It’s All About Scoring

August 28, 2009 Stan Utley 1258 2 Comments

The art of scoringThe short game really is all about scoring. It’s simple math. On a typical par-72 layout, a scratch golfer will usually take 36 shots to get from the tees to greens, and another 36 shots or putts when they reach the greens. Now, it’s seldom for even the best players in the world to hit 100 percent of the greens in regulation (GIR), so it’s not always as easy as saying “I’ll hit 36 shots  and 36 putts today.” Believe me I wish it was. Anyway, where I am going with this is that the short game – putting, chipping and bunker play – accounts for more than 50 percent of a player’s strokes during any given round. That being said, the quickest way to “score low” or improve your scoring is to get better at your short game. For the most part, all golfers at the professional level seem to play relatively even from tee to green. However, what separates them is their abilities to get the ball in the hole from 50 yards and in. In a nutshell, that was the basis for my new book. I wanted this book to be a catchall for any and all useful tips or techniques that  cater to helping golfers of all skill levels “score low.”

When I started writing this book, The Art of Scoring, I realized very quickly how easy it is for my students to get so hung up on the mechanics of the swing, feet/hand positions, alignment and all the other really important things that make a difference in success or failure on the golf course, that they forget about how it all comes together.

The Art of Scoring is intended to show golfers how to understand the way their short game handicap and overall skill level should dictate course-management. By breaking down pitching, chipping, bunker play and putting into three categories, I tried to simplify the game by creating techniques for saving shots by simply thinking smarter.

I am extremely proud of the work that my co-author, Golf Digest’s Matthew Rudy and I have done on the book. It was a lot of hard work but I truly believe that the end result was worth the effort. I hope that my sincere passion for teaching others shines through in The Art of Scoring and provides a platform for taking the nightmares out of your game.

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2 Comments Leave New
Tim Liddy September 30, 2009

I love your system but have found a few issues and would appreciate a response.

First, I have read both of your books and the posture lessons and relationships of the arms and putter shaft have really helped me. But, I have found an offset putter makes it hard for me to aim straight (tend to aim right). What do you think of putters with no offset?

Second, as a 6 handicap I feel the only way to get better is to be more precise with my short game. At 56 years old do you think a belly putter will help my game – less moving parts. It seems, like many amatuers, I fight using the arms too much and not the shoulders.

Finally, I have found trying to control distance with the putter by using the soft right elbow is not very consistent for me. Am I missing something with your system? Some instructors have told me your system requires too much practice and is only for the elite player. Thanks in advance for your response?

    Stan Utley September 30, 2009


    Thanks for the comment. First things first: I would never say that what I share is best for everyone. As for aiming…there are definitely effects on how you aim based on the putter head shape and the angle the shaft enters the putter head. Lie angle can also affect aim. If you have a chance to try a few different styles of putters, my guess is you will find the best fit for you.

    As for using a belly putter, I think it is a great way to go. I would challenge you to at least take a few putts with a different approach to using the belly putter though. My thought is since you have the grip end anchored, why wouldn’t you try and stay still about the anchor? If you try this correctly you will feel very “wristy,” and your elbows will need to stay soft. At least give it a try and compare it to your thoughts about an “all shoulders” approach.

    Lastly, let me address your issue of soft elbows causing inconsistent efforts. When I am watching a student I am looking for proper sequencing. The putter head should swing the greatest length and as you move up the shaft into the hands, elbows, body, and shoulders, things move less. For sure they all do move. I truly believe if you find proper sequence your consistency will increase and the need to practice more would not be an issue.

    Obviously you understand it is always better to have your pro’s eyes sharing feedback with you than me typing on a Blackberry:-)