Longer. Straighter.  These are the words most frequently heard when listening to the marketing ads from golf equipment companies. If you pay attention to their advertisements, you will no doubt come away thinking that the best and most reliable way to improve your scores is to hit your driver farther off the tee and your irons longer from the fairway.  Conventional wisdom states that it’s easier to hit an 8 iron than it is to hit a 7 iron, so if you just hit your driver a little longer you will have a shorter shot into the green. Because you are closer to the green, you will hit a shorter club on your approach shot, thereby hitting it closer to the hole. Being closer to the hole will result in fewer putts and by definition result in having a lower score. Okay, there is some amount of truth to that logic. But let me ask this question: if you are one that has taken advantage of all the technological advances, can you say that your scores have dropped proportionally?  Is your handicap that much lower now than it was?

So, here’s a challenge that will enable you to determine whether the distance is a primary factor in helping you lower your scores, and it’ an easy one.  Move up one tee box on every hole and see if your scores come down – spot yourself the extra distance without the new clubs. There are reams of data out there to suggest that your scores won’t be consistently better (although you may have more fun and play quicker).

My interest as a PGA Professional at Estero CC is to help members play better golf, not to sell more drivers.  So, what do I suggest that will help you improve your scores? The short answer is to chip and putt better. I would love to see every member spend at least as much time chipping and putting as he or she spends on the driving range. Practice from the hole back to the tee. Place five tees in a circle around the cup 3-4 feet away and putt three balls from each location.  Go around the circle twice and you have hit 30 putts; record how many you make out of 30. If you rarely miss that 4-footer, your scores will improve. Next, practice hitting long putts across the green. If you lag that 50-footer within a few feet, and you have gained confidence in your ability on those short ones, your scores will improve. Next go to the chipping green and hit ten chips from just off the green and putt them all out. Record how many times you get up and down in two shots. Your scores will improve.  Now move a little farther from the hole and hit ten pitch shots to the green and record how many times you get up and down. The better you get at that, the better your scores will be. When you do go to the range, spend more time on hitting wedges than you do on hitting driver. Your scores will improve.

The golf staff is here to help you in any way we can – and we want to see your scores improve.  Let us know how we can help!

Ben Pittman