting game as your own, because as Dave Pelz points out in this month's issue of Golf Magazine, putting is el numero uno factor in lowering your handicap. Number one. End of story.

Here's how Pelz broke down shot category importance. On a scale of 1-10, he rated each as follows: Driving, 3; approach shots, 5; short-game shots, 7; putting, 9. He reasons that the closer you get to the hole, the fewer chances you have to make-up for a bad shot. Think about it--the last time you hit a drive into the trees on a par-4, you were probably able to get your recovery shot somewhere near the front of the green. How many times have you hit a better shot from the center of the fairway? If you miss the green (and, statistically speaking, you usually do) you may have hit your approach pin high, but it's not close enough to make your the next pitch or chip shot any easier. In fact, on many muni courses, most of the worst threats to par live right, left, or behind the green--in front is usually the easiest to get up-and-down from. That's why, of all the shots, putting is most important because if you miss a putt, there is no chance to recover, you've cost yourself a stroke. This also explains why it drives you utterly insane when you get paired with a single who's, like, 68 years old, who can't hit it 200 yards off the tee, but gets it up-and-down from everywhere. That old guy knows you'll never beat him as long as you spend most of your time practicing your drives and get-home-in-two three woods, when you should be learning to chip, pitch and putt. The quickest and easiest way to become like Tiger is to practice your putting.

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