Advanced players already know this stuff and more. This post is aimed at newer players looking to improve their game.
Putting is where you have the best potential to drop strokes. Distance control is the most important aspect of putting. With proper distance control you will rarely 3 putt.
If your second putt is 5 or 6 or more feet long...your distance control sucks.
Second putts should be 2' or less in most cases.
A newer player should be able to drop 4 or 5 strokes per 9 holes from this alone. With a little practice you should be able to calculate the putting distance in about 10 seconds.
You need Putter Pal Join a country club that has a high enough level to get one for free.
Putting Rules of Thumb:
Always try to putt one foot past the hole. Short putts never go in the hole. Scary downhill putts are the exception.
Add or subtract 1 ft. per inch of elevation
Standard greens (7.9) is 100% distance
Fast greens (9) use 90% distance
For very fast (10) and tournament (11) greens go with 80% distance.
#12 greens =70% and #13 greens = 67%
On shorter putts (< 10') I add a extra 1/2 foot just to make sure the putt gets home.
I would rather be 2' past the hole than 2" short.
Practice mostly on shorter putts. You should be deadly at 4-6 foot. You should have a good chance at 10-12 foot putts. Out to 40' you should be able to lag to within 3'.
The goal is to be confident that you can 2 putt from most anywhere on the green.
examples for #10 speed green :
10ft distance uphill 4 inches = (10 ft x .8) + 4 + one foot past hole = 13 ft putt
27ft distance down hill 6 inches = (27 ft x .8) - 6 + one foot past hole = 16.6 ft putt
TIPS FOR FAIRWAY SHOTS
JUDGING WIND DRIFT
The aiming box is 10 mph of wind drift wide. This is true at any range except very close (>30yd) . Move the box into the wind one full width for every 10 mph wind. Punch shots are less affected by wind.
Wind from east or west (90 degrees) = 100% wind speed
Wind at 45 degrees = 50% wind speed.
right click and zoom screen for more detail on long shots
JUDGING WIND FOR DISTANCE
This is for centerball hits using your standard club distance as the gauge.
Rough rule of thumb: For head wind increase distance by 1yd per mph of wind
For tailwind decrease distance by 1/2 yd per mph of wind.
Head wind causes your shot to drop to the ground more vertically and drastically reduces roll.
Example: 100yds to pin. wind 20-22 mph blowing from 2 o'clock direction
From 2 o'clock you will see 1/3 headwind and 2/3 drift from right to left.
Move your aim box right about 1 1/2 box widths. Choose your club and swing strength for about 107 yds
Know how far your driver will carry. Use that distance for your aiming point in heavy crosswinds.
Using backspin will increase carry and reduce roll.
When aiming, give yourself plenty of margin for error.
Stay out of trouble. If you are playing out of the rough, the sand, or hitting trees a lot...this means you. It is better to give up a few yards for a safe hit , than to take a chance and get in trouble. Don't make this game harder than it needs to be. Play from the short grass.
If you find yourself in deep doo doo, most times it is best to take your medicine and get out of the doo doo following the shortest path to the fairway. don't turn a bogey into a double or triple.
TIPS FOR INTERMEDIATE PLAYERS
The secret to scoring well is making great approach shots. Strive to get the ball within 10ft and leave yourself a uphill putt. On most courses it is best to be below the pin.
If you don't have Putter Pal and Shot Pal you should join a Country Club with high enough level to get these goodies for free.
To become a good player you should take the time to chart your clubs. Each club / ball combination will be different so use the balls you will play with. Do a practice round with low wind and flat greens. Pick a flat green with wind blowing from 3:00 or 9:00. Hit and record approach shots for all your clubs.
I chart using full back-spin and show landing and roll distance. Chart your shortest wedge all the way down to 50% power. There are a lot of different ways to organize your information. I use the standard notepad on my PC. Here is what mine looks like :
64w full swing
100%=57-56 95%=55-54 90%=53-52 85%=43-43 80%=40-41 75%=37-38 70%=33-34 65%=27-30 60%=25-27 55%=21-24 50%=18-20
Longer irons look like :
5 full swing
100%=170-179 95%=164-174 90%=151-165 80%=122-146 75%=110-137
Chart all of your clubs. Chart your shortest wedge for flop shots.
Chart your wedges in sand using full stroke and flop.
This takes some effort but it is well worth it...even if you estimate distances without using math.
A lot of very good players play by intuition and feel. I am not one of them and I have to rely on math.
WIND DISTANCE FORMULA
wind speed x 1.25/3 x distance/100 = distance correction
Example: distance to pin = 157yd wind is blowing from 1:30 o'clock at 18-20 mph
You have 50% headwind 19mph/2 = 9.5 so 9.5 x 1.25/3 x 1.57 = 6.2 yds added to your distance to make about 163 yard shot. With a strong headwind the ball will not roll much so I would choose closer to the landing distance in the chart. My choice would be 5 iron full backspin and about 93% power.
With practice you should be able to calculate, choose your club and execute a shot in about 40 sec. Most of the time you can calculate your shot and choose your club while your opponent is making their shot.
Dealing with Elevation
Add or subtract 1yd for every 3ft of elevation change.
Large drops in elevation (>15' ) will make long irons and woods travel less distance. This is because the ball will fall vertically and the ball will have very little roll. Calculate your distance as normal (including elevation change) and use the landing distance for your club.
Large rises in elevation (>25') will cause long clubs to travel farther. The ball will hit the ground at a flat angle causing it to have excessive roll.
example: 180 yds to pin +12ft elev. wind from 6:00 @ 14 mph
14mph tailwind x 1.25/3 x 1.80 = - 10.5 yds wind correction
+12ft/3 = add 4 yd
180 yd - 10.5yd + 4yd = 173.5 yd corrected distance.
Playing Rough Shots
I use a multiplier for rough shots. Figure your distance as usual then multiply by the appropriate number.
These work for me. Your club/ball combo may play differently but this should give you a good starting point.
40-50: wedges 1.15 irons 1.25
For heavier rough see section above: " If you find yourself in deep doo doo"
120 yds to pin. wind 10-12 from 1:30 o'clock you lie in 30-40 rough
5.5 mph x 1.25/3 x 1.20 = wind correction = 2.75yd 2.75yd + 120 yds to pin = 122.75 wind corrected dist.
122.75 x 1.08 = 132.57 yds corrected distance.
Hope this helps :)