How many times do you expect to hit your golf ball onto the green from over 200 yards away? Well, before you read anymore, please say your answer aloud so that you’re committed to your answer throughout this article. It will come in handy as we go forward!
Now, before we talk about the number you selected according to the question above, let’s see how the best in the world do from over 200 yards away. On the PGA Tour, they rank the top 180 Golfers for each statistical category, so to make this simple, I’m going to give you the stat for the 90th ranked PGA Tour Player as far as how far their golf ball ends away from the hole on shots from 200 to 225 yards away.
The number 90 Players, Jonathon Byrd, Hunter Mahan, Charlie Wi, each average 41 feet from the hole on a 200 to 225 yard shot. Which is basically 13.6 yards (or 12.5 meters) from the hole. To take this even deeper, a great Player like Rory Sabatini averages 49 feet away (16.3 yards or 15 meters).
So how does this apply to you?
Well it’s my guess that if you played Rory Sabatini on a golf course that plays over 7,200 yards, with the course set-up under Tour conditions â€¦ he would â€œsquash you like a grape!â€ For an example, let’s use a Golfer that usually scores 90 on their home course from 6,400 yards. This Golfer would most likely struggle to score within 15 shots of their average with that extra 800 yards and the Tour Conditions (longer carries to the fairway, greens that are faster than you’ll ever play, rough that is longer than should be allowed, and pin locations that’ll make you cry). Yet, Rory will end up scoring around 71.
So as Rory will score about 34 shots better than the average 90 Golfer, I must ask, if he averages being 16.3 yards from the hole, what do you think a Golfer that scores 34 shots higher would average?
Additionally, while most Golfers are hitting a 3 wood or 5 wood or hybrid to a green 200 to 225 yards away, Rory is probably hitting his 5 or 6 iron. Which means that he will be incredibly more accurate to a green that is 200 to 225 yards away.
And if he averages having his golf ball end up 49 feet away from the flag using a 5 iron, we could say that most Golfers that score above 90 (and using a fairway wood or hybrid) will have their golf ball end up at least 7 yards farther away than Rory Sabatini. Which would mean that you would average over 70 feet (23 yards or 21 meters) from your target.
And you know what is usually 23 yards away from the hole in each direction? Trouble! Danger Zones! Place you do not want to be!
Now remember, the 23 yards is your average, which means that for every shot that you hit well and end up 7 yards away from the flag, you’re just as likely to hit another shot 39 yards (or 35.6 meters) from the flag. And if there is usually trouble 23 yards away, guess what there is 39 yards away. Major trouble!
Then considering that a former Masters winner like Mike Weir â€œonlyâ€ gets his golf ball onto a green that is over 200 yards, just 3 times in 10 chances (he averages 31%) â€¦ what are the chances of a Golfer that hasn’t even won the â€œD Flightâ€ division of their Club Championship have of getting their golf ball onto the green from that distance? Does he/her have a better chance of hitting the green than a guy that has won over $26,000,000 playing golf and whose average score is 71 playing on the PGA Tour?
Now, I’m not trying to be crude with the reference to â€œD Flightâ€, so please don’t take offence, I’m just being realistic! If Mike Weir is averaging hitting 3 greens out of 10 on shots longer than 200 yards â€¦. what do you think you average? What was your answer at the beginning of this article? 4 or 5?
So what’s the point of this article? It’s not to say that you should avoid trying to hit these over 200 yard shots to the green. It’s to say that you need to start reading the golf course and making a PLAN based on your Strengths and Weaknesses. What this means is that if you have a 225 yard shot to the green, you need to look at and determine the â€œPro’s and Con’sâ€ of hitting your â€œ225 yard clubâ€.
Where is the trouble?
Is it short of the green, over the green, to the right, to the left â€¦ all of the above? You need to make that determination first, then you need to look at your game. If all the trouble is behind the green, go for it. The chances of you hitting over the green are minimal. However, if the trouble is short and your â€œ225 yard clubâ€ means that you can keep the golf ball in the air for 195 yards and then get 30 yards of roll, you need to play another shot. Because if your ball lands 195 yards away, 195 yards might be where the trouble is.
If the trouble is on the left of the green and you normally have the tendency of hitting your bad shots to the right â€¦ then go for it. But if the trouble is on the right and you normally hit your bad shots to the right, you need to play another shot (ie, select another club).
The issue is that 7 out of every 8 Golfers that we observe don’t do that. They see that they have 225 yards â€¦ and they take out their 225 yard club. If Mike Weir is only hitting the green 3 times for every 10 shots, what are you thinking!
Yes, improving your golf swing should be a priority. And we work very hard with our Golfers to help them do so. However, how many shots do you have from over 200 yards during a typical round of golf? Now if Weir is missing the green 7 times out of every 10 shots, is it fair to say that you’re missing at least 8? The next question needs to be, where are those 8 shots ending up? And then, how many additional strokes are you racking up because those shots are ending in the trees, bunkers, deep rough and water? (And don’t forget about the 112 yard wormburners and 74 yard fat shots that can kill your spirit and confidence!)
Whereas, if the trouble was in the front of the green or to the right, you most likely would save a ton of strokes by reading the golf course, understanding your Strengths and Weaknesses and playing to your PLAN by selecting a club that would allow you to hit short of the trouble. Again, this isn’t to discourage you from hitting your â€œ225 yard clubâ€, this is to say that you need to know when to hit it and when to select another option. Or in other words, Do you have a PLAN? Or do you play like a Monkey?
The Monkey works exclusively on their golf swing, yet continually makes the same bad decisions on the golf course and then blames their bad golf swing for their high scores
The Player works on their golf swing, however they use that practice time to formulate a PLAN that they can use on the golf course to achieve better scores
Go ahead, Be a Player!