Goodbye to GIR

A lot of golfers keep statistics on their game. What they do with them I don’t know.

But one of them always seems to be greens in regulation — GIR. And why that is one of them, for a recreational golfer, makes no sense.

It means something to professionals, because a GIR is a birdie chance. A missed green means that the birdie comes from a chip-in, and those don’t happen all that often.

But for recreational golfers, who are trying to make pars, and for whom birdies of any kind don’t happen all that often, there is a better stat, which I will call, if it even needs a name, Strokes to the Green.

How many strokes does it take you to get the ball up to the green — on it or beside it. That, to my mind is the real measure of your long game — how many strokes did it take before your greenside short game or putting could take over.

As a rough guide, half your strokes come from getting up to the green. The other half come from getting the ball in to the hole.

If you want to break 90, start by getting the ball up to the green on 45 strokes or less. Include penalty strokes in that count, too. If you want to break 80, get that number down 40 or less.

If you can do those things, and you still aren’t shooting the scores you want, well, that means either your short game or your putting needs work. Short shots plus putts should equal two on any hole. Three is OK, but only a few. Down in four? Eeegh!

But the key to scoring at any level is getting the ball up to the green in the fewest number of strokes. Pick your favorite touring pro. Would you rather have her or him get the ball up to the green for you, where you take over the chipping and putting, or the other way around?

I guarantee that Door Number One will produce the lowest score.

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