I get this question often. How do I make more birdies? I wrote a blog post a while ago called Make More Birdies!!!! that talked about getting comfortable knowing that you need to make at least 5 birdies a round to be tournament competitive. However, that post didn’t give any advice on how to do it. Let’s address a common problem I see for very good golfers.
I see too many golfers trying to make birdie with their irons. By that, I mean they are trying to stuff it in every chance they get so they skip over the putt part of making the birdie. I think Jason Sutton wrote a nice post about red, yellow and green light pins. Here’s a link to his article. This post talks about how player’s will aim at every flag. As a player improves, there needs to be a point when they determine for themselves which opportunities to try and take advantage of. There also needs to be a point where they determine where is the best place on the green to be putting from.
Players need to learn that the best rounds come from making birdies with the putter and not the iron. Clearly, having an iron game that will allow you to hit specific places on the green is important but more attention needs to be paid to sinking more putts from the easy locations on the green even if they are a little farther away. Where to putt from is at least as important to birdie making as distance from the hole. I’ve seen many player’s miss 3 footers from the wrong side of the hole and ended up in a far worse situation than someone 10 feet from the hole but on the right side. Learn how to read the green from the fairway so you can choose a proper landing position. This will not only give your putter a chance to shine, it will also help prevent bogies. Many times, 3 putt bogies are due to poor iron play location and not necessarily poor putting.
Clearly, the par 5′s will provide the best chances for birdies. Good driving and wedge play become very important for making birdies here.
Just remember that you will more often shoot lower scores by making birdies with the putter vs. the irons.