17 Feet Closer Beats 17 Yards Longer
I’m writing this morning from Sacramento, CA, where we are showing SCOR4161 at the renowned Expo at Haggin Oaks Golf Complex. This is the biggest Demo Day (rather 3 days) in the world, and if any of you are attending, please come by and say “Hi”. I’ll be on the main stage today at 2:00 with a program I call Short Game Boot Camp.

Demo days are a strange experience for us, as most people are roaming up and down the line, hitting every driver and fairway wood they can, swinging from their heels and seeing if they can find something magical. Truth is, they probably won’t. Unless you haven’t bought a driver in five years or so, or just have one that isn’t right for you, the technology is so against the wall that you probably won’t find that new driver that really makes a difference. But that bomb it mentality seems to get in the way of thinking short and testing wedges. We’ll do our best to change that, of course.

The point is that recent tour statistics indicate that you just might be looking in the wrong place if what you are after is lower scores. Which is more satisfying – big drives but a score that stinks, or fairways, greens and consistently lower scores? If it’s the latter, here are a couple of recent insights into the PGA Tour this year that might be interesting to you.
  1. BOMB & GOUGE.Ben Curtis was the seventh winner in 2012 to finish below 50th in driving distance on the week in which he won. He was 74th (269.1 yards) among the 76 who made the 54 hole cut (since more than 78 players made the 36-hole cut, a second cut was made after 54 to reduce the field to low 70 and ties for Sunday). Nearly 40% of this year’s winners have been in the shorter hitter crowd. Others were Luke Donald (264.1/75th at the Transitions), Bill Hass (279.8/66th at the Northern Trust), Phil Mickelson (272.8/58th at the AT&T), Kyle Stanley (287.6/70th at Phoenix), Johnson Wagner (276.4/68th at the Sony Open) and Mark Wilson (279.3/69th at the Humana Challenge). Something to think about, huh?

  2. The Importance of Sticking It Closer. Luke Donald grabbed the top spot in the World Ranking, but has had a hard time holding on to it this year. Is that Rory’s remarkable play or his own decline? Donald ranks 178th in driving distance, but . . . a year ago, Luke Donald ranked second on TOUR for approach shots inside 125 yards, averaging 15 feet 4 inches and converting birdie or better a TOUR leading 34% of the time from this distance. However, this season, Donald currently ranks 155th on TOUR for approach shots inside 125 yards averaging 21 feet 9 inches converting birdie or better 23% of the time (89th on TOUR) from this distance.
The point of my story today is that all of us have physical limitations when it comes to driving the ball. You won’t ever approach the 300+ yard average of the bombers like Bubba Watson. But you can work on the shorter end of the game and be darned formidable as an opponent. Luke has proven that.

Think about it as you roam the range at the next demo day you attend.
The Wedge Guy is sponsored by SCOR Golf, where Terry Koehler is President/CEO. He encourages you to submit your questions or topics to be considered for his columns on Tuesdays and Fridays. Each submission automatically enters you to win a SCOR4161 wedge to be given away monthly. Click the button below to submit your question or topic today.

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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

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