No Flag Golf – Your Key To Lower Scores

No Flag Golf – Your Key To Lower Scores

In this article, I am going to present a simple philosophy – but one which might change your ability to score forever.

 

Before We Read On

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  • slices,
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10 ft Putts

Do you know how often a tour pro holes a 10ft putt?

When I lay out a 10 footer on the green and ask amateurs “how often should you hole a putt of this length”, I am often greeted with figures of around 70-90%.

They are regularly shocked when I tell them that a tour pro is only holing around 40% of these putts. Don’t believe me? Check the stats below.

putting-stats

Matt Kuchar was middle of the pack last year from 10ft – stats from pgatour.com

If a tour pro is only holing 4/10 of these putts, what do you think your chances are? 20%?

 

Up And Down

A tour player averages a 60% up and down rate – meaning they get the ball in the hole in 2 shots only 6 times for every 10 greens they miss.

An average amateur might be around 10-20% at best.

 

Your Strategy

For the most part, an amateur sees a flag and fires straight at it. Even better players, with higher-level strategies/gut instincts will only fire marginally towards the safe side of the flag. We have this predisposition to go for that birdie because we are all born gamblers.

But the math often doesn’t go in your favor with this strategy. If, for every ball you hit to 10ft (and hole it/gain a shot 20% of the time) you also miss the green (and lose a shot 80% of the time), we can see the issue.

Sure, we make more birdies by firing at the flag (although this is not always true), but we also make more bogeys, or even doubles if there is danger nearby.

Your shot pattern is more of a spread than you think

 

What If?

What if you were to look at a hole differently? What if there was no flag on the green, but your only goal was to hit the green in the safest way possible?

Imagine, in some parallel universe, the game of golf didn’t involve putting at all, but your score was based upon how many greens in regulation you hit. What would your strategy look like?

Have a look at this example below.

 

green-no-flag

If the goal was only to hit the green in the least amount of shots, how would you change your strategy?

If this were the case, it is very likely that you would;

  • Aim at the back of the green (because, let’s face it, how often do we hit it past the flag – stats show that amateurs are short 94% of the time).
  • It is also very likely that you would have the middle of the green as your target (and then adjust for wind, lie and shot patterns/shape).

By having this strategy, you would have a buffer of 30 yards where you could mis-strike the ball (a little thin or fat) and still hit the green. Also, you would have almost 20 yards both left and right of your target which would still result in a green in regulation.

 

Compare That With

Now look where the flag is

green-with-flag

By aiming directly at the flag, like most amateurs, we may hit a few to 10 ft (and be lucky if we hole it), but we would also hit a lot more shots short, costing us dearly.

Also, while we might have a lot of room to the right of the flag (and it is unlikely that we would need that much room), a miss of just 10 yards left would have us scrambling for par again – losing a shot 80% of the time.

 

Just Try It

I know what you are thinking.

But Adam, I strike the ball so pure, just like a pro since watching THE STRIKE PLAN, so I am different and can take dead-aim at the pin

Well, all I am asking is that you try this strategy next time you are out. What’s the worst that can happen? Perhaps you score the best round of your life, or develop the consistency of score you always wanted.

Next time you are on the course, imagine the flag is no longer there, and you are just trying to hit the green in the safest possible way.

Count how many greens you hit as a % from 150 yards and in – I’ll bet the number will increase, and your scores will come down.

Even if you hit a few more 3 putts than usual from being farther from the flag, I bet that you will save more shots by not having to make as many up-and-downs.

 

Alternatively, You Could

The Strike Plan has helped over 1000 players improve their strike quality. I am getting emails every day from players talking about how the drills have helped them gain more consistency and improved ball striking.

Striking the turf in the correct place, and hitting the sweet spot more often will have you hitting your desired distance with much greater regularity. However, even with these skills in place, the strategy presented above is often a good one to employ.

Check out The Strike Plan by clicking the link below.

Strike plan enter

Or if you want to learn more about strategy, shot patterns and improving your lateral-accuracy (fixing slices/hooks/pushes/pulls), check out The Accuracy Plan by clicking the image below.

11 Comments

  • Paul Staley

    I think it was Boo Weekley who said “The middle of the green doesn’t move,” and it has become something of a mantra for me out there. Tough pin: I say it to myself. Bad angle for the approach: I say it again.

  • Trevor

    This is gold… so simple. Thanks!

  • Kevin tucks

    Thanks Adam will try this weekend

  • Kurt Thomas

    Hi Adam . Thanks for your lesson on ball striking. Slowed my swing right down and let the club do the work. Played my best golf ever yesterday.
    Kurt Thomas, England

  • Margriet

    I am a flag hunter; I will try this!

  • Jeffery Petersen

    Jack Nicklaus in his video “ Golf My Way” says for better scores aim for the middle of the green.
    Certainly great advice.

  • Suresh Janardhanan

    My playing partner told me the same few week ago and it has worked wonders for me, I have cut at least 5/6 shots, and that’s a big deal for a mid handicap..it’s just brilliant, hitting the greens also gives you more confidence…cheers

    • admin

      It’s tough to do. The ego wants us to go for the pin. But we have to understand human variability, what is (strategy) and isn’t (straight shots) controllable.

  • Mark

    What about low handicappers +4 to 2 range. We need to make more birdies. I’m off 2 I need to shoot high 60s or very low 70s to get a handicap reduction.

    • Jake

      Hit the ball further. Even if a low-handicap stud like yourself swings your long and mid irons just as well, and hits as accurately, as your wedges—which is definitely not the case for me—the shorter distance will mean your dispersion distance will be smaller.

      Example. Let’s say you’re +/- 2 degrees accurate with your irons, which is LOL absurdly accurate, but work with me. Each degree of miss at 100 yds is roughly 5 feet. Your shot is 100 out? Then you’re missing by 10 feet L to 10 feet R. 150 out? Then it’s 15 feet L and R. Even though something as short as a 100 yards away still has a tough putt potentially, you’ll have a greater percentage of birdie tries over your total population of approach shots.

      Related to that, if very few of our approach shots are going to be close enough to frequently one putt, then it’s imperative we work both on our lag putting and our recovery game, so that the next shot will be within that ‘easy birdie’ distance.

      In short, it’s about minimizing/eliminating botched holes like 3-putts, 2-chips, and taking what the random number Gods give you as far as your distribution of approach shots on the green. Shooting at bad pins will mean your botched holes will rise, and it’s really tough to make those wasted shots up elsewhere.

      OTOH, if you’re in a competitive situation where par won’t cut it, and 80 is the same as 72, then fire away. You might get lucky.

  • CabinJohnCorky

    What pin? 🙂

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