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. )