Friday, May 15, 2015

The Secret of Scoring: "Throwing Darts with the Wedge"

If you are a competitive golfer who plays tournament golf, I have a very important message for you.  One of the secrets of scoring is to learn how to hit your wedges stone close to the hole.  I call it "Throwing Darts" because that is how accurate you must be and can be from 100 yards in.

What is "Throwing Darts"?  It is taking a wedge from 100 yards in and KNOWING you will get it within 3-4 feet of the cup for a virtual tap in.  That is what the pros do day in and day out, and they know how to do it consistently.

Why am I directing this to competitive amateurs?  Because the pros already know how to do it, and casual amateurs like me, who have a regular job or career, do not have the time to hone and maintain that skill level.  It takes at least 3 times a week with a wedge in your hand.  Once learned, it takes 4-6 hours of week for maintenance, so 1.5-2 hours a day three times a week to keep the feel level up.    So only serious competitive golfers can benefit.

Why is it so critical?  It is fun to learn to bomb it off the tee and drill your irons.  But to cut your putting average per round, you have to stick it close to the hole time in and time out.  There is no better or more effective way to reduce your putts per round.  I have had Tour golfers tell me that and they know what they are talking about.

How do you learn to Throw Darts?  There are 5 critical steps:

Step 1:  Learn to hit your wedge as straight as frozen rope.  How?  It is simple.  Make sure you have a firm left wrist at impact and make sure you lead the clubhead into impact without the left hand breaking down.  It is almost like a block shot.  Don't release the club, just hit it firm.  That is all you need to do to hit it dead straight every time.  It is not any more complicated than that.  I add that to hit down on the ball firmly I like to put a little more weight (60%-70%) on my left foot at address to let me deliver the clubhead at a steep angle.  I like to dig out a good divot, to get spin on the ball.

Step 2:  Hit every wedge shot as hard as a driver.  I mean it.  Whether from 20 yards or 100 yards, hit the ball as hard as you can.  That way you can never have to worry again about how hard you hit it.  The only variable on the distance you hit the wedge is how far you take it back in your backswing.  If you only take a choked down wedge back to where your hands are hip high, you can hit it as hard as you can and it will only go 20 yards.  But it will be straight and it will have spin - and you don't have to ever worry again about how hard to hit it.  And by definition you will accelerate the clubhead thorugh impact.

Step 3:  As indicated above, hit it shorter or longer by only two adjustments:  How much you choke down on the grip and how far you take it back.

Step 4:  This may be the most important step of all.  Hit the ball with every increasing lenghth of backswing with a "driver" level of hitting the ball hard from 20-40-60-80-and 100 yards out until you learn by feel how far to take it back to pinpoint those distances.  This takes practice.  I recommend you hit 30 balls at each distance interval for about 5 or 6 straight days to "dial in" those distances.  Then watch you confidence soar as you get to the point of KNOWING that you are going to stick inside 4 feet from each of those distances!  I guarantee you that will happen. And at that point you are Throwing Darts at the flagstick!

Step 5:  To maintian your skill at Throwing Darts, practice the 30 balls at each distance drill at least 3 times a week. 

If you are a young tournament golfer, I promise you will reduce your putting at least 2-3 putts per round.  So if you are a scratch handicap player, you will go to minus 3.  When I was 24 years old, it took me about 6 weeks to reduce my handicap by that exact figure.  So you can try this and see if it does not put you at an entirely different level of golf competiton and performance.

3 comments:

  1. I hope some ambitious golf competitors see this post. It is the way to contend in, and WIN golf tournaments, at any level.

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  2. This is one of the most effective pieces of golf instruction I have ever read!

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  3. The other strategy is twofold in; for this situation none of the scores tally until the player has hit a twofold (the external ring of the dart board). Darts Shanghai rules

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