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The most important shot?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Here's a question for all of you golfers. What is the most important shot in golf? (And not one on the 19th hole)

I actually have two different thoughts I'll share later but I'd like to see what the differing responses bring first.
post #2 of 23
Everything inside 125 yards.
post #3 of 23
The shot in front of you right now is the most important one. Every time.
post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 
Both are absolutely correct.

But now change the viewpoint a little. What is the most important shot on a par 3, a par 4 and a par 5?

This little concept was presented in a PGA clinic I attended last winter. It got me thinking out of the box a bit.
post #5 of 23
From my personal experience it's the approach shot. I'm not a great driver of the ball. I can usually find the fairway but I can be out driven by 50 yards by longer hitters. On the other hand I can usually hit a 7 iron closer than the bombers hit their SW.
post #6 of 23
Coming from a hacker...
the tee shot is very important psychologically, a good one sets you up with a "par this hole" attitude,
but I think the first putt is most important, got get it close to ensure only two-putt greens. Lot of wasted shots on and close to green for most hackers.
post #7 of 23
Good answers, but I am going to stick to my mantra that the next shot is the most critical shot. I arrived at this through experience: I may hit a bomb drive but if I flub the next shot it doesn't matter that the drive was huge. No one stroke is going to make a hole, it's all the strokes added together that make the score. We only make one shot at a time, so focus on making that one perfectly.

Add: all shots cost the same. This understanding made me start focusing on strengthening my weaknesses instead of strengthening my strengths.
post #8 of 23
Usually on a par 3 is is my 4th shot that is critical. I play "bogie" as "par", if I shoot less than 1 over per hole its like birdieing it for me. When I shoot in the 80's I feel like I am under par for the day.
post #9 of 23
Thread Starter 
The interesting philosophy the clinician (who coaches tour pros) brought out was the most important shot on a par 3 is the second shot, a par 4 the third shot and on a par 5 the fourth shot. Why-you either just made a birdie or set yourself up for an easy par.

Were it just that easy. But when you think about it-he has a point whether you are a tour pro, a teaching pro or an amateur.

Now if I can just get down to Denver to test out my new Titleist AP2's. maybe tomorrow morning. Actually start back at the golf course Monday morning, might be shoveling fairways-not.
post #10 of 23
We're up for the weekend over here at Keystone. It's going to be a while before these courses open up. I'm sure Breck is just as bad or worse.
post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevesmith7 View Post
We're up for the weekend over here at Keystone. It's going to be a while before these courses open up. I'm sure Breck is just as bad or worse.
Definitely a lot of snow on the course. We'll see what Mother Nature has in mind. At least we have a nice warm up, according to the weather guessers, for the next 5 days. I was over there a week ago Saturday and this past Tuesday and the changes in those few days were amazing but far behind the normal curve. Then it snowed a little this weekend.

We need the 1) the snow to melt 2) the ground to dry and 3) the ground to warm up enough the grass starts to regenerate.

In the mean time I'll be one with the clothing steamer and pass machine among other projects I'm sure the boss already has planned.
post #12 of 23
Mike, I'm glad you asked this question, because it made me think, when I was hitting balls this week.

Nolo's response is the closest to my thought on this.
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post
The shot in front of you right now is the most important one. Every time.
Last year I posted somewhere about the sum of the game not coming together.
If I'm nailing the chipping, and pitching, then it seems my putting is off.
If my putting is sweeeeeet, then my chipping sux.
If my short shots and puts are good, then I can't drive for sh!t.

Unless or until, the sum of all the parts come together, I can't see my game improving.
so, the Shot in front of you is the most important!

Unless you're talking about the gophers that are tearing up the grass. Then its the shot that hits the gopher and misses the propane tank.
post #13 of 23
TC, you are too cool for school.
post #14 of 23
But those rare occasions when every facet of your game is working...it si all worth it.
post #15 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post
Unless or until, the sum of all the parts come together, I can't see my game improving.
so, the Shot in front of you is the most important!
No doubt but remember that even El Tigre has bad days off the tee, off the fairway etc as do all his compatriots who play for a living. Why do they still score well-the short game-put at least 50% of you practice time there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post
[/b]Unless you're talking about the gophers that are tearing up the grass. Then its the shot that hits the gopher and misses the propane tank.
Gophers and geese are fair targets.

And alway keep in mind golf spelled backwards is FLOG
post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post
The shot in front of you right now is the most important one. Every time.
Absolutely agree 100%. It's the only shot that you have any control over. Great drives are worth little if the rest of the game isn't sharp. Great putts or great chips can save you but again mean little if it's for triple bogey after being OB off the tee. So arguing over what's more important is, IMO, moot. That said, I do think that improving the sort game is the quickest way to improve scoring. I've lost money to a lot of folks who wouldn't impress you with their wood or iron play. But they get it in play off the tee and get their approach shots somewhere around the green. Then they chip and putt you to death.
post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikewil View Post
Here's a question for all of you golfers. What is the most important shot in golf? (And not one on the 19th hole)

I actually have two different thoughts I'll share later but I'd like to see what the differing responses bring first.
Rats, my answer's been excluded

A good long game can help a weak short game and vice versa.. But, we've all seen and felt the pain of missing a put(s) that should be "sure things". So, if I could pick one part of my game to be the best it could be of driving, chipping, of putting I'd go with putting
post #18 of 23

Most Important Shot

I agree with NOLO. One shot at a time, don't get ahead of yourself and don't worry or ponder the past shot.

Although statitically the pro may be correct his logic is not on, If you make the 2nd shot on a par 3 then there is no 3rd shot etc. this applies throughout the game.

For me personally it is putting - I miss so many putts it is sometimes just bewildering.
post #19 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post
Rats, my answer's been excluded

A good long game can help a weak short game and vice versa.. But, we've all seen and felt the pain of missing a put(s) that should be "sure things". So, if I could pick one part of my game to be the best it could be of driving, chipping, of putting I'd go with putting
Considering putts account for 50% of the calculation of par for any round that is absolutely correct. It is also an area where few people spend anywhere near enough practice time.
post #20 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete No. Idaho View Post
Although statitically the pro may be correct his logic is not on, If you make the 2nd shot on a par 3 then there is no 3rd shot etc. this applies throughout the game.
Take the time to re-read and re-think what the statement says. The logic is dead, solid perfect be it for a top level player or a less skilled player.
post #21 of 23
Ok - I'll bite. The answer to
Quote:
What is the most important shot in golf"
is "It depends." I'll raise Mike's two thoughts and go for three.

My first thought is "the last shot" because that shot is what determines the score on a hole.

My second thought is that it depends on situation. Stroke play is a different game than match play. The last shot does not make a difference in match play if your opponent is already in with a lower score. But what is the benefit of designating levels of importance to shots? Each shot played counts the same towards the score. But some shots can "cause" other shots to be forced onto the score either through the result of the ending location or through penalties. Other shots can cause a reduction of planned shots (e.g. a long drive on a par 5 can enable reaching the green in two or a close approach shot can enable a one putt). Can you rank the importance of a shot by the probability of the addition of extra unplanned strokes or subtraction of planned strokes as a result of it?

My third thought is that it depends on the psychology of the player and the situation. One benefit of assigning importance to a shot is to positively effect future performance. The thinking here is that one will put more effort into a shot that is more important. But some people perform worse under pressure. Telling them a shot is not important may get better results. Other folks, no names mentioned Tiger, perform their best on the most important shots. How many of us have played better after starting a round poorly because we no longer cared about the results because the remaining shots were no longer important?

While achieving the lowest score possible is desirable, many of us derive pleasure from the game from other factors. Whether it's winning bets, making long drives, being closest to the pin, making difficult shots or fixing problems, there are many different possible "most important shots" that have little to do with the strategy required for the lowest overall score for a round. For example, because I've been dealing with a shoulder problem, my most important shots right now are deep rough and bunker shots. If I don't execute those shots correctly I get significant negative feedback.

Further "most important shots" can vary depending on whether one's goal is to go low for one round, multiple rounds, or achieve the lowest possible handicap. Course management involves making risk reward tradeoffs. One may get the lowest possible score on a hole for a single round by aiming straight at the pin, but get a lower aggregate score on that hole over multiple rounds by playing more conservative approach shots (e.g. aiming for the center of the green instead). With the riskier strategy, the approach shot is more important. With the conservative strategy, the first putt is more important than the approach.

I love these kinds of questions. We get them a lot in ski instructor clinics. It's easy to misinterpret these discussions as a quest for the "right answer" (even when the asker is looking for a "right answer"). For these kinds of questions, the right answer is never more important than the discussion. It's the discussion that increases one's understanding of the sport regardless of the answers.
post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete No. Idaho View Post
For me personally it is putting - I miss so many putts it is sometimes just bewildering.
Well, you know ...., you are already expected to miss half your putts when you shoot par golf. Look at how many the pros miss. Now consider two things:
-These guys are skilled
-They play on greens that are well maintained.

We had an article in the local paper here last year where a tour pro played with a hack writer at a local muni. His percentage of made putts dropped a ton and he noted that he was surprised that anyone could putt well on public courses.

Now if you really want to get bewildered, check out Dave Pelz's putting handicap (click on putting stations).
post #23 of 23
The 3 to 10 foot putt. If you two putt every green, your handicap will drop faster then getting a 300 yard drive. Not as fun, but it has more impact.
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