It's time for a new episode of “Faith N Fairways” with the founder, Brad Thorberg, who after more than 16,000 lessons taught to over 2,000 golfers has discovered the most forgotten and overlooked part of your golf game that is keeping you from playing your most consistent and confident golf ever.
Now, here is your host, Brad Thorberg.
Brad Thorberg: Welcome back, friends. Brad here coming to you, getting into “Ball Toss for a Million.” We're in our breaking 90 series, “The Code to Breaking 90,” and today we're getting into part 2 of the code—the code “30, 30 and five.”
Last week, we talked about finding your safe place 30 yards from the edge of the green. Now we're talking about ball toss for a million. What on earth does that have to do with getting within 30 feet of the cup? This will unlock so much simplicity into your short game, it'll be mind-blowing for you as you tune in today. But the simplest way to start looking at your short game is as if you were tossing a ball for a million bucks.
If you had one chance to toss the ball as close as you could get it and tap it in to win a million dollars, how would you toss it? And that is how you should start treating your short game shots. And what you're going to find is it's so much easier to toss the ball low and get it rolling, and having control over that, than to try to toss the ball really high in the air and watch it pop on the green.
So many of us are used to watching the tour players. You see all these lofty chips and pitches around the green. One, they're playing incredibly firm and fast courses. Two, the TV can't show you the undulation. I mean, I've been to Augusta a couple of times, three times actually, to watch the Masters, and you have no clue how hilly that golf course is until you walk the property, which is unbelievable—I mean, that side tangent there, if you ever get the chance, you've got to go to the Masters. It is like heaven on earth—but undulation is so big there that that's why you're seeing these high lofty chips. Most of the courses we're playing, we don't have that kind of mounding and undulations and speed and firmness around greens.
So, you always want to start thinking keep the ball low, because if I put you on a flat piece of ground and I stuck a bucket out there, buried it in the ground and said, Get the ball in the bucket, you're probably not going to toss the ball six feet in the air and have it bouncing four or five times and then trickle in. You're probably going to just toss the ball about four inches off the ground and get it rolling as soon as you possibly can. Why? Because you have more control over direction and speed that way than throwing it way up in the air. So, we want to start looking at the second part of our code to breaking 90. The goal is to get it within 30 feet of the cup.
Now, we've already talked last week about how to position yourself within 30 yards of the putting surface to give you the simple chip. Right? We talked about how it's better to give yourself a whole lot of green [03:00] between you and the cup than to go after the pin and be shortsighted with very little green to work with, because it goes right into this—part 2 of the code: we want that amount of green, that excessive green space, to toss the ball low and get it rolling, because we have more control than trying to pop it up in the air. More things will go bad. The higher you have to hit it, the bigger the swing, which means the bigger the miss.
The bigger the swing, the bigger the miss. You need to remember that.
That goes all the way back to our first episode talking about swinging at 80 percent effort. When we can slow things down or shorten things up, our misses get smaller. And golf is a game of bad shots and the person with the better bad shots wins, right? So, if we can have our misses to be closer to the good, now, all of a sudden, we have the advantage.
So, you want to start thinking ball toss for a million. If you had a million bucks on the line, how would you toss this ball? Where would it land? Where would you like to putt from next? So, those are things you want to be thinking about.
It doesn't have to be at the flagstick. It doesn't even have to be on the green. Again, our goal is within 30 feet of the cup. So, it might be that your next best shot is to be 25 feet away just on the fringe over past the pin, because it's on a ridge or whatever, so you might be taking an angle that doesn't have anything to do with where the pin is at.
I remember watching Pádraig Harrington. I don't remember the year, but he won the PGA Championship I believe it was. It was one of the four majors. He was top 5 in the world at the time. So, he was one of the best golfers on the planet Earth, top 5 at that time in the world, in contention on Sunday at a major championship.
And I remember he positioned himself. He was shortsighted, right on the edge of a bunker on a downslope, super-tight lie to a highly elevated green. And, instead of trying to do some flopadopolis off his tight lie, I literally saw one of the best players on the planet grab his putter and putt around the bunker to the front, only to putt up and tap it in, and move on about his business. And I think it was a par-5, so I think he took par still, but he saved par. But he putted from off the green and he didn't even go at the hole. He went around the bunker. He putted it way out to the left and he lagged it up, and he knocked it in and moved on about his par, because he knew if he tried to flop it over that, a lot of bad could happen off a downslope tight lie and he hadn't been successful.
So, he was playing—again, the previous episodes—he was playing with what he had and what he was confident with, and he took a strategy that gave him the best chance to save par or to take double bogey out of play. And for you guys trying to consistently break 90, that's all we're trying to do. We're trying to take double out of play. We're trying to find what's the best way to make pars and bogeys.
So, when you start looking at this, when you start putting yourself 30 yards in that safe place when you're within 30 yards of the putting surface, how do we need to hit this next shot? For a lot of you, if you're close enough, you're probably better off with the putter than chipping, period. [06:00]
I remember, one of the only tips Jack Nicklaus got from Arnold Palmer before one of the U.S. Opens, and Jack was sitting there hitting a little chip and runs off the edge of the green, and Arnie came up and said, “What are you doing?”
He says, “Working on the chipping.”
He goes, “How do you feel it's going, Jack?”
He says, “I think it's going pretty good. They're pretty close.”
He goes, “You know, would that be an acceptable distance if you were using your putter from the same spot?”
It was like an aha moment for Jack Nicklaus, to putt from off the green.
So, for a lot of you, one, number one tip is you need to start using your putter far, far more off the green when you're in the fairway or fringe, you should be putting, because your worst putt will always be better than your worst chip. Promise you that.
Now, from there, it's keeping the ball low. For a lot of you, you should be chipping if you're positioning and placing yourself. And I get it, we're not perfect. Golf is a game of bad shots. You're going to sometimes be leaving yourself with some difficult shots where you do have to go up over something, over a bunker, over a mound, and you have to go for the harder shot, the higher, loftier chip or pitch. But if we are doing part 1 correctly, if we are positioning ourselves in a safe place with a lot of green to work with and no trouble to go over, then we should be chipping a lot and pitching a lot with a lower lofted club, like an 8-iron or 9-iron pitching wedge, just trying to pitch it on and get it running. That should be our goal.
So, what you want to do is you want to stand back there and think of tossing the ball, where that thing will land and how far does it need to roll. So, you need to figure out really fast kind of what is your tendency of flight versus roll with certain clubs.
Now, for me, when I teach a lot of my clients, I just say get really good with two clubs because we're busy. We don't have hours and hours and hours to practice our short game. So, I say, get really good with two clubs. It might be a sand wedge for your loftier shots and a 9-iron. So, say it's a sand wedge and 9-iron. Before your round a golf, you want to find a flat stretch of green, and you want to hit a few of these little chips and runs and get a sense of, Alright, it's kind of flying one-third, rolling two-thirds. Here, it's flying one half, rolling one half with my sand wedge, and it's flying one-quarter rolling three-quarters, because what that's going to do is it's going to give you the tools to succeed in the short-game side of your golf game when you get out there to take the test on the golf course.
And this is, we have a pre-round warmup. I call it my cheat sheet. Super handy. And you'll go through this warmup and you'll get a sense of just how far they're flying and rolling, because it changes from one course to the next. Sometimes it changes one day to the next. Did you get rain? Has it dried out? Was the wind blowing? So, you always need to figure out, How far is the ball flying versus rolling?
So, when you go out there and you position yourself correctly in your safe place, you're now looking going, Hey, I’ve got 15 yards across this green and I have 45 feet, so I'm going to go with my 9-iron because it's going one-third in the air, two-thirds roll, and I'm going to find my one-third landing area as if I was tossing this ball, it's right here. Then, you’re just going to stare that down and try to land the ball there.
Because, guys, those who are excellent at the short game that you watch and you're in awe of [09:00], what they're good at is getting the ball to land where they want it to land. I mean, how many of you are looking at the hole when you hit a chip shot? I know I can't see you, but I guarantee you the majority of you are raising your hands, and this is why you're struggling to break 90. Because you're looking at the hole. That has nothing to do with it. All you can control is the controllables and what you can control is where the ball lands.
So, you’ve got to get really good at getting the ball to land where you want it to land, and if you do that and you know how far it's going to fly and roll, boom, you’ve got this figured out. You go, Hey, I’ve got 30 feet. This thing is flying one-third of the way rolling two-thirds. Where’s the 10 feet? It's right here. It's a little uphill. So, I'm going to move it a little bit further. And now you just hit it there. You chip and let it run, or if you're putting, it doesn't even matter. You're just hitting a putt.
Even though Brad has cracked the code to consistently breaking 90, there are still three major mistakes he's found from working with over 2,000 clients that will sabotage your round before you get to the first tee. Head to www.MyGolfCode.com now to receive your free guide where he outlines all three faults and provides you with some easy action steps to start playing more consistent golf today.
So, we’ve got to start warming up, figuring out our practice. Get out there this week or tonight maybe and practice this. Figure out with two clubs how far the ball flies and rolls on a fairly flat lie in your home course. That is powerful knowledge. That is knowledge you need to have in order to break 90 consistently, because, otherwise, it's just going to be a fluke because you have no idea or command over your short game.
So, you're positioning your ball correctly in the safe place, right? The first part of the code, 30 yards within the edge of the green. You understand that. You've been working on that. You’ve been finding your safe places. You've been seeing less blow-up numbers.
Now we’ve got to get it within 30 feet. “30, 30 and five.” Now we’ve got to get it within 30 feet, the second part of the code. To do that, the majority of the time you should be using your putter if you're on the fringe or fairway. If not, you should be using a much less lofted club like a 9-iron, 8-iron, and getting really good at understanding how far it flies and rolls, find your landing area and get really good at landing it there, because it doesn't have to be perfect.
Because if you're landing within two or three feet— I mean, imagine that—you're just trying to land within a 3-foot-by-3-foot box. If you do that and you did the math correctly, what happens? You're within three feet of the cup. And what's our goal? Thirty feet. So, boom. We just started making a couple of pars a round. We're shattering 90 with no problem. It's fun. It's easy. It's exciting, right? But we have to make the smart choices. We have to start playing with the lower shot, because if you're tossing the ball for a million bucks, I guarantee, you're not tossing at six foot in the air. You're keeping that puppy low, because you can control and command it. And that is the key, controlling command over your short game, guys.
So, you want to really make sure you're picking the lower club and you have a great understanding [12:00.3] of how far it's flying and rolling, and you're focusing only on where you want it to land, not where the cup is. I mean, how many people tell me, Oh, I always hit it over. I always had it past. I always hit it past? That's because you're looking at the cups. You're flying at way too far and it's rolling past, or you're looking at the cup like it's some sort of point you can't go past and you're coming up short because you're landing it too short, because you're focusing on the ball not going past that point. It's the same issue, because you're looking at the cup and you're not looking at where you want it to land.
If you're confident because you've been practicing, and you know how far the ball flies and how far it rolls, and you know that ratio and you're getting good at hitting your landing spot, you're going to get really good at chipping balls inside 30 feet. And our goal is only inside 30 feet, but what's going to happen is you're going to get really good at getting balls inside10, guys, and if you get balls inside 10 feet of the cup, you're going to start making six to seven out of 10 of those putts because that's what the average amateur makes. Right? It's nothing. Why you can't make it is just because you're not getting there often enough to make it, because you're not doing the first two steps of the code correctly.
So, find your safe place and start putting, and if you can't putt, choose the lower lofted club, do the math, get it to hit your landing spot and get it there. But you're going to have to practice it, guys.
Again, before you could even start implementing these first two parts of the code, you're going to have to make sure you're not doing the three biggest mistakes I've seen most of you do that sabotage a round before you even get to the first tee. So, later on in this episode, you want to make sure you get to that website and you get the “Three Biggest Mistakes” download with some key pieces in there to help get you set up for success before you even get to the first tee box. That's number one.
Number two: you’ve got to start practicing your chipping. So, I'm going to give you the number one drill that I have found to improve people's short game when chipping and pitching. And it's not groundbreaking here, guys. It is literally practicing hitting your landing spot. That is what the drill is. It's the towel drill.
What you're going to do is you're going to get a towel and it’s roughly...you can get a beach towel and fold it in half, so it's roughly about 1.5’ or 2’ x 1.5’or 2’ and you're just going to lay it down. You can do this in the yard. You can do in the basement. You can do it at the golf course. Yeah, you don't have to worry about where the cup is. Go to the practice green, throw some balls out in the rough in the fridge, and lay that towel down and get really good at getting your 9- or 8-iron to land on that towel.
And you can work with your sand wedge, too, because, again, you want to get really good with it, too, but especially the lower lofted club, because that's what you should be using the vast majority of the time, because someone who consistently breaks 90, someone who shoots 88–89 on average is only having two or three birdie putts in a round.
So, that means you're having to chip and pitch 15–16 times, and if you get really good at positioning yourself in your safe place—the first part of the [15:00] code—that means out of those 15–16 chip shots, hopefully, the majority, 14–15 of those should be with your lower lofted club because you put yourself in a great position, or you should be using a putter. Only once or twice you should be having to use a high-lofted club around a green if you're doing the first part of the code correctly.
So, if we practice this, here's the drill: you're going to get that beach towel and you're going to fold it in half. You're going to lay it out on the putting surface or in your backyard, and then you're going to pace off five paces, right? If one of your paces is a yard, that's five yards. That's 15 feet, right? If I did my math correctly, yeah, three feet in a yard, 15 feet. So, you're 15 feet out. So, now you know, hey, this is for 15 feet.
Now you pace off six or three, but you're just getting really good at going through a routine of doing one or two practice motions, looking at the towel. You want to be looking at the towel. That's a key. You're going to repeat that, look at the towel in your practice motions because you’re using hand-eye coordination, depth perception. Then, you're just going to step up, take your eyes from your landing spot or that towel back to the ball, and go. In less than three seconds, you should be hitting that, trying to plop it on the towel. Just start keeping track of how many times.
Now, if you are doing this, you should get really good at hitting that towel. Guys, I've seen some good players who shoot in the low-80s with ugly, ugly mechanics. I mean, I've seen it all. In 16,000 lessons, I have seen some of the craziest short-game motions you could imagine. And, yet, because that was all they knew and that's what they’ve practiced, they were really good at hitting their landing area.
Now, they still hit some really bad shots under pressure—and that's where we’ve got to get into the mental side and how to create a routine that just uses relaxation and confidence when you're over the ball in any shot, and that's for another episode—but, right now, if you get really good at hitting your landing spot, you should be able to start hitting that towel 7 out of 10, 8 out of 10 times within the first couple of weeks from inside 15 yards pretty consistently.
Because if we're inside 10 yards, you should probably be using a putter, and our goal is to get inside 30. So, if you can get inside 30 and start hitting that towel, because, again, if you're 30 yards from the edge or the pin is in the back half, you're only trying to fly it a quarter of the way, a third of the way with your 9-iron. What does that look like?
So, you shouldn't have to be flying this thing more than probably 15 yards in the air, so if you can find 20 yards of space in your yard or at the practice place, the facility where you practice most, your home or course and whatnot, and you get really good at getting over half the balls closer to 7 out of 10 hitting that towel, guys, you will be shocked as to how many up and downs you start having, how many par saves you start having. And our goal is just 30 feet, but you start hitting the towel 7 out of 10 times, we're talking a lot of par saves and that's key, because that gets us starting to consistently score in the low- to mid-80s.
You're listening just trying to break 90 and now I’m talking about mid-80s. What's happening? Well, it's a short game. That's what's happening. You now have a [18:00] plan for your short game that will help you succeed, will help you score better, be more consistent and enjoy this game, and just [not] be struggling with confidence around the golf course because you can get up and down now, because you have a plan.
Confidence comes from having a plan and having a belief within your ability. The plan I'm giving you, the belief with your ability comes with practice, and implementing the plan and seeing success. Also comes with positivity and visualization of having that success, which we talked a little about in episode 1.
So, that, right there, is how you toss the ball for a million bucks. You’ve got to warm up. You’ve got to get a sense of how far it’s flying and rolling, and you’ve got to start working the towel drill, getting good at hitting that towel with your sand wedge and your 8- or 9-iron, just two clubs. Get really good with two club. You find your safe place. You're hitting your landing spot. Before you know it, you're saving a lot of pars, tapping in for bogeys, and this game became more fun than you could ever imagine, guys.
So, hopefully, that helps you guys. That is part 2 of the code of “30, 30 and five.” So, we've covered the safe place within 30 yards, how to get it within 30 feet.
Next week—you want to definitely stay tuned next week—we're going to talk about how speed is king in you're putting game and how to just start getting the ball inside five feet over and over and over and over, which should be easy, especially if you accomplish this today, because we should be inside 15–20 feet quite often. But we're going to talk about how speed is king in the punting game. It truly is probably the biggest, biggest weakness of most of your golf games and it's probably one of the quickest things to fix if you know how to practice it, and we're going to get into that next week.
So, that is it for this week. That is a wrap. I know it's a lot. Your minds are blowing up with all this awesome info. Relisten to it. Take this to the course. Start implementing these drills. Start practicing, guys. I mean, a lot of you, from what I'm getting feedback-wise is you're already seeing great success. It's there. You already have the ability to break 90. You just need to implement the code. And we are knocking these things out one step at a time. I can't wait to get in to the putting side of things next week. That is so important. So, stay tuned next week. You don't want to miss that.
We'll talk to y'all soon.
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