Helping hand: Paul Adams, left, with student Randy. *Photo by Nicola Muirhead
Helping hand: Paul Adams, left, with student Randy. *Photo by Nicola Muirhead

Randy, an employee at Tucker’s Point, and a newcomer to golf, was last week set a challenge by the club’s pro Paul Adams.

It was to learn to play the game in 20 hours, compete in the Bacardi National par 3 on January 17-18, to score respectably and to qualify for the World Par 3 Championship in March. So having had the challenge laid down, what’s next for Randy? 

Having helped Randy with his swing on the range, it appears  it’s fairly solid and really does not have any what I would term ‘swing faults’.

His stance, grip and swing plane all seem correct and he makes reasonable contact with the ball pretty much every time.

The problem is everyone thinks that to improve they need to hit the ball straighter and better. The issue is that no one does hit the ball that straight and consistently — even best players only hit the green two-thirds of the time and an average player should be happy with getting on the green in regulation just one-third of the time.

So if it is not hitting the ball better and straighter that I need to help Randy with, it’s the short game.

Again another problem is that everyone thinks their short game is okay , but when they actually test it for real they realize it really is anything but.

Every golfer has the ability to develop a short game equal to that of a touring professional. 

The key to improvement in your short game is to assess each individual area using a standardized testing format. 

Once complete this provides us with a short-game handicap for each of the six key areas tested. From this we are able to calculate an overall short game handicap. 

I will be undertaking this process with Randy, this way we can quickly identify key areas which require improvement. 

Studies have shown that the average golfer has over 50 per cent of their total strokes per round within 100 yards of the green — a very good reason to have your short game assessed!

The test requires you to  paint circles on the green. One from three feet and one at six feet. A putt that exceeds six feet has the chances of holing it fall to almost ZERO. 

So once you hit the ball outside six feet it does not matter whether it’s 15 or 50 feet from the hole.

There is a half circle to work on lag putting and controlling distance.

If you look at players with the best short game they are always the most consistent players. 

The Golf Challenge is a new weekly column. Paul Adams is director of golf at Tucker’s Point.