A lesson from Langer as DJ Masters Augusta

Dustin Johnson completed a very impressive performance at The Masters to win with a new record low score. And, whilst Bryson DeChambeau gained the pre-tournament headlines with how far he hits the ball, he failed to live up to the hype.

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Here is what he (DeChambeau) said before the tournament started…

“I’m looking at it as a par 67 for me because I can reach all the par fives in two, no problem. If the conditions stay the way they are, that’s what I feel like par is for me.”

But DeChambeau swiftly added: “That’s not me being big-headed. I can hit it as far as I want to, but it comes down to putting and chipping out here. That is one of the things I think people sometimes struggle to see.”

No player before this year had ever gone around Augusta in a total of 268 for four rounds.

The tournament record was 270 (-18) set by Tiger Woods in 1997 and matched by Jordan Spieth in 2015.

So, according to DeChambeau’s par rating; Dustin won with a score of level par, whereas Bryson finished on +18.

I don’t mean to take anything away from DeChambeau, I think he is great for the game. It’s wonderful to have such characters and to be honest, I enjoy seeing him push himself to hit the ball further and further. Tell me you wouldn’t go and watch him play if you had the chance?

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The distance game

It would be wrong to assume, based on the outcome of this Masters, that hitting the ball a long way is not so important. Dustin is very long too… just take a look at his ‘stock’ yardages as published recently by golf.tv in comparison to mine.

These are ‘carry’ distances and not total

All the more impressive is that Dustin is playing with a set of Taylormade P730 DJ Prototype irons, set at traditional lofts rather than the modern, stronger lofts, I have highlighted in the past.

His 7 iron is 35 degrees compared to a Callaway Mavrik Max 7 iron at 30 degrees.

There is no doubt that to compete on tour you need to hit the ball a long way these days.

Though don’t get me wrong it was great to see Bernard Langer become the oldest player to make the cut. The 1985 and 1993 Masters winner surpassed former record-holder Tommy Aaron by just over a month. Langer did it at 63 years, 2 months, 18 days old while Aaron was 63 years, 1 month, 16 days in 2000

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Cool stat….
In his Open Championship debut in 1976, Langer played with Gene Sarazen who was born in 1902. This week, he played with 18-year-old amateur Abel Gallegos, born in 2002, who missed the cut.

Langer is proof that it is not all about distance, but the truth is it would be highly unlikely, I’d say nearly impossible for Langer to win the event.

Having played with the big hitters of DeChambeau and McIlroy over the weekend, here is what Langer had to say…

“Every once in a while I had to tell myself, ‘Stop watching and play your game. Focus on what you want to do,’” Langer said. “I got to experience the longest guys in the world right now, and it’s quite amazing.”

And there is a lesson for all you golfers out there. You have to learn to play your own game, especially if you are playing with someone who hits it miles past you.

“Even though I’m bombing it by him, he’s still playing better than me,” DeChambeau said. “That’s the cool part about the game of golf. You can shoot a score whatever way you want, and he’s able to do it still at his age.”

DeChambeau added: “He’s an unbelievable iron player. He grinds over everything.”

Average Driving Distance at the Masters this year:
Bryson DeChambeau 328.88 yards
Rory McIlroy 314.75 yards
Dustin Johnson 306.5 yards
Bernhard Langer 259.62 yards

Summary…

It is not about how far you hit the ball but understanding your game and knowing how far you hit is extremely important.

Top tip…

Book a Gap Test on a launch monitor to get your distances with each club – this can be game-changing and is something you should do at least once a year.

Click here to check the next availability for a Gap Test at Dunes in Fraserburgh

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How to improve your scores…

Improve your scores – guaranteed!
Your ability to score is significantly influenced by your ability to minimise the number of putts per round.
But it is not simply a case of going out there and practicing your putting!

Did you know?…The leading money winner on the PGA Tour (Dustin Johnson) last year only made 58.87% from the 5-10 foot range. Bubba Watson only made 46.09%.

If any amateur golfer can average over 50% over the course of a season from this critical scoring range, I would very much like to meet them!

In the words of Dave Pelz, short game coach to the world’s top players,
“If you want to score, the most important “game” to improve is your short game. Second most important is your putting game. And the least important is your power-swing, ball striking game, the game you’ve been practicing all these years!”

Here is why…
Dave Pelz places the short game (this is chipping and pitching) above putting because all the stats show that how close you hit it to the hole has a significant impact upon how many putts you take.

Take a look at the 2016 season putting stats from current World Number One, Dustin Johnson.

Notice how the percentage success rate from outside 10ft drops off a cliff. Outside of 15ft Dustin doesn’t make many putts at all!

This means all golfers will benefit hugely by hitting the ball closer to the hole from 110 yards and in.

Practice is not just about hitting ball after ball and spending a lot of time at it – in fact it is entirely not that! Good practice is about being deliberate with what you are doing and to make practice more like your play.

We have developed some superb practice games that will guarantee you lower scores on the course. The first of these is called ‘Target Pitching’.

Very simply, you play 5 balls from 20 yards and score points depending how close to the hole you finish. This is repeated at 10 yard intervals right out to 110 yards. Important: We highly recommend using your normal ‘match’ balls for this game as we do not want to create extra variables by changing the ball type. So, if you normally play a Titleist ProV1 make sure you have five, in good condition, for this game.

Add up your score total on the score sheet provided and each time you play you should try to beat your best ever score.
You can only play the game once in a day and, if you start-off badly, you are not allowed to start again!

A more advanced way to play the game is to play with just one ball from each distance and to randomise the order in which you play each shot. This makes it even more like your play!

The Golf Studio at Dunes provides highly accurate distance information and is ideal for playing this game and it means you can use a brand new ball as you can get it back each time.

Wedge Fitting at Dunes Golf Centre

Over the last 15-20 years the manufacturers have strengthened the lofts on Iron sets meaning the Pitching Wedge has strengthened from 52° to 45°. In fact, the Pitching Wedge on one new set of Irons is 44°. That is a three club length gap to the Sand Wedge.

No wonder we haven’t seen a drop in scores despite the longer tee shots. With a gap between the Pitching Wedge and Sand Wedge (which they couldn’t strengthen as we needed that loft to get out of bunkers) extended to 11°, in the scoring zone you are effectively playing with a Sand Wedge and 8 Iron!

If you want a better short game, as a minimum you must do the following: get very good at playing 1/2, 5/8 or 3/4 and 7/8 Pitching Wedge shots and, as I would also recommend, you put a 50 or 52° Wedge in your bag.
This Wedge (the ‘Gap’ Wedge to fill the gap the manufacturer’s have created between the PW and SW) will make it much easier for you to play better shots into greens.

CLICK HERE TO BOOK A  FITTING AT DUNES GOLF CENTRE

I currently carry 3 wedges; They are a 48° wedge, a 52° Gap wedge and a 56° Sand wedge. I feel this gives me the versatility around the greens that I require although the inclusion of a 60° Lob wedge could also prove beneficial.

We are a Custom Fitting Centre for Cleveland Golf with a cart that carries all of the different heads and shaft combinations. We also have fitting clubs that you can try from Callaway, TaylorMade, Ping, Mizuno and Orka.

What wedges do you carry?
We have a loft and lie machine and will gladly check your loft gaps FREE of charge! It only takes us a few minutes to do by using our special Loft and Lie machine. We can also talk to you about what distance gaps you have in your set as well as what bounce angles would suit you best – are you a Digger or a Sweeper?

If you want to make 2017 your best and most enjoyable year on a golf course we suggest you come for an assessment lesson at Dunes Golf Centre. It is open to golfers of all ages and levels of ability and is a fantastic learning experience costing from just £20 for the 60 minute session.

Telephone 01346 510693 to book or go to www.dunesgolfcentre.co.uk

SUMMER OPENING HOURS
We are pleased to announce that the Golf Centre is back on Summer opening hours so we are now 7 days a week:
Monday to Friday 10am to 8pm
Saturday 9am to 4pm
Sunday 10am to 4pm

Please note: The café is not going to be open on a Sunday until April 2017