Take 👏 more 👏 club👏

Even good golfers make this mistake all the time—but the fix is easy

December 13, 2022

Richard Newstead

There's one thing that almost every amateur golfer struggles with, and it hurts their game repeatedly.

That thing is quite simply missing short of their target.

We see it way too often. When a golfer is approaching the green, the smart money is on them coming up short. This is true even for the best amateur golfers. Scratch golfers.

According to a stat pulled from the Arccos database by our friend Lou Stagner, which you can see below, scratch golfers miss more than 20 yards short of the green almost 20 percent of the time. One-in-five shots, and that's from just 165 yard, and doesn't even account for all short misses. The longer the shot, the more shots end up short.

As for how to prevent yourself from missing short? There are two big things you can do.

1. Take an extra club!

Don't take my word for it, just ask Golf Digest Playing Editor Tom Watson. It was also a common theme in our recent "Suck Less at Golf" Golf Digest Schools series with Will Robins (check it out).

Golfers, through some combination of ego and ignorance, vastly overestimate how far they hit the ball. Simply taking one extra club than you think will reduce the amount of shots that end up short. Remember: More important than how far you hit the ball is knowing how far you hit the ball.

2. Practice making solid contact

The second reason golfers end up missing short so often is because unlike pros, who are incredibly consistent, amateur golfers don't always make solid contact. When they hit their irons a little chunky, or hit one out to the right, they'll probably end up short.

Golf Digest Top 50-ranked teacher Michael Breed has some good reminders that can help with this in the iron-pay section of his "Facts of Impact" series (which you can check out here).

Breed says that there are a few key checkpoints to keep in mind to create a solid impact position, and therefore more consistent iron shots:

  • The low point of your swing should be ahead of the ball.
  • The shaft leaning toward the target can help you control that low point.
  • That move will also help you impact the ball with a descending blow on the ball, which will improve your compression.