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Saturday, April 6, 2013

March Madness Sparks Putting Advice

Two outstanding golf instructors, Pelham head pro Mike Diffley and Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Tom Patri, have some March Madness thoughts about golf, basketball, and life.

Diffley points out that there's a real co-relation between foul shots and putting when it comes to who wins the most.  In college hoops, Davidson College was best in the nation this season, making 80% from the line and landing a spot in the NCAA Round of 64. The average Division 1 team sank 69%.  The NBA's best is the Oklahoma City Thunder with an 83% record against the average pro team's 75%.

Tom Patri
Tom Patri
How does this relate to golf? Diffley points out that a four-foot putt is pretty equivalent to a foul shot. The PGA Tour average from that distance is 87% and the normal scratch golfer will put 80% of them in the can.  Nobody keeps stats on slugs like you and me, but you can bet us double-digit handicappers aren't doing that well.

Tiger Woods is currently #1 in Strokes Gained Putting and atop the World Rankings again. Kevin Durant of the Thunder is the #1 Foul Shooter in the NBA--and the leading scorer in the league as of this writing. Diffley observes, "We all know the highest scorer does not always mean the best player, but it's pretty close. In golf, the lowest scorer is the best player and putting is the quickest way to lower scoring!  The player who practices correctly and competitively and can enter the zone (their own world) will be successful."

Patri, who runs his own golf academy in Naples, FL, compares missing a four-footer to an un-forced error in tennis. "It simply shouldn't happen!" according to him.  Why do they? "The P-word," he says. "Practice. If you don't put in the time you have no right to expect anything."  He pushes discipline in your practice: "Practice doesn't make perfect...perfect practice does. You need routine, routine, routine."  He adds, "You also need a belief system. All the practice in the world is worth zero unless in your heart and between your legs you don't believe you belong at the top."

Diffley adds some advice for this weekend and next: "The Final Four and the Masters are a sports fans nirvana, but try to get outside and DVR the sports!"

Among many other books, Dave Donelson is the author of Weird Golf: 18 tales of fantastic, horrific, scientifically impossible, and morally reprehensible golf

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