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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Short Game Practice

If you are fortunate enough to have a good short game facility near your home or work and are serious about improving your scores, use it! Lucky for me, I have a great facility within 3 minutes of my office with a driving range, practice green, pitch and putt course, and a par 30 course.
About once a week, a few of us from the office will go to the practice facility over lunch and work on our games. In the past, we would usually just beat balls on the range, but after a little coaxing, I have convinced my co-workers to try out the pitch and putt course and we are now all hooked.
The nice things about the course are that it is cheap (about $6), doesn’t take long (about 35 minutes for 9 holes with 3 guys) and it is a great way to learn the distances of your short clubs and to improve your short game scoring. The holes on the course we play range from 40 yards to 95 yards, and generally the greens are small so accuracy and distance control are at a premium.

In the 3 weeks that we’ve been practicing on this course, everyone’s score for the nine holes has started to go down as we have all started to learn better the distances that each wedge shot goes. I really think that this will also translate into lower scores on the course as well; since the shots practiced on the short course (shots within 100 yards) are the shots that we hit more often in a given round than any other shots.

What I’ve also noticed is how closely our scores on this short course follow our handicaps. For example, I play to a 2 handicap and I have been beating my 18 handicap coworker by about 5-6 shots on the short course (or 10-12 shots for 18 holes). The great thing about this is with a little practice, anyone should be able to score well on this short course since it has nothing to do with hitting 300 yard drives. If you can hit a shot 90 yards, you can score well by improving your consistency.

So, if you are lucky enough to have a pitch and putt course nearby, use it and work on lowering your scores and your scores on the course will drop as well! If you don’t have a pitch and putt course, find a good practice green at a course or practice facility and set up different “holes” on your own and keep track of your scores and work on your short game weaknesses to turn them into strengths and your scores on the course will drop much faster than they would by just beating balls at the range.

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