Many years ago I remember hearing the wonderful coach John Jacobs say “golf is not about how good your good shots are but how good your bad shots are!” In some ways this is perhaps the reflection of consistent performances for a lot of golfers. But let’s make it clear all golfers of all levels hit bad shots even the best golfers in the world.
Certainly when looking at the techniques of swing movements one of the prime considerations will be to do with the “big miss” or what happens to this swing when it breaks down. To give a simplified example – a golfer has a strong grip and a swing path that is very much from in-to-out. This will not stop a golfer getting good results however the likely outcome when it gets out of sync or gets put under pressure is the ball is going to hook. The response maybe an alteration to the technique or a management routine depending on the player’s motivations and time etc. Nick Faldo & Padraig Harrington made major changes to their technique during their careers as they felt their swings would not give them success in majors largely due to effect of the “bad shot” in their previous swing techniques. Tiger wood’s time spent with the coach Hank Haney was very much to focus on eliminating the “big miss”.
This does not mean everybody needs to alter swings. I think first it’s worth looking at your game in a broad perspective and consider your score able shots and the type of errors that negate your potential to score.
Tee shots –do you put the ball in play? (This does not necessarily mean the fairway) or Do you consistently waste shots by having to play back out of trouble or incur penalty shots?
Are your tee shots long enough to reach greens in regulation (GIR)? Or Are you constantly playing from too far back?
Approach shots – Do you hit enough greens in regulation because you control your distances & good strategy decisions? Or Do you miss a lot of greens short or long?
Chip shots – Do you chip the ball to within 5 feet of the hole often enough? Or Do you miss greens with your chip/pitch shots?
Sand shots – Are you effective enough at putting the ball within a reasonable proximity of the hole? Or Do you leave the ball in the sand or miss the green with these shots?
Putts – Do you 1 putt regular enough from 4 – 10 feet? Or 3 putt from under 30 feet away?
As stated from the beginning even the best players in the world are going to make mistakes, they are going to 3 putt, they will miss greens with chip shots on the odd occasion and of course the stats show that the average number of greens in regulation at the best levels is only between 13to 14 out of 18 greens. But if we are constantly making these errors and you want to improve your golf, then you need to either improve your strategy or improve your technique.