What Are My Choices In Wedges?

I’ve attached for you a copy of the article written by Scott Kramer of PGA magazine.  PGA magazine goes directly to PGA professionals with all the latest on the golf business.  Scott does a great job in this article explaining how better golfers seem to carry more wedges.  As it is said on tour, “you make all your money 85 yards and in.”

I personally carry:

Gap 50 degrees loft
Sand 54 degrees loft
Lob 58 degrees loft
Super Lob 64 degrees loft that I only carry for courses that have elevated greens.

Here’s the article:

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Practice Golf Approach Shots Or Around the Green?

One of our very valued members asked about the Blog entry concerning Matt Kuchar https://quickfixgolf.com/2012/10/16/is-your-golf-swing-picture-perfect-does-it-need-to-be/  where I mention that Matt did so well from 10 – 15 feet and in and getting it closer than most of the field from 100 yards out.

I like it when a member or student asks questions.  It makes me re-think what I said and make sure I am getting my point across accurately.  Sometime I could be wrong.  Ask my wife, she’ll tell you! 

Well our member asked, “I seem to recall you saying practice your six footers and your lag putts. How does that square with the statement below?”  Well here’s my statement:

Maybe you need to adapt your practice habits to concentrate on 75 to 100 yard shots and 10 – 15 foot putts. Up and in from 100 yards out. Oh yea, he’s also rated 3rd in scrambling from the rough

My answer:

Yes Matt had tremendous success from the 10 – 15 foot range. Better than the field! But in overall putts made vs. putts missed, the 5 to 6 foot range is the only distance that players have conversion numbers as high as 90+ %.

Example:
Putts made within 5 feet Louis Oosthuizen 98%
Putts made form 10 – 15 feet Y.E. Yang 40.83% 
I guess he was putting out the Ying Yang!  Sorry, I couldn’t help myself!

Now, one might argue that attempting to get the ball to within six feet from 75 to 100 yards is unrealistic BUT I’m considering that you will actually have, (especially amateurs) more potential save putts from chips and bunker shots, little lobs shots from around the green, where you do have an opportunity to get the ball within six feet. Your score will lower quicker by chipping up within six feet and making it, than from the 100 yard distance.
Once I felt confident enough that my shots around the green, (long lag putts, chips, bunker shots, lob shots) were getting within six feet and I could make the six footer, THEN I would concentrate on the 75 yard shot to within six feet and make it.  I would not practice a ton of 10 – 15 foot putts. Go for the 98% not the 40%.
 
Only an opinion, but I think around the green is more important to the golfer that hits maybe 6 or 7 greens in regulation. Improve the swing a little more and move up to 8 greens in regulation on average, maybe 9?  But, you have more than half of the greens where you have the opportunity to pick up a shot by saving par from off the green.  For that to happen more times than not, you need to get it within six feet. The best can’t do better than 40%.

Still the overwhelming comment on tour is, “you make all your money 80 yards and in.”  The rest, (in my estimation) is just don’t hit it in the garbage.  Move the ball around the obstacle course until you get near the green.  Then like a good bull fighter, take out the red cape, your sword and let him have it!

Chipping is a Crucial Third Down Play

Chipping is a Crucial Third Down Play

Yes I’m a football fan. I can’t help it. Even though I must say I’m disgusted with the salary caps, free agency, the all around musical chairs played in trades that really make the game look a lot more like a rich boy’s hobby among the owners. I also disagree with the rules changes that tie the hands of the defense in order to score more touchdowns. Then when they score more touchdowns the NFL complains about the demonstrating after the score.

Applying football to golf…your tee shot is the first down play. If you’re second and twenty all day you’re not going to win many football games. You need to find a way to control your tee shots and get them on the fairway with a decent angle to approach the green. Your iron approach to the green is important but second down won’t kill you if it’s not the best play in your game and even if you hit it close you’re not done yet. It doesn’t matter if you miss a six foot putt for birdie or get it up and down from a bunker it’s still a par…which in my book is a first down! You can hang on to the ball and keep working it around the golf course.

Your chip shot is a third down play that you need to convert on. You need to convert on third down to win football games and it’s the same in golf. Even the best only hit about 60% of their greens in regulation, so touring pros are getting it up and down more than you might think. Chip a ball in off the green and I consider that a TOUCHDOWN! You were heading for bogey and made a birdie!

I like to classify a third down play in yardage. For instance…if you’re right on the front edge of the green with a straight uphill chip with plenty of room to roll the ball so you can use a low lofted club, I would consider that third and three. You should convert most of the time from third and two or three. If you’re ball is behind a bunker forcing you to elevate the golf ball and stop it on a dime, I would call that a third and twenty! Not much chance of converting here.

I like to see most average golfers practice more on the third in 5 or less. First they have a far higher opportunity of converting to first downs and they happen more often. To be successful on third and short plays you need to dominate three different facets of chipping:

The Stroke

To get a feel for the stroke try taking your three wood and gripping it very low on the shaft and holding the butt of the golf club up against your front forearm. This position will NOT allow you to flip your hands. Flipping is death to the chipping stroke. You need a pendulum motion with NO motion in the hands. Try to stroke like a pendulum from your front shoulder.

The Alignment

I suggest using a hitting station to chip from. Use the diagram below to see the chipping station I use. I see very sloppy alignment when teaching chipping. It seems like golfers understand the importance of aligning a putt and neglect the importance when chipping. Make sure the leading edge of your golf club is pointed directly at your target, (which may not be the hole if there is some break to consider). Many golfers leave the club face open. You’ll find that if you do leave your club face open you are probably doing the same on your full iron shots. You’ve become so use to the look that it doesn’t look open to you, but it is.

The Choice in Loft and Landing Area

You want to use the least amount of loft possible when chipping. Loft equals speed so if you want the ball to roll faster use less loft. The further you are away from your landing area to more loft you need to slow the ball down. Loft or arc will cause the ball to roll slower.

The only way to improve with your choice of loft and roll is to practice. Find a practice chipping green and work your way all around the green. Chip with a six iron from about three yards off the green. Hit the ball so it goes only to about a foot or so on the green and watch it roll. Then you can begin adjusting from there. From the same position try an eight iron and hit it with same amount of force to reach the same lading area. Observe carefully the roll of the ball and you should find that it rolls less distance and slower than the six iron shot did.

You should find that you have to move back about three more yards from the landing area to get the ball to roll the exact same distance with an eight iron from six yards way from the landing area as a six iron did form three yards from the landing area.

Make your adjustments accordingly and you’ll begin to recognize the amount of roll and loft you need to accomplish any third down and short play. Don’t get discouraged when you miss a green in regulation, get excited about making a recovery. When you chip one up close on the golf course don’t feel silly if you scream FIRST DOWN and wave you arms like a referee. I do!

Bobby Lopez, PGA
bobbylopez@bobbylopezgolf.com
www.bobbylopezgolf.com

How To Get It Close From 40 Yards and In

How To Get It Close From 40 Yards and In

I get so many questions about the short game stroke but when I teach I see that it is the alignment skills, (or lack thereof) and club face control that most golfers should be focusing on. As you get closer to the hole your aim and alignment becomes crucial being that the ball will not fly far enough to recover from faulty alignment with a big banana ball fade or round house draw.

The first thing to do is make a decision on where you want to land the golf ball. Judging the bounce and roll should be handled first.

Then stand back behind the golf ball and get your belly, the golf ball and your target area, (where you decided you wanted to land the golf ball) in a straight line. Then set the golf club face pointed directly at your target. Once your golf club face is set go ahead and align your body. I use an open stance meaning my front foot is dropped back slightly being that I hope not to move my body very much during the swing.

Once you have everything in alignment swing the golf club as if you were trying to lob the ball under handed to the target. Your challenge is to swing the golf club with just the right enough of force to move the ball in the air to your target landing area. If you guessed right as far as landing area and predicted roll the rest should take care of itself.