To be a “complete” golfer, you must be able to consistently do the following:
- Put your tee shot in play 80% of the time. This doesn’t necessarily mean using your driver. In fact, you’re always better off in the fairway or light rough, even when you’re 10 or 20 yards shorter than a drive that’s in the trees or out-of-bounds.
Without a tee shot in play, you’ll be put on the defensive and this is no way to play your best golf. The solution is to find a club in which you have a great deal of confidence and use it to put your ball in play. This is very important!
- Put any shot from your pitching wedge to a 7-iron somewhere on the green 80% of the time. To score low, you must be proficient with short irons.
- Hit your medium irons and fairway woods solidly. If you can hit 4 – 5 – 6 irons and fairway woods solidly, your scoring will improve dramatically.
- Be able to pitch the ball onto the green consistently from 20 – 60 yards. This is truly the “scoring” shot that will save you many shots during a round. You should be able to get this shot within 25 feet of the hole 90% of the time.Additionally, your greenside bunker shots should consistently stop within 20 feet of the hole.
- You must chip the ball consistently enough to get up and down at least 70% of the time when just off the green. Practice being proficient with more than one chipping club based on the varied type of shot you will face.
- You should work very hard at being able to make 60% of putts of 5 feet or less; 40% from 5 – 10 feet; 20% from 10 – 20 feet, while always getting putts of 20 feet or longer within a 3 foot radius of the hole. 3-putts are very costly.
All players have strengths and weaknesses, but we tend, for some reason, to practice our strengths more. Analyze your game closely and honestly to determine what parts really need work. With diligent practice and drills designed to improve each facet of your game, improvement will follow.