By Paul Myers
The ability to save par, or even bogey, after getting off track somewhere during a given hole is a skill that can come in handy during each and every round that you play. No golfer hits all of the greens in regulation, so it is imperative that you are able to get up and down from around the green as frequently as possible. Tracking your performance in this part of the game is a helpful way to see what skills you need to work on in order to lower your scores.
On the PGA Tour, the scrambling statistic simply measures the percentage of missed greens that a player still records a par or better score. So, if the player missed six greens during a round, and saved par three times, they would be scrambling at a 50% rate. For the best players in the world, like Chad Collins who is saving par at a Tour-best 74.85% clip, this system works fine. For you, however, it might be best to tweak the formula to get a better picture of your chipping and short putting skills.
A Slight Twist
Rather than considering your final score on the hole, which could bring into play things like penalty shots or other mistakes, simply keep track of how frequently you get up and down from around the green (other than bunkers – that is a different stat). When you have the chance to chip or pitch from around the green, note that on your scorecard, as well as whether or not you were successful. Keep a log of this data somewhere, and use it to evaluate your performance as time goes by. It will likely take at least a handful of rounds before you have a good impression of how you are doing in this regard. Shooting for 50% up and down rate is a good place to start, and you can hope to improve from there.
One of the most important things you can do to improve your up and down performance actually has nothing to do with your chipping or putting – it deals with your approach shots. By not putting your ball in bad situations around the green, you will quickly improve your percentage without changing anything else about your game. It is okay to miss some greens during a round, but do your best to miss them in the right spots. That means putting the ball below the hole when you can, so that the chip shots you face are uphill instead of downhill. Also, avoiding heavy rough and keeping your ball on the fairway cut will make these shots easier as well. By picking smart target lines and staying away from the real bad spots around the green, you can quickly make your up and down percentage improve.