GIR Is The Key To Lowering Your Score, Not FH As One Might Think

Ahhh, acronyms…the world is full of them and more so now than ever before.  There’s twitter and tweeting,  instant messaging and texting. People are even doing it in emails…LOL! Gone are the days of the instantly recognizable and mostly universal acronyms like ER, EKG, MPG, OMG, B2B, ETC. Now, in today’s world of instant everything and quick messages with ALL CAPS,  it takes spending a moment or two putting them into context in order to decipher the message. Not so for golfers! We’ve been doing the acronym thing for years and years. Give us a score card and send us on our way and we’ll mark it up so anyone can decipher our FH or GIR and even PPR (putts per round). And, although you won’t find it on the PGA or LPGA tour’s Stat page, how could we forget the ever popular and all time favorite acronym, UBU….Ugly But Useful.

So in the scheme of all things acronym, the question is, “what will help you lower your score…increasing the number of Fairways Hit (FH) or  increasing your Greens In Regulation (GIR)? In case you’re wondering, a FH is when all or part of the ball comes to rest on the fairway after hitting the tee shot. A GIR  is when the ball reaches the green in a number of strokes two fewer than par. I recommend that a player determine their own GIR based on their skill level and adjust accordingly. As an example, if a player scores on average, one over par on every hole, then GIR would be based on that number.

Now one might think that hitting more fairways would do the trick for lowering the score. After all, you have to get off the tee…right? And who doesn’t like a bomb of a tee shot! Well, the answer is actually getting on more greens in regulation. So what does that mean for the average golfer? The first thing it means is that we all have to set realistic expectations on how many greens we think we should hit. I always reference tour statistics when I talk about this with my clients. Keeping in mind that a PGA or LPGA tour player plays golf as a profession. It is what they do for work, they do it every day, they practice every day, they work with a coach weekly or monthly at the very least, and it is what they do to earn a living. They’ve been doing it for years and years as a profession and before that, they did it for fun with the idea that they might possibly do it as a profession. They golf all the time. That being said, how many GIR do you think the tour professional hits on average? Remember, they are professionals and this is all that they do. Is it sixteen or perhaps seventeen? Actually, the answer is a mere thirteen. Yes, that’s right, on average the tour professional only hits thirteen greens in regulation.

So, that begs the question…what should the average golfer expect if the average golfer works 40++ hours per week at their profession, maybe gets to the range once a week and plays once maybe twice on the weekends? Would 10 GIR be reasonable? 9 perhaps? Just as a sidebar….the player with the lowest GIR on the PGA tour in  2011 averaged 11 GIR per round ( he too is a professional playing golf for a living.)

Back to our question…how many greens in regulation do you think you should hit? How about setting your first GIR goal at 4. You can always change the number, but you need a place to start. See how you do with that, then go from there. If 4 GIR is easy for you, then make it 5. If you knock that out in the first round, then up you go. Start by setting reasonable expectations and build from there. In the end, the better you are at getting on greens in your regulation, the faster your scores will drop. IMHO, if you T+, you can LOL when your scores start dropping and your playing your best golf ever…HTH…B4N.


About Cathy

I am an LPGA Class A teaching professional with more than 20 years of experience. I've recently been selected as a Golf Channel Academy Coach. I have been listed as one of the best teachers in the country by Golf for Women Magazine, best teacher in state by Golf Digest and been nominated to the prestigious Top 100 Teacher list by Golf Digest. I offer whole game improvement plans and strategies that will help you achieve your goals. Whether you have a single digit handicap or you are just a beginner, I will help guide you to your success by creating a learning environment that is completely unique to you! I am one of only 30 people in the country certified by the Golf Coaches Association. I use V1, FlightScope and Boditrak technology.
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