Missing Short on the Course

There’s nothing worse than hitting an iron shot perfectly and watching it sail over the green. I’ve developed a fear of this scenario that is completely irrational and I think there are plenty of other golfers who suffer from the same thing. I’m always afraid that I’m going to hit the ball over the green and it’s starting to affect my club selection on the course.

I'm crazy - there’s no truth to it
The problem with this fear is that it’s completely unfounded. Did you know that roughly 90% of golfers consistently leave their approach shots short of the green? That is really a crazy statistic when you think about it. But it makes me feel a lot better about my own game and short-comings (see what I did there?). I think there are a number of reasons for why we keep hitting it short: 

  1. We don’t strike the ball as well on the golf course as we do in our practice sessions
  2. We think we can hit the ball farther than we really can
  3. We don’t have the right yardage information so we estimate wrong

Those reasons all make sense, but I think the biggest reason is simply because we are in our own heads. I believe that the fear of hitting the ball over the green is a huge factor in any approach shot. We're always concerned about over-shooting our target, so we pick a club that will "just" get us there and always end up just short.

Hitting long isn't a bad thing!

Hitting the ball too far sounds scary, but it may not be a horrible shot on many holes. Many golf course architects are aware of the short-of-the-green statistics and intentionally place sand traps, bunkers, and sometimes water hazards around the front of the green. They often leave the backs of the greens open with either regular grass or less daunting challenges to help you recover from an overshoot.

"The game of golf is 90% mental and 10% physical."  

So what can we do about it?

There are a few things:

  1. Know your clubs - Go to a driving range and take note of how far you hit each club. Simply knowing how far you can hit each club makes a huge difference.
  2. Don't overthink it - You're 150 yards away from the green? Perfect, hit the club that can get you 150 yards. 
  3. Go one club higher - If you're consistently ending up short, even though the club you chose normally gets you that distance, consider going up one club. Unless you're a professional golfer, you likely don't hit every shot clean and perfect. So adjust your plan and go one club higher.


What do you think?

Where do you think your own game falls? Do you have a history of coming up short on the course? Let us know in the comments!

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