Golf Swing Videos & Blog Posts

From PGA Professional Marc Solomon

Can You Really Improve 9 Or More Strokes?

The Golfer’s age old question is “what is the simplest, most effective way for me to improve my golf scores.” It’s a brilliant question – so I’m going to give you a brilliant answer!

Let’s start by talking about last week’s Nationwide Tour Event in Idaho – Hunter Haas won by scoring an impressive 4 round score of 21 under par. These 4 rounds included a 2nd round 64. So, I’d like to focus on his 64 as it could help you to understand how you could also start to improve your scores.

So to start out, I will bore you with a few stats so that you can see how impressive this score is, however I then want to help you to relate this to your golf game so that you can make your own PLAN for what you need to work on in your golf game.

To shoot the 64: Average Driver – 334 yards; Fairways Hit – 10; Greens – 11; Putts – 23

Now, for most Golfers, the goal isn’t to score 64 for 18 holes. It may be to break 100, 90 or 80 – with some single digit Golfers wanting to shoot par. So hitting a golf ball 334 yards … isn’t necessary.

However, since most of our articles discuss your golf swing – let’s talk about something a little different this week. Let’s focus on the 23 putts. As amazing as it is to hit the golf ball 334 yards – the average Golfer has almost as much chance of having 23 putts for 18 holes as they do of hitting the golf ball 334 yards!

And for the Golfer that doesn’t believe me – 23 putts equals 13 – 1 putts and 5 – 2 putts … yes, 13 – 1 putts! Or to put it in an even more direct way — when’s the last time that you had 6 – 1 putts? 13 – 1 putts might not be as awe inspiring as standing there and watching someone hit the golf ball 334 yards – however, it is just as skillful.

And although GMS believes that the first place to improve your golf score is to first improve your Driver – which is counter to the old myth of having to first improve your short game for better scores – let’s talk about how improving your putting just a little bit has the “potential” for producing better results.

On the surface – if you improved your putting – you should improve your scores. But we’re dealing with reality. And in reality – improved putting doesn’t always translate into better scores. Because if you’re inconsistent with your Driver on most holes and often taking penalties and punching out of the trees – who cares how well you putt. By the time you get to the back 9 holes – you’re so tired and frustrated from playing out of the trees … golf isn’t fun anymore by the time you get to the green. So regardless of how much better your putting stroke is – “who cares if I two putt? It’ll just be another double bogey because I can’t keep my Driver in play!”

However, I want to speak about these 23 putts because there are Golfers that average twice as many putts per round. I’m not saying that there are millions of Golfers that do so – although 46 putts would be equivalent to a Golfer having 8 holes where they 2 putt and 10 holes where they 3 putt. And to say that that doesn’t happen often is to say that Tiger didn’t … well never mind, I’ll keep my mouth shut.

Now, for the Golfer that says “I’m a pretty good putter. I hardly ever 3 putt.” I would say that this qualifies that Golfer as usually having between 38 and 41 putts. In my mind and my experience with Golfers, the phrase ‘hardly ever” means that they 3 putt between 2 to 5 times every 18 holes. And whenever I have heard that comment – and I have heard it more times than I can count – I have found that this Golfer’s average score is usually between 93 and 105.

So let’s do some mathematics for this 93 to 105 Golfer. Yet, because of the space available for me to write, I have to limit this example to only this scoring range. But if you’re in another scoring range – I’m sure you can make the necessary adjustments to personalize this information.

If the Golfer’s average score is 97 and that Golfer has 39 putts per round (15 – 2 putts and 3 – 3 putts) – that would mean that if they somehow brought their putts down to 23 for one magical round of golf … then they would end up with a score of 81.

Wait, is that correct. Let me check my math. 39 putts minus 23 putts is 16 strokes less. And if the Golfer was averaging a score of 97 – and we took those 16 surplus putts of their score – that would mean an 81. Hmmmm, that gets me thinking. Does that get you thinking?

It gets me thinking that although you might never have 23 putts for 18 holes, if you we able to improve from 39 putts to a more reasonable 30 putts – that would mean that you have now scored 88. 97 minus 9 less putts equals 88!

And yes, I still believe my statement above about having to also improve your Driver so that you can become more accurate and gain distance. And yes, it is of extreme importance for you to have a PLAN for the golf course so that you can go around the 18 holes playing to your Strengths and away from your Weaknesses. However, there is potential for many Golfers to improve 9 strokes by going from 39 putts to 30 putts.

Now let’s talk about your Driver –

Most of the time you play golf – you’ll have 14 Drives per 18 holes. And staying in that 93 to 105 scoring level – we have found that most of these Golfers lose 2 to 4 Golf balls per round (into the trees or water) with their tee shots. And, in addition, these same Golfers also put themselves in bad positions behind trees and bushes where they have to “waste” a shot another 2 to 4 times per round.

So to make it easy – let’s say this Golfer loses 3 golf balls and has to “waste” 3 golf shots punching out. That would be a fair number …. wouldn’t you agree? 8 pretty good drives and 6 bad drives?

Now, let’s say you can improve just half of those 6 bad drives – so that now you only have 3 bad drives. Would you be satisfied? Well, you should. Because if you did and you improved your putting like I spoke about above (39 putts to 30 putts) – you now have improved from a Golfer that frequently scores 97 to a Golfer that frequently scores 85!

Now, get this: only improving your Driver won’t help your scores much. And only improving your putter won’t help you much. But improving both at the same time can produce incredible results! For example: the improvement you see in your Driver has you feeling good about your game, plus the added distance you hit the golf ball allows easier, more accurate irons to the green. But you continually miss putts. What starts to happen as your round continues? The missed putts start to wear on you and it starts affecting your entire game.

But, if you improved both your Driver and your putting, now since you’re feeling good about your game while standing on the green, plus you’re an improved putter – this translates into better golf scores!

The key is that you need to know these stats to be able to work on improving them.

Do you have a PLAN for improvement? Or are you still Monkeying around?

The Monkey just keeps doing the ‘same old, same old’ and their scores continue to be the ‘same old, same old’

The Player has a PLAN

Go ahead, come to GMS and learn to become a Player


Marc Solomon

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