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Ken Tannar, PGI Creator








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Probable Golf Instruction

Thanks for supporting Probable Golf Instruction. This is the first of my series on the shortgame; from putting to chipping to wedge play. If you have any specific questions related to the topic that you'd like answered, join my PGI Member Select Club. I'll answer all your golf questions related to your own, unique golf game in a prompt, thorough fashion.

May PGI Contest

During the month of May, any newsletter subscriber that makes a purchase from my site will be entered into a draw to win a copy of the book, Swing Machine Golf, a $60 value. Download any of my PGI Golf Tips or Reports. Buy a copy of the CD, Hit Down Dammit! or a supply of Stinger Tees.

You owe it to your game to make the best of your abilities; become " Master of Your Own Game". Stand out and improve, without hitting any balls!!

Here's to a long lasting life of great golf!

My latest study is finished. See some of the details of the reports HERE.

A Brief Message       May 18/04

  • Ken here from Probable Golf Instruction. In my last newsletter, I explained how golf ball backspin affects distance. Review the newsletter here.
  • In this issue, I'll lay down the foundation of the importance of a good short game. In future issues, I'll explain methods and strategies you can use to improve your short game effectiveness.
  • About 7 weeks ago, I received a copy of Swing Machine Golf. The author, Paul Wilson, uses a unique teaching method with his students. He has been featured a number of times on The Golf Channel. He models his teaching swing after the machine, Iron Byron. His emphasis is on simplicity. I think it is an excellent book (one of the best I've read). I think you'd be impressed, too. Take a look at it here, Swing Machine Golf
  • Have you played any matches yet? Do you find you are at a real disadvantage on some holes because you don't get a shot or have to give away a shot? It could be your holes' difficulty rankings do no reflect reality of how golfers play them. Find out your course's true hole rankings here.
The Short Game Part 1: Statistical Significance

Read other Parts from the Technology and Distance series here, Archives.

If you'd like one on one explanations about the topic, sign up for the PGI Member Select Club and I'll answer all your questions in a prompt, thorough fashion. Now on to this week's topic.

I. The Statistical Significance of the Short Game

     Most golfers are aware of the importance of a good short game. Or, are they? When given limited time to practice, what would you rather do for practice? Practice your chipping, sand play, putting, or hit balls on the range, especially with the driver. Most golfers don't put enough practice time into the short game. I think it's partly because they really don't appreciate its significance. I'll lay out its real statistical significance here.

     A lot has been written about statistics of PGA Tour players over the years. Very little has written about the average player (by far, the majority of golfers). One of my latest studies focuses on this topic by comparing players of various handicaps. See more here. One of the best studies I've read was done by L.J. Riccio in 1990. It was published in the first "Scientific Congress of Golf" volume and was titled, "Statistical Analysis of the Average Golfer."

     In his study, Riccio, he included a vast number of scores from players whose abilities ranged from shooting on average 71 to 99. For the purposes of this discussion, I'm going to use the data to compare a player that averages 79 with a player that averages 91.

Average Score 79
Average Score 91
Greens in Regulation GIR
% Fairways Hit
Iron Accuracy %
Shots no well hit
Putts per round

The 79 shooter hits significantly more greens, partly because he hits more fairways to begin with; he simply strikes the golf ball better because of a better, more consistent swing. You'd think, however, that the 91 shooter would have fewer putts. Since he misses most greens, would he not then chip or wedge his ball closer to the hole than the 79 shooter would from the fairway? The fact is that the 91 shooter shoots 91 because he doesn't hit the ball as well, but, more importantly, he is even worse at recovering from missed greens.

      Here's an interesting experiment to try. If you're a low handicapper, play with a high handicapper, and vice-versa. Once the low handicapper has made an attempt at hitting the green, have the high handicapper complete the hole. Likewise, once the high handicapper has made an attempt at hitting the green (this may be 3rd or 4th shot), have the low handicapper complete the hole. Do this on each hole and see what the total scores are? You'll find that the low handicapper's ball will score much higher than normal as the high handicapper's ball will score much lower.

     Better players have better short games. Better players are better players because they have better short games. In terms of time investment, all players will lower their scores more significantly by working on their short games than their long games, especially higher handicappers. It would take significant practice for a 91 shooter to improve his swing and technique enough to go from hitting 2 greens (11%) a round to 4 greens (22%) a round.  An 11% reduction is short game shots would be much easier to realize.

     Good players have good short games. A good short game is even more important to a good player for consistent scoring. A 79 shooter takes on average 31.7 or 32 putts, which is 40% of his total strokes. A 91 shooter averages 35.7 or 36 putts, which is 39% of his total strokes. Putting is the most important aspect of the short game. It is your putting that can save the day. Putting is what all players should spend the most time trying to improve. Do you?

     In coming weeks, I'll lay out some ways that you can improve your short game. My emphasis will be, of course, on providing you with information that will enable you to make better decisions on what kind of shot to play, and how to play it. I'll also share some of the swing/stroke techniques I use to maintain my 2 handicap, even though I rarely practice anymore.


Purchase my Longest Golf Ball Report (over 250 sold so far) in which I statistically analyze distances of over 70 different golf balls with differing constructions. The balls were hit using a mechanical hitting machine.

Play with my Driver Distance Calculator. You can input such variables as loft and clubhead speed to determine the optimum loft. I'll be adding to it soon so that you can input different golf ball parameters such as speed and spin.


A list of resources that have been used to produce this newsletter can be found on my website here.

The next newsletter's topic will be on reading putts (break and distance). If you have any questions ahead of time, send me an email.

The focus of my site is to utilize science and math to lower your score. New technology is one way to achieve this, but to be honest, the technology is one small piece of the puzzle.

To actually improve significantly, we all need to:

1. Improve our swings using CD Interactive, Hit Down Dammit!

2. Learn how to swing simpler like the Iron Byron with the great coffee table book, Swing Machine Golf!

3. Improve our physical fitness and strength.
The Golf Trainer Power Performance Programô

4. Improve our mental games. Golf Mind Software

5. Improve our Probable Golf games. Learn how to make better choices on the course through knowing how shot patterns and reading the elements and course better.

Click on the links above to take a look at ways that I personally use myself and recommend you try as well.

Hope I provided some useful ways for to become better prepared for you best golf season ever.

Ken Tannar


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