If you have ever wondered why we don’t see the Pro’s use Distance Measuring Devices such as Lasers or GPS, assuming they were permitted for use on Tour, the answer is simple.
They don’t provide enough information
Players on Tour take into account a huge amount of information for every shot, you will see them consulting large and very complex yardage books. Believe it or not the distance to the flag is only a small part of the information the need. How far to carry a bunker or slope, where on the green leaves me the easiest putt, how far before I reach the back of the green? A small sample of the kind of questions a Pro might ask for any approach shot. Simply lasering the flagstick and hitting the shot is something a Pro would NEVER do.
There are many of you out there using a yardage device and I want to show how you can save several shots per round by using it more effectively.
There are 2 crucial things you should consider when looking at your yardage. Firstly, understand that it is unlikely you are going to hit the ball perfectly for the majority of your shots. Even a slight miss-hit will reduce the distance the ball travels and so picking a club which demands a perfect strike is a recipe for a missed green. Secondly, you MUST know the yardage to the BACK EDGE of the green. How far can you hit the ball before getting into trouble? Its well known that most golfers are short of the target far more often than long and playing a yardage to the flag is very often the reason.
An average green is 30-35 yards long, if the flag was in the centre of the green you have at least 15 yards beyond the hole before you run out of green. This is plenty of room to hit at least one more club. I have seen the results of playing the yardage to the back of the green significantly increase the greens hit and save a player 5 or more shots per round. A slight miss-hit when using the correct yardage will still hit the green whilst a solid shot will still leave you a putt for birdie.
The device you choose also has an influence; It’s very difficult to laser the back of the green. What do you do when you can’t see the flag? These are just a couple of reasons I prefer a GPS unit to a laser. Interestingly, Pat Goss long time coach of Luke Donald and Golf Coach at Northwestern University tested several laser devices for accuracy. The results were amazing, not only were they all different but none of them were accurate.
Next time you play take a commitment out onto the course to play to the yardage to the back of the green. The video shows I had over 170 yards to the back of the green, I know a perfect 7 Iron is 165 yards and so cannot hit it over the back. If you use this process I really believe you will hit more greens and save several shots per round.