Michael Midgette, PGA Class A Instructor
If you’ve played this game long enough, or have even been paired up with some avid golfers, you have definitely heard the phrase, “Drive for show, Putt for dough.’ Well, whether if you have heard it or not, it’s really not that true. Yes, of course, putting does get the ball in the hole, however, if you are not in the fairway, setting up your approach shot properly, odds are you’ll be putting for par or bogey more times than you’d like.
In fact, while watching a PGA Tour event recently, they were reading statistics that players in the rough averaged almost half a stroke higher on a given hole than players who were hitting the fairways. That’s equivalent to almost 9 shots around!
I’m almost sure you’ve heard the phrase, “250 in the fairway is better than 300 in the rough.” This phrase definitely holds more truth than the previous one.
The importance of tee shots being in good position to set up an approach is extremely important, and here’s a great example:
This week, during the Shell Houston Open, I watched Player A, on a 368 yard hole, pull his hybrid out, knock it down the fairway, while his playing partner, Player B, who was known as a long hitter, pulled out the driver and hit it about 40 yards from the green… in the right rough (and the rough wasn’t too penal). Player A knocked his approach on the green 20 feet below a back-right hole location, while Player B had a delicate shot to a flag with a big slope carrying golf balls away from the hole about 10 feet behind it. Player B actually hit a great shot, but because he was in the rough (lie was not bad at all), he was unable to spin the ball enough to get it to stop on the green, and subsequently, the ball found the slope and rolled about 30 yards over the green.
Here are a few suggestions on driving the ball:
- You don’t have to always pull out the driver. If there is trouble you can reach, such as a fairway bunker or trees through the fairway on a dogleg, take out a shorter club.
- There are a couple of reasons:
- If you’re aware of the trouble, and know there’s a possibility of reaching it, you will subconsciously end up steering the ball off the tee, causing a mishit, or ending up in the trouble after all.
- When you have a club in your hand that you know won’t put you into trouble, you will make a better, more aggressive swing, causing better contact and ultimately putting yourself in a better position to play the hole.
- Keep your stats!
- Unsure of how many fairways and greens your hitting? Keep track of that on your scorecard. “But Mike, we use the scorecard for our foursome, there won’t be enough room.” I have an idea, grab your own scorecard for this purpose.
- Mark it like this:
Keep a consistent routine and a consistent swing thought process.You could even write down an R or L (Right or Left) on your missed fairways to keep track of where your misses are and to give you an idea of what you need to work on while you practice (Tip: you can do this for Greens in Regulation, too).
- Consistency in your golf game doesn’t come from hitting thousands of golf balls. Consistency comes from hitting golf balls THINKING about the same thing. During your next round, I challenge you to think about one thing that works for you, WITHOUT ABANDONING IT because of a couple bad shots.
- If you’re not sure what to think about, here’s a few that might work and I encourage you to try on the range:
- Keep an even tempo.
- Make a full swing and hold your finish until the ball lands.
- Don’t try to kill the ball; make a smooth, accelerating swing THROUGH the ball, not AT the ball (try to feel like the fastest part of the golf swing is just after impact).
- Feel like you’re only trying to hit the ball half as far as you normally do. This will encourage better contact and you’ll find the ball goes just as far.
- Loose arms and grip (AS LOOSE AS POSSIBLE), stable lower body (feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart), and use your upper body (shoulders and torso) as much as possible to swing the club.
Utilize these tips, and you should be finding the fairway more often, hitting more greens, and lowering those scores.
P.S. A little short game and putting practice never hurt anyone either, don’t neglect that part of the game as a result of this article.
Michael Midgette, PGA
Phone: (646) 739.2227
Certified in Teaching and Coaching
I am originally from New York, born on Long Island, and grew up playing ice hockey, always wanting to play in the NHL. I didn’t show an interest in golf until the 2002 US Open was at Bethpage State Park, when I was 15 years old (turned 30 in OCT ’17) I immediately fell in love with the game after watching the best in the world that week, and went straight to the driving range down the street after the completion of the first round. That winter, I attended a week-long holiday camp in Hilton Head Island conducted by the International Junior Golf Academy. They pitched the idea to my parents and me of attending their boarding school for the rest of the school year. So, I stopped playing hockey I got all signed up, finished my junior and senior year of high school there, attending classes in the morning, then receiving instruction in the afternoons, and playing nationwide in junior golf tournaments once or twice a month.
Before I continue, my appreciation for the sacrifices my parents made in order for me to attend such a place goes beyond any words I can come up with. Without them, and their relentless support, I would not be where I am today. I had a successful junior career, winning multiple times in the MetPGA Section Junior Tournaments, winning the Long Island PubLinks in 2008 on Bethpage Black, following that up with a runner-up finish in 2010 (losing in a playoff after rounds of 76-70). After graduating high school, I attended Coastal Carolina University’s Professional Golf Management Program, took a year off to become a first-team all-American with Nassau Community College, finishing fourth individually at NJCAA nationals in 2009. I then finished up at Coastal Carolina with my Class A membership to the PGA in 2011.
That’s when I turned professional, and have been competing in mini-tour events worldwide since. My lowest professional tournament round is 65 (6x), I have won 4 times on the MinorLeague Tour in South Florida (most recently Nov 6, 2017), finishing top 15 on their money list in 2013, and my best finish on the SwingThought Tour is a solo 2nd (67-74-68), coming earlier in 2017.
I have been working with an instructor in Myrtle Beach, SC by the name of Alasdair Dyer, whom I started training with in 2012. He has been my coach, mentor, and a great friend ever since. I get the question sometimes, “wait, Mike, aren’t you a teaching professional?” Yes, I am. “Aren’t you Certified in Teaching and Coaching?” Yes, I am. But I also believe that the journey never stops. Golf is a lot like life, it is a game where you can (and should) learn something new every day, and even the best players in the world have a coach. I never want to stop learning, and taking swing advice from someone who has been doing this for 20+ years, coaching everyone from beginners to tour professionals, and is definitely someone I can learn from for a very long time.that driving range I mentioned previously? The one I went to after the first round of the US Open? Well, that’s where my goal of playing on the PGA Tour was developed, and that’s also where my goal of opening my own golf academy started as well. I started teaching there in 2015, outside of competition. I was able to grow my clientele to over 200 golfers in 2.5 years and taught over 1,000 lessons (full swing, short game, playing lessons, etc.). Just as a testament to my work ethic, I was not only working as a teaching professional and trying to maintain a competitive level golf game but on the side, I worked at a deli 5 times a week and delivered pizza on the weekends until I grew my clientele enough to support myself. Most recently, I received my Certification in Teaching and Coaching in July of 2017. Teaching has truly become just as big of a passion of mine as playing the game has. Unfortunately, the driving range I grew up at and started my teaching career at, shut down operation shortly after I received my certification, which forced me to make a decision of where to go to next.
I am now in south Florida, playing competitively, and bringing the golfing community tips and drills through multiple platforms, including GolfTrainingAids.Com and SelfieGolfUSA. I still one day would like to open my own all-inclusive golf learning center, but in the meantime, I have developed an extremely effective way for golfers of all abilities to learn and improve via the website that I designed, with my Online Golf Academy at GoGolfOnline.Com.
I am forever grateful for the opportunities I have been blessed with, the people I have met along the way, and really look forward to growing the game the best way I can. Thank you for taking the time to read my bio and I look forward to this journey with Golf Guide.
Go Golf. Play Better. TRUST THE PROCESS!