Branden Grace has already made 2012 a season to remember with three wins in 11 starts so we thought we’d take a look at what the keys to his success have been so far.
This past week at the Volvo China Open Grace looked in complete control during every round and, looking at his Genworth Statistics from both this week and the back to back wins he picked up at the Joburg Open and Volvo Golf Champions earlier this year, it is clear to see why.
The key to playing great golf has always been accuracy in the long game and an artistic flair on the greens, but the modern day now requires something else from its best exponents -, length from the tee. It is not an absolute necessity, like the other two attributes mentioned, but on courses that are now regularly over 7,000 yards, Binhai Lake itself measuring some 600 yards past that mark, it certainly makes life easier for the professionals.
With all of this in mind you can see why Grace has won three times so far this year. This past week in China he ranked fifth in Driving Distance with an average of 301.4 yards, 18th in Driving Accuracy hitting an impressive 82.1 per cent of the fairways from the tee, and third in Greens in Regulation finding 86.1 per cent of his targets in the right number or less.
When you compare these with his first win of the season at the Joburg Open it makes for similar reading as Grace finished third in GIR with 84.7 per cent, and an average length off the tee of 305.1 yards to rank fourth that week. His Driving Accuracy was down a little, ranking 51st, but this is still a decent number for someone who hits it so far.
Finally, looking at the second of his wins at the Volvo Golf Champions, the numbers remain very similar with the Pretoria native ranking tenth for the week in GIR, sixth in Driving Distance and 18th in Driving Accuracy. However, his numbers at Fancourt that week do differ in one of the statistical categories, and that is in his putting.
En route to a play-off victory at the Volvo Golf Champions, Grace finished close to the summit of both the putting stats, ranking second in Putts per GIR with 1.647 and third in Putts per Round with an average of 28. This differs considerably from his other two wins where he ranked 19th and 31st respectively at the Joburg Open and 37th and 39th this past week at the Volvo China Open.
This can be explained by the fact that his high percentage of greens found in regulation means he is putting a lot more often than he is chipping, and as a result taking more putts, but it does offer an interesting distinction between his three wins.
However, the clear thread running through all of them has been that if you can hit it long and straight from the tee, and into the greens, it takes a lot of pressure off the short game and allows you to free wheel with the putter and, in Branden Grace’s case, make more putts than you miss.
Grace has clearly found his winning formula on The European Tour, and while it might not work for everyone, it certainly is for him so far in 2012.
Here is what he had in his bag:
|Ball || || || || || || ||Callaway, Hex. Black|
|Shoe || || || || || || ||FootJoy|
|Driver || || || || || || ||Callaway, RAZR Fit - 8.5°|
|1st Fairway Wood || || || || || || ||Callaway, RAZR Fit|
|2nd Fairway Wood|| || || || || || ||Callaway, Diablo Edge Tour - 18° |
|3 - 9 Iron || || || || || || ||Callaway, X Forged 09|
|Pitching Wedge || || || || || || ||Callaway, X Forged 09|
|Sand Wedge || || || || || || ||Callaway, X Forged - 52°|
|Lob Wedge || || || || || || |
Callaway, X Forged - 60°
|Putter || || || || || || ||Odyssey, Black Series TD Wide 1|
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