Quick answer to a simple question: What is the easiest way to drop strokes off a ballooning handicap?
Answer? Here is a hint. It is not adding a few yards distance off the tee. Yet, so many golfers spend much of their practice time wailing away with a driver.
Funny because most players see the quickest improvement when they work to improve their short games. And the formula is simple enough.
“You should have a game plan for your short game, which is the easiest way to lower your scores,” says George Mack, Black Butte Ranch’s director of golf.
Not that higher handicappers couldn’t improve off the tee, too. But spending too much time on the full swing can be a mistake.
Often higher handicappers, those golfers who play around bogey or worse, have little trouble getting greenside on a par 4 in two shots, Mack says. But that is where the trouble usually begins.
Two shots out of the sand, a mis-hit chip, a poor decision to pitch rather than chip, and/or three putts collude to ruin an otherwise decently played golf hole.
“They come away with a 6 or 7 when they should at least be getting into the hole in three shots to make a bogey,” says Mack. “Most higher handicappers have no concept with what they should be doing with their short games.”
This is why Mack spends so much time working with golfers’ short games with the 100 Yards In Golf Clinic. In fact, the two-day 100 Yards In Clinic is the most frequently held clinic at Black Butte Ranch, set to be held from 9 a.m. to noon every weekend through August.
The clinic is designed to improve fundamentals of pitching, chipping, putting, sand play and the full swing up to 100 yards. And the way the time is divided at the clinic, about 75 percent on short game and 25 devoted to full swing, is telling. In reality, a golfer should spend at least 60 percent of his or her practice time on the short game, Mack says.
“If they apply all the stuff that we do over the two days, almost anybody can walk away and save five shots off their scoring average,” says Mack. “They don’t know how to set up, they don’t know which clubs to use in which situations. After the clinic they will at least know the process to be able to hit a pure shot.”
The two-day 100 Yards In Golf Clinic will be The cost to participate in the short-game clinics is $180.
To register for this or any other clinic call 541-595-1294. For more information on how to take a lesson from George or any of our Black Butte Ranch instructors, visit blackbutteranch.com/golf/lessons-and-instructions. The link also includes a calendar of Black Butte Ranch’s golf schools, clinics and camps.