Monday, August 27, 2012

Shortgame Assessment #2 Lag Putt

Sharpen your speed while assessing a critical part of your golf game

What to do:
You'll need your putter, 2 golf balls and a handful of tees.  Find a hole with enough green to allow you to hit a 50 foot putt.  Pace off 20 ft, 30 ft, 40 ft, and finally 50 feet, marking each distance with a tee.  You're going to hit 2 putts from each distance, 8 putts total, measuring the proximity of each putt to the hole, then giving yourself points based on how close each putt came to rest from the cup.  The point system is as follows:

Holed-putt = 3 points
0-3 feet = 2 points
3-6 feet = 1 point
6-9 feet = 0 points
over 9 feet = -1 point

Go through it, giving each putt full effort, then total your points to see how you've fared. 

How I did:
I scored 15, leaving all but 1 putt within 3 feet.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Intro to Shortgame Assessment and #1 Short Putt

Objectively measure and improve your skill for the most critical shots in golf 

Recently I was made aware of a book entitled You're Not Lifting Your Head, written by Charlie King, a Top 25 Golf Instructor.  Contained in its pages is a short-game assessment for the reader to attempt.  King took 6 different types shot from 100 yards-and-in and created a scoring game to objectively measure a golfer's skill in the "Red Zone".  Based on this score, King claims to be able to predict one's actual handicap.  So of course I dove right in...

What to do:
The Author recommends that you have a partner complete the test with you.  The main purpose is so he/she can keep score while you focus solely on the shots at hand.  It is possible to do it alone, however it's MUCH easier the other way. 

Ok, so here are the 6 different types of shot you'll be hitting:

1. Short Putt
2. Lag Putt
3. Chip Shot
4. Pitch Shot
5. Bunker Shot
6. Wedge Shot

Each shot has its own scoring key and detailed explanation, so I'll have to spread this out and give you 1 explanation a day, starting with the Short Putt. 

#1 Short Putt
Take 2 golf balls, a handful of tees and your putter and find a hole on the practice green with some break.  Place a tees in the ground in a straight line starting at 3 feet, moving to 6, then to 9, and finally 12 feet away.  Do the same thing directly opposite the hole, one the other side, placing tees at 3, 6, 9, and 12 feet, marking where you'll be putting from. 

You'll hit 2 putts from each tee, alternating the sides of the hole (hit 2 putts from 3 feet, then move to the other side of the hole and hit 2 more putts from 3 feet, then return to your original side, hitting 2 from 6 feet, then moving to the opposite side and hitting 2 more from 6 feet, and so on...).  Your objective is to make as many putts as possible, as you'll get points only for a putt that is holed.  You'll be hitting 16 total putts (4 from 3 feet, 4 from 6 feet, 4 from 9 feet, and 4 from 12 feet). 

Once you've finished up at 12 feet, count how many putts you made.  Give yourself 2 points for each putt drained.  For instance, if you made a total of 8 putts, you've scored a 16.  The maximum score is 32 (16 makes x 2 points = 32 total points).  Your actual score will likely be much less than this. 

How I did:
I made 9 total putts, scoring an 18.  I missed all of the 6 footers, however, so I felt that I underperformed a little.  According to Charlie King, 18 is what a 3-handicapper would typically score.  (For the detailed scoring/handicap chart rent or buy his book You're Not Lifting Your Head. )

Monday, August 6, 2012

Sand Ladder

Hone in your carry distances out of the greenside bunker

What to do:
Bring your sand-wedge and 7 golf balls to a practice sand trap.  Give yourself at least 30 yards of room in the direction you will be hitting your shots, and a flat lie in the sand from which to execute.  On your first shot try to barely land it outside of the bunker, just barely clearing the lip.  With each successive shot, to to carry your ball just past where the previous one came to rest.  If you fail to carry the lip on your first shot, start over.  If you fail to fly any shot past where the one before came to rest, start over.  Once you've finished, successfully executing all shots as desired, pace off the distance from your first ball to your last ball.  The shorter the distance, the more precise your shots must have been.

How I did:

Had to start over twice... once I finished the distance from my first ball to the last was 18 paces.  I think under 10 is a challenging yet attainable goal. 

Beginner- hit only 5 balls