View Video by Dave Pelz
Pop quiz! How close to the hole do you think the pros land their approach shots to the green? Well if you guessed 10 to 15 feet, which seems like what we see on TV, you would be way off. Through June 7 2015, Jim Furyk is ranked number 1 with an average proximity to the hole of 31′ 8″, while Andres Romero is ranked last at 41′ 11”. Proximity to the hole includes balls that land within 30 feet of the edge of the green, not just balls that land on the green. One can only assume that the proximity to the hole average for the everyday golfer has to be a much bigger number. But let’s be generous and call it 50 feet. So think about this for a minute; on average you are staring at 50 feet to get up and down.
What do these numbers tell us? Well, for one thing we know that the pros make lots of pars. Which means that from 31 feet to 42 feet their next shot, or putt, has to be inside the 3 foot circle to make par most of the time, and obviously that means they have an excellent short game. If you remember, from our earlier post “Greens In Regulation Are Overrated,” most of us will hit 5 greens or fewer in regulation during our round. That means our next shot is usually off the green, around 50 feet from the hole and our first priority is to just get the ball on the green. OK, so you make it onto the green – but if your ball is still too far from the cup you can’t help but worry about the dreaded 3 putt. And yet, how much of your practice time has been devoted to avoiding 3 putts?
For starters, the object of our first putt has to be to lag it close enough to be inside the circle of friendship – and to do this consistently we need to learn how to become really good lag putters. Lag putting requires a change in mind set. That means not even thinking about getting it in the hole – your only goal is to get it within the 3 foot circle, and if it just happens to go in, well that’s a bonus. Since most of us don’t have that lag putting mind set, it stands to reason that we don’t spend much time on the practice green working on our lag putting skills – and yet it is so important in slaying the three putt dragon. Sure we hit a couple of short putts and a few long putts, but this is not improving your lag putting. Now, I’m not a big Dave Pelz fan, he seems a little too mechanical for my taste, but in this video he provides a framework to develop your lag putting skills, with a simple drill that you can modify to meet your own practice philosophy and time constraints.