Lou Stagner's Newsletter #38

The Cost of Being Short-sided

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This Cost of Being Short-sided

I received a question last week from Jared M., a long time reader of the newsletter. He wrote:

“How much harder is it to score when you are short-sided?”

Thanks for the question Jared! It’s a good one.

The table below shows how much harder it is to score given how short-sided you are. The numbers at the top of each column represent the percent of green to work with.

How do you calculate the percent of green to work with? If you are 20 yards from the hole, and the the hole is cut 10 yards from the edge of the green, you have 50% green to work with.

If you are 10 yards from the hole, and the hole is cut 3 yards from the edge of the green, you have 30% green to work with.

Each number in the table represents how many additional strokes you will average compared to an “easy” shot from that distance (e.g., you have more than 70% green to work with).

The table is for 5-10 handicaps from the rough, but these numbers are “relatively” similar across skill levels.

You can see that from 13-15 yards, if you have 39% or less green to work with, that shot will have an average score that is 0.17 shots higher then if you had plenty of green to work with from that same distance.

My Thoughts

There is no definitive line in the sand as to when being short-sided gets harder. A decent rule of thumb is you start to see a noticeable difference in shot difficulty when you have 50% or less green to work with. When you get under 30%, it starts to be VERY challenging!

There are other factors that influence shot difficulty when you short-side it. What is the slope from the edge of the green to the hole? Is it running away from you? If it is, that shot will get harder.

Is it downwind? I know we only typically think of wind on our full shots, but when you have a pin tucked near the edge, pay attention to what direction the wind is blowing. If you short-side it and that chip shot is down wind, the shot will be harder.

Lastly, how much elevation change is there between the green and just off the green. The bigger the elevation change, the harder the shot gets. The dividing line here is about two feet of elevation change.

If you have a tucked flag and the green would be running away, and the wind will be down, and there is a decent amount of elevation change, you need to be VERY careful not to short-side it in this situation!

See you next week!


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    Have a great week!

Lou Stagner