Golf IQ

Want to break 80? These 4 tour pros have some useful advice for you

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We're fresh off Players Championship week, which was a stonking good tournament to watch. But from a media perspective, one of the most useful parts comes on the Wednesday before the tournament, when the tour sends its Players Championship first-timers out for some impromptu press interviews.

Coffee-in-hand, I braved the early-morning wake-up call (please, don't call me hero) to ask a slate of these first-timers a simple question:

"What's one piece of good advice for the Golf IQ readers who want to break 80, consistently?"

Here's what they said...

1. Roll the ball up from around the greens

Matti Schmid's advice comes after seeing his avid golfer mother make the same mistake too many times...

"I play with my mum a lot, and I'm shaking my head all the time. Most of the time it's the wrong club selection. When she's close to the pin or has an uphill chip, she leaves it short. When she's far from the pin or has a downhill chip, she leaves it long . . . Pros putt from off the green as much as they can. Amateurs always think it's the sand wedge. You'll do better with your putter, or bump-and-running an iron."

2. Avoid disasters with your wedges

Chan Kim says distance control in the scoring zone, under 100 yards, is where you need to focus.

"If you're shooting in the 80s you're probably hitting the ball pretty decent. But when I play with those guys, I'll see them take four or five strokes to get into the hole from in front of the green. Most of the times, it's distance control. Putting pace on long putts. Getting it anywhere on the green from inside 100 yard shots. You don't need to get up-and-down every time. But you need to be good enough to give yourself a look, every time."

3. Aim for the middle of the green EVERY TIME

Sami Valimaki says Greens in Regulation is the most important stat. The more the better, and don't forget it.

"Hitting more Greens in Regulation, that's the most important. I think sometimes I see people get a little comfortable from close range, say 100 yards and in, and then they start missing easy greens. Aim at the middle of the green every time. Give yourself two putts. The more you can do that, it will make golf so much easier."

4. Tee it low, hit it low off the tee

Vincent Norrman thinks too many amateurs toss away shots with pointless drives. High bombs are fun, but low runners pay the bills.

"I think hitting lower shots, especially off the tee. A more compressed flight would help a lot of people. I see a lot of amateurs get out of the shot. It goes high and right and they're out of the hole. Teeing it a little lower with your driver, trying to compress it more with your irons, it's quite crucial. I think golfers will see a big difference the more they do that."

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