Charles Schwab Challenge

Colonial Country Club

Golf IQ

This '30 percent' mistake is killing your score—and causing blow up holes



Blow up holes. We all know them, and we all hate them. For as much as we love making birdies — and want to make even more of them — lowering your handicap really depends on the opposite. How good you are at avoiding mistakes. It's the blow up holes that ruin your scorecard, your handicap, and your happiness.

And what causes blow up holes? They're what I call "disaster" shots.

That's what we're diving into in our next batch of episodes in the Golf IQ podcast. Each episode is only about 10 minutes. You can listen to the most recent below (and subscribe right here!)

To break this down, we asked our friends over at Arccos to pull a few stats that measure disaster shots off the tee. For all of these we measured golfers with a handicap between 15 and 25 (AKA, golfers who shoot around in the low 90s).

Here's what we found...

Disaster stat #1: Massive misses

The first stat we discussed were drives that missed the center of the fairway by more than forty yards in either direction. According to Arccos, golfers fail to hit it inside that 80 yard window (which is almost the size of a football field), more than 12 percent of the time.

Of course, when you miss your drives by that much, you're probably going to end up in trouble, which brings us to our next stat...



Disaster stat #2: Penalty drives

As for how many wayward drives actually end up in some kind of penalty

According to Arccos, that happens just over eight percent of the time. Considering most golf courses have 14 non par-3 holes, it means that 90s shooters average hitting at least one drive per round into OB or a hazard.

Disaster stat #3: Virtual penalty drives

But while the first two stats were bad, this one is the real killer for golfers: Golfers hit their drive into a spot that required some kind of recovery shot which prevents them from hitting the green (think punch out, a bunker shot, etc.) 22 percent of the time.

If you're keeping track, combine the last two disaster stats and it means that a whopping 30 percent of golfers' drives end up either end up in a penalty area, or in need of a recovery shot.

That's the 30 percent mistake, and the more you cut down on that, the better that'll be.

How to avoid the 30 percent mistake

There's no one-size-fits-all method to helping golfers. Ultimately, your goal is to avoid hitting your drive off the planet. You don't need to reinvent the wheel to do that, you just need to lower your expectations and remember that any drive in play is a good one.

A few things that can help with that:

Once again you can listen to the full episode (and subscribe) below: