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I have watched many junior and college tournaments the last 20 years, and if I were to take percentages I would say 10 percent of golfers hit enough club. Just stand behind any green for an hour at your local course and make a note of how many golfers reach pin high with their approach shots. It won't be many.

One of the reasons pros and good amateur players are able to be so consistent is that they know exactly how far they hit each and every club in their bag. They never have to hit an iron shot too hard. If they need extra distance, they simply take an extra club. The first rule of golf course management is to know how far you hit your clubs.

If the average pro hits a 7-iron about 155 yards, the chances of most golfers hitting the same club that far are slim. Get used to the idea of making yourself take one more club on every shot. If you think the shot requires a 7-iron, then grab the 6-iron.

Remember - when in doubt, club up. Soon you will find your swing is smoother and you are likely to hit more shots that are pin high, leaving shorter putts. Your scores should be lower, too.

Jim Bailey is the head professional at Railside Golf Club in Gibson City. He can be reached at (217) 784-5000.

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