How often during a round, do you hit the perfect shot?

For the instructors, low handicappers/scratch players, and others who have some player improvement insight, I’d love to get some data/thoughts from you. And if this is discussed somewhere else already, let me know. I couldn’t find another thread.

This summer, my handicap has fallen to below a 5 (currently a 3.8) and for the first time, I noticed something on my driver and iron shots. I visualize a shot, and then as I look up after contact, the ball is exactly in the “window” I visualized with the exact shot shape I want and it goes the exact distance. Needless to say this is a beautiful feeling :slight_smile: and I notice that it happens 2-3 times in a round - out of an average of say 33-34 “full” shots in a round. If I go an entire round, with no shot like this, I know something is off with the swing that needs to be looked at.

So the question for those of you who teach, are closer to scratch or better - how often do you/your student hit this sort of perfect shot? I would like to get a sense of what is a reasonable goal here. Did you focus on something like this specifically? I know golf is about managing the misses, but I am curious about how often a good player hits the perfect shot. Should I be hitting 2x more perfect shots for my handicap level? etc.



I’d say an entire round without them is all mental for you in such a case dude. As a 3, its not your swing, its your head and that needs to be consistent enough. You have the talent and swing already.


Cat: I’m (obviously) not qualified to answer the specific question you put to the board, but I can give you a data point. I get 1 or 2 of those a round. Sometimes none. I don’t recall a round with 3.


18 times per round :wink:


Similar question with the putter. I hit 2 or 3 a round (what I would consider) perfectly.

This was from a Dan Jenkins article on Ben Hogan.

"I played with Ben numerous times and have precious memories of our games together at old Colonial, which was a very tough golf course. It had smaller greens, more trees, tighter fairways and a lot more unmanicured areas than the way we know it today. As for me, I was a youthful, slender, long-hitting collegiate in those days. I’m talking about 1953, when he won the Masters, the US Open and the British Open.

Anyway, in one of those games we had together, Hogan shot a 66. Afterwards, when we were having a drink, I said: “Ben. That was as good a round as I’ve ever seen played.” He looked as me and replied: “That wasn’t a good round of golf at all.”

Taken aback, I suggested he must be joking. He eyeballed me again. “I didn’t hit one shot that turned out the way I wanted it to,” he said. So I asked him to define what, in his view, was a good round of golf.

“A good round of golf,” he said, “is when you can hit three shots that turn out exactly like you envision them before you swing the club.” That was Hogan, a man who provided countless moments of magic for everyone he came in contact with. In this regard, I happened to be luckier than most."


depends on how you define “perfect shot” but maybe once or twice (3.4)

Think I hit a ‘perfect’ shot maybe once per 27 holes or so. (+1 hcp) Feel like the only thing I really do well is know where my misses are going.


So usually in this case what I find is that something fundamental got screwed up usually at address.

My playing partners would also say that there is some mental component to it. Been working on that a bit, but I know a lot can be improved there.

I play off 1.9, and I’d say it’s maybe once per round, even less if you take into account the result (ie: what the ball does when it lands). I hit the perfect shot the other day with a 6 iron, it landed 5 paces in front of the flag, and stuck right there where it landed, despite it not being a wet day. Perfect shot, but not PERFECT.


Yeah, as a 1.6 it’s smaller misses and knowing where they will be when they happen. I don’t know that I hit that many “perfect” more than maybe once every 3 or 4 rounds.


I would disagree here. You can get a pretty low handicap and still have a swing with pretty noticeable flaws, and produce some shaky results.


“Perfect” shots all have to do with what kind of expectations you set. For some, just hitting “the window,” as you put it, is enough. For others, it’s hitting it in the center of the face and having it fly within 3-10 yards of their intended start line.

Then for Ben Hogan, it’s likely the exact shape with the exact trajectory and the exact spin and rollout he had imagined in his mind’s eye.

It’s all relative.

I think if you’re nailing “the window” as a 3 handicap a few times a round, that’s a great sign. The goal is to not just hit the window more often, but to keep all the other ones pretty close to it with less foul balls. Congrats on the progress and getting below a 5 this year!


I believe Hogan also said if he ever holed out his approach, he missed his shot because he never aimed right at the flag.

As a 3.2, my immediate reaction would be to say once a month, or every 4-5 rounds. But, as others have said, it depends on your definition. I probably hit 2-3 drives a round that are in the center of the fairway, as far as I can hit it. I’ve hit a couple of approaches where I picked a specific yardage, and it wasn’t just a full, stock yardage and dialed up the right distance and spin to get a partial wedge to land and spin down next to the cup. That’s perfect enough for me.

I played an 8-some scramble where I was never outdriven, and only missed a couple fairways, so a couple may have been “perfect” enough for what I can do.

Also, during The Match, I remember Pat Perez saying he would be ecstatic with 3 perfect shots in one round of golf.

1 Like


Very rarely. Maybe one that is close but even that isn’t perfect. My golf game is a series of misses. In good rounds the misses are just better than on the other days.

Former college golfer playing to about a 1 right now FWIW.

Personally, I think it depends a lot on the kind of golf you’re playing. When I’m playing my home course or playing just for fun, I would make yourself rehit shots anytime you feel like you REALLY missed the window. Personally, I’d rather have a ball “in the window” and wind up at 15 feet when I’m practicing than hit a scummy shot to twice that close, especially if the score isn’t my focus that day.

In competition or at a new course, I have a goal of more like 4 to 6 “windowed” approach shots a round where I execute a shot exactly how I pictured, result be damned (to a degree). Anything more than that is great, but I know if it’s less I need to look at my ball-striking or positioning off the tee to see what went wrong.

*Editing for clarity: I’m Team “Perfect is Relative” on this argument. I think @holeout put it well regarding the focus on more windows, less foul balls.


You hit a minimum of 18 perfect shots a round. The shot or putt that ends up in the cup, completing the hole. Some are 6", some are 6’ some are 60 yards. Then you hit another 5-10 “perfect” shots that react exactly as your preshot routine envisions, mostly drives because there is such a large area to get “perfect” or shots to the center of the green. Its the other approach shots and chips that are rarely perfect. Some are mediocre or adequate, some are darn good. The more of those you have in a round the better your play.

Just because the ball goes in the hole it is a perfect shot?

Does that also mean that if the ball advances forward (thus closer to the hole) that each and every one of those shots is perfect too?


Perfect shots? In a decent round:
Off the tee (par 4/5): 8
Approach + par 3 tee shots: 8

Keep in mind you can hit the “perfect shot” and still end up with a so-so result. You can also hit one a little weird and end up perfect. I also think you can hit a “perfect” putt that doesn’t go in.

I can’t mess with this thread. Flagged for low handicap privilege.

Good night.