Where the Game is Won

Jeff Fisher
Director of Instruction
Fisher Bryan Golf Academy at Longbow Golf Club
Mesa, AZ

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There used to be a commercial for major league baseball that said, “Chicks dig the long ball!”. In golf it can just as easily be said that, “Dudes dig the long ball,” because everyone wants to hit it farther. But, longer off the tee is not necessarily the key to better scores, it just looks cool!

I am a stats guy, so I like to be able to put numbers together that help my students understand not only what the strengths and weaknesses of their own games are but also what are the strengths and weakness of successful players.

The current top 5 on the PGA Tour money list are Tiger Woods, Brandt Snedeker, Matt Kuchar, Adam Scott and Steve Stricker. While Adam Scott is in the top ten in driving distance and Tiger can still take it deep, this is not exactly Murderer’s Row when it comes to distance! In fact, as a group their average place on the driving distance list is 92nd.

However, they excel in two places that most amateurs tend to leave out of their list of important things to practice. First, their average place on the Strokes Gained Putting stat is 30th. Many things have been said and written about Tiger’s swing in the past few years but the fact is that he was not putting nearly as well as at his peak. This year he is number 1!

The other place where these five are at their best is when they miss a green. Together they average 21st on the Scrambling list with 3 of the 5 in the top 10! Imagine where your scores would be if you could get up and down more than 68% of the time like Brandt Snedeker does!

Most ads we see on television are for the newest, longest driver or golf ball and that is certainly a great thing. But at the end of the day, the way to lower scores is to be able to get your ball into the hole in the fewest strokes possible. And, the greater percentage of shots is played from inside 100 yards than outside 100 yards.

If your goal is to always be the last one to hit your second shot in the fairway, because you bashed the longest drive, then by all means go to the range and grip it and rip it! However, if your goal is to sit in the bar after the round and collect all of your friends’ money then get over to the short game area and learn to chip and putt!

Jeff Fisher is the Director of Instruction at the OB Sports Golf Academy at Longbow Golf Club in Mesa, Arizona. Jeff can be reached at 480.414.9330 or jfisher@obsports.com.