I’m going to present you with some information that you can’t argue with and which points the way to shooting lower scores without having to hit one pracice ball.
The main reason why recreational golfers have a hard time making par when they get up to the green is that they didn’t get up far enough. They don’t arrive.
The chart below shows that over 80 percent of approach shots by recreational golfers finish short of the center of the green, and over one-third of approach shots never get as far as the green.
To have your best chance at a par, your shot into the green has to get there. It has to arrive. We will always have problems with hitting the ball to the right or left, but we should never have a problem with being too short.
For shots you fly into the green, play the ball to end up past the pin.* This is the scoring zone. Why?
First of all, if you play for going past the pin, mishits will still land on the green. Second, you avoid trouble, which is usually in front of the green. Third, you make up for a general tendency to underclub.
When I mention this on forums, some people respond by saying they play short to avoid the trouble behind the green. But to hit the ball over the green you have to flush it. And how often do you do that?
Any shot into the green has to get there. Instead of your best 7, hit an easy 6. O.K.?
*Except, obviously, pins that are in the back.