Ranking the 5 Easiest Shots for a Professional Golfer

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistNovember 4, 2012

Ranking the 5 Easiest Shots for a Professional Golfer

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    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    So are the easiest shots on the golf course.

    What is an easy shot for one golfer is a difficult one for another. In some cases, a golfer may have easy time hitting the ball off the tee on one day and then struggle the next with the same tee shot.

    Even the best golfers never truly master the game. They just continue to work to try to improve. The best golfers have signature shots, but no golfer—not even Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods or Rory McIlroy—would say they have mastered the game.

    But here are the shots that seem the easiest for most pro golfers.

Driving

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    Professional golfers excel with their driver.

    That should not be a surprise, especially when we are talking about explosive Bubba Watson. With the driver in hand, Watson was a monster. He averaged 315.5 yards per drive in 2012, tops on the PGA tour.

    However, while no other golfers seemed to have Watson's distance or flair with the driver, many could get incredible distance. During the 2012 season, 95 golfers averaged 290 yards or more with the driver.

    That demonstrates that the club is relatively easy to hit for most top pros.

Approach Shots

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    The approach shot is one that looks easy for the best professional players.

    That's not the case for amateurs who may be less than 100 yards from the pin. They may know they have an opportunity to get it close in an important match, but that club may seem a bit heavier than normal when they need to hit it close to the pin.

    Not so for the best pros in the game. Give the top pros an approach shot from inside 100 yards, and you are likely to see magic.

    During the 2012 season, veteran Steve Stricker excelled at these shots, getting the ball to an average of 12'1" from the hole.

    Stricker was the best, but he had plenty of company. The PGA Tour had 99 golfers who got the ball within 17 feet of the hole on their average approach shot.

    That meant the best golfers in the world had plenty of legitimate birdie opportunities.

Greenside Bunkers

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    Pro golfers make shots from the greenside bunkers look easy.

    While most amateurs struggle when they are in the bunker and may visibly sink when they fail to put the ball on the green, most pros just roll with the punch and move on to the next shot.

    Nobody did it better during the 2012 season than Jim Furyk. When he was in a greenside bunker, Furyk ended up getting up and down 60 times in 85 opportunities. That means he succeeded more than 70 percent of the time he was in a greenside bunker.

    While Furyk was the best at it, 92 golfers got up and down 50 percent of the time or better.

    That's remarkable and indicates the skill that it takes to play the game at such a high level.

Long Fairway Shots

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    The long fairway shots of 200 yards or more are often the undoing of the amateur golfers. Instead of being able to stand over their fairway shot and launching it to the green, most are happy to get it within 50 yards so they can take a wedge on the next shot and hope to get it close.

    Not so with the pros, who regularly hit this shot right on the green. Long-hitting Robert Garrigus excelled at this shot, hitting the ball an average of 41'1" from the hole.

    Garrigus had plenty of company as 100 pros were able to get the ball within 50 feet of the hole when they were hitting from the fairway at a distance of more than 200 yards.

7-Foot Putt

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    Ahh, that testing seven-foot putt.

    You know the putt. It's the one that you may face on 17 or 18 and if you make it, you win the match. It looks so easy, but if you make it 25 percent of the time, you are thrilled.

    Not the top pros. They make those seven-footers all the time to prove their ability. Pat Perez led the PGA Tour in 2012, making 76.81 percent of the seven-footers he took in 2012.

    Pro golfers excelled from this distance as 103 golfers made 60 percent or better from this distance.

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