Las Vegas, Nevada (September 28, 2011)–The best thing about attending the functions surrounding a PGA Tour event are that you will pick up a tip to improve your game. That was the case early in the week when Charley Hoffman, a Las Vegas Golf Region resident, gave out one of his best scoring zone golf tips prior to the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. The golf instruction came during his Monday clinic prior to the playing of the Charley Hoffman Foundation Pro-Am at TPC Summerlin. Read on for this golf tip gem. –By Brian Hurlburt.
Basically, Hoffman discussed improving technique within short distances of the green. And he also debunked a myth that many amateurs have when playing par 5 holes. The myth? That it is better to lay up on a par 5 to a distance where you have a full shot into the green than lay up as close to the green as possible. Hoffman admitted that he was always a believer in the "full-shot theory", but a hint from James Sieckmann convinced him to change his mindset. Sieckmann told him that there is absolutely no doubt that you will hit it consistently closer to the flag the closer to the green you are when playing an approach shot. Hoffman works with Sieckmann and also Butch Harmon School of Golf pro Shawn Callahan.
Hoffman is one of several PGA Tour pros with ties to Las Vegas golf courses that plays and practices at TPC Las Vegas. Click now for the official website of TPC Las Vegas. You can reserve your online Las Vegas golf tee times and Las Vegas golf packages online for this Las Vegas resort golf course that is owned and operated by the PGA Tour.
Hoffman did admit that you must practice your technique at varying short distances to ensure that this theory works for you. He demonstrated a helpful drill that will help your short game. First, he placed several cones at different distances on the TPC Summerlin driving range (30-100 yards). He then talked about how you should hit shots to each target randomly to gauge which swing and club to use for each challenging, short distance. To make it more fun, he took audience requests for different distances and then hit shots close to the cones. Callahan, who assisted Hoffman during the clinic, said that if it isn't possible to put out cones, then golfers should seek out ranges that have varying targets. Or golfers can use golf balls that are already out on the range. A range finder helps to determine each yardage.
Hoffman said during the clinic that his improvement from short distances on par 5s is a big reason for his success of late. And also told the crowd that he never really consistently practiced those awkward distances until a couple years ago. He also cautioned that if there is water or bunkers or other hazards you need to be careful when just blasting away to get to as close to the green as possible. But, in general, it is always better to get as close to the green as possible.
The PGA Tour stats seem to back up Hoffman's new course strategy theory. In 2009, Hoffman ranked 52nd in par 5 scoring average on the PGA Tour. In 2010 that number improved to 3rd on the PGA Tour. He has dipped to 21st on the PGA Tour in that category in 2011.