Manage Your Expectations

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

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I teach a lot of different types of golfers and golfers at all levels of the game from professionals to beginners. The one common trait I find in almost all of these golfers is that they always seem to have an overblown sense of what they “should be able to do” in certain situations. They should be able to hit their 7 iron a certain distance or make a certain number of putts from 10 feet or hit a certain number of greens in regulation.

The fact is that these expectations are often overblown because they do not have a true grasp of what the best players in the world do on a regular basis. Take 10 foot putts for instance. The next time you are on a putting green step off 10 feet and then ask yourself how many of those you think you should make. The distance looks short enough that you would think the number would be fairly high. The fact of the matter is that the median player on the PGA Tour makes less than 42% of those putts and the worst guy on TOUR, a guy who has actually won on TOUR, only makes 12.5%!

When it comes to greens in regulation the pros are good but not near as good as we seem to think they are. From what would seem a simple distance like 125-150 yards, where pros are hitting wedges and 9 irons at most, the median player on TOUR hits 70% and the lowest rated player hits only 56% of greens from that distance. Now take into account that most recreational golfers are hitting clubs anywhere from 8 iron to a hybrid for those same distances and think about what a reasonable number of greens for you to hit really is.

One place where amateurs should absolutely strive to be like pros is in 3 putt avoidance. The best player on TOUR in that category three putts only 1.26 percent of the time. That is less than once per every 4 round tournament! And, the worst player in that stat three putts only 4.83% of the time. Now that is a place you should try and match the pros!

And don’t even get me started on how many players come to me telling me they think they should hit a driver 250+! None of this is meant to tell you that you should not be trying to get better. You absolutely should and you should set high goals for your improvement. But you do not need to reach some crazy statistical level to shoot good scores. You need to avoid the blowups and the disasters and concentrate on the things that you can do well.

A golfer who hits 6 greens in regulations per round, gets up and down only 41% of the time and makes zero birdie putts but has no three putts and no score higher than a bogey still breaks 80! Those are stats most golfers can manage.

Jeff Fisher is Director of Instruction at the Fisher Bryan Golf Academy at Longbow Golf Club. Jeff can be reached at 480.414.9330 or