There are only three principles to follow in golf:
• 1. GOLF IS A GAME OF ACCURACY.
• 2. GOLF IS A GAME OF ACCURACY.
• 3. GOLF IS A GAME OF ACCURACY.
Based on the 2004 PGA Tour season, the average of 190+ players hit 64.08% of the fairways and 68.35% of the greens in regulation. Think about this for a second. The best players in the world, players who practice constantly and hit hundreds of golf balls every day, hit only 64.08% of fairways and only 68.35% of greens in regulation. In contrast, the average weekend golfer probably hits 35% of the fairways and 25% of greens in regulation. GOLF IS A GAME OF ACCURACY.
Let’s talk for a second about statistics in golf because they can be very misleading. For instance, the #1 ranked putter on the PGA Tour during 2004 averaged 1.609 puts per hole. This statistic could lead you to two conclusions: 1) this golfer is a great putter, or 2) this golfer is an excellent iron player who leaves his approach shots close to the pin for an easy one putt. The same applies to percentage of greens hit in regulation. A golfer may be an exceptional iron player but have a low percentage of greens hit in regulation due to inaccuracy off the tee.
What it boils down to is this:
• Accuracy off the tee leads to:
- More greens hit in regulation, which leads to:
- Lower scores.
The current philosophy in golf teaching is to learn the game backwards. That is to gain proficiency with the short irons and then progressing to the mid irons and then on to the long irons and lastly the woods. The tee shot in this philosophy is of very little importance, which is ludicrous. The potential score on any hole is determined by the tee shot; consequently, an accurate tee shot leads to lower scores. A long drive may satisfy your ego, but trying to hit an approach shot from high rough or from behind a tree deflates your ego very quickly. GOLF IS A GAME OF ACCURACY and the tee shot sets up all shots that follow. To take this concept one step further, accuracy is of first importance with all shots and with all clubs.
What are the determining factors of accuracy? There is only one – Consistency. A consistent shot is an accurate shot. It does not matter if your shots fade, draw, or are straight. It makes no difference if you hit a high or low trajectory shot. As long as the shot pattern is consistent it can be accurate. Why? If the shot pattern is consistent it is predictable. If your consistent shot pattern is a fade, then by consistently lining up left of the target your shot will predictably fade to the target, and so on for other types of shot patterns. However, if there is no consistency to the shot pattern then there will be no predictability as to where the shot will end up. In order to achieve accuracy you must develop consistency. There is only one way to develop consistency as to your shot pattern and that is practice. As was mentioned before, professional golfers hit 500 to 1,000 golf balls a day, and even then they will not hit every shot on the golf course perfectly.
Another often-overlooked factor of consistency is the golf ball itself. Every different brand and type of golf ball has unique characteristics. For instance, a balata golf ball produces a high spin rate; a two-piece golf ball produces increased distance, etc. In addition, different brands of golf balls will produce different results based upon their method of construction. Playing with different golf balls from round to round will defeat any hopes of developing a consistent shot pattern. One ball will travel farther than another, will fade more than another due to it’s spin rate, will feel differently when putted, etc. Do yourself a favor and pick one brand and type of golf ball and stick with it. Don’t even think about picking up lost balls on the course and putting them in your bag. And never pull out a “water ball” when trying to hit a tee shot over a pond. If you want consistency in your shot pattern then use the same brand and type of ball consistently.
Outside factors that affect consistency. Everyone is capable of developing consistency as to shot pattern. However, there are outside factors that affect consistency that are beyond our control. You develop consistency at the driving range on a level surface that is in good condition. On the golf course you will be faced with uphill lies, downhill lies, side hill lies, bare lies, rough lies, etc. You will be faced with wind at your back, wind in your face, cross fairway wind, and innumerable other factors that can affect your consistency and are completely out of your control. What is the answer? Address only those factors that are in your control. The factors of consistency that are in your control are:
- Developing a consistent shot pattern. This is achieved through practice.
- Consistently using the same type and brand of golf ball. It is imperative that you find a type and brand that you like and stick with it.
- Using properly fitted and well designed golf clubs. You are essentially wasting your time if the golf clubs you use do not fit properly; unfortunately, the vast majority of golfers use ill-fitting equipment.
The above factors are of equal importance in developing consistency. We have already discussed the importance of a consistent shot pattern. The use of the same brand and type of golf ball is obvious. The specifications of golf clubs as they relate to consistency are the subject of the rest of this book.
By concentrating on the consistency factors that are within your control you will develop accuracy and this will lead to lower scores.