Improve Your GIR

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How does one break a seven-year winless drought on the PGA Tour? He goes out and hits nearly 80 percent of his greens in regulation, as Jerry Kelly did this past week in the Big Easy. Kelly posted only four bogeys in 72 holes to capture the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, his first triumph on Tour since the Advil Western Open in 2002.
 
Most recreational golfers would be happy to hit half of their greens over the course of 18 holes. Here’s how you can hit this percentage and boost it even higher. First and foremost, keep your tee shots in play. You’re not going to reach the green if you’re hacking out of the trees. After that, it comes down to making smart decisions. Don’t always fire at the flag because more often than not, it’s not going to suit your shot shape. If, for example, you like to cut the ball and the pin is located on the far left portion of the green, you’re going to have to aim off the green (probably over trouble) to hit your target. That’s a tough deal. Instead, aim at the left edge of the green and bring the ball back to the middle of the green. Unless you’re a highly skilled player, your goal should be to land the ball anywhere on the green. If most amateurs played the game as if there were no flags on the green, they’d shoot lower scores. Guaranteed.
 
Finally, evaluate the distance before you pull a club. Is the shot playing uphill or downhill? Into the wind or downwind? How’s my lie? The GPS system or sprinkler head may say 150 yards but if the hole is uphill and into the wind it’s going to play more like 165 yards. Once you’ve factored in all of these conditions, commit to your target and fire away with confidence.