What is an Up & Down in Golf?
The vocabulary golf term “up and down” is taking two golf shots to get the ball in the hole when the golf ball is laying around the greenside rough or in the greenside bunker.
It’s different from a two putt, because with an up and down, the golf ball is not on the green for the first shot.
Therefore, you spend the first golf shot chipping the ball from the rough or bunker around the green to get it onto the green as close to the hole as possible.
Then finish the up and down by sinking the putt to complete the two shots.
Overall, golfers use the term to describe their par save..”I was able to sink my putt to get up and down for par” would be an example sentence the term “up and down” would be used in.
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What is the Scrambling Statistic in Golf?
In order to track the up and down statistic, the PGA Tour came up with two metrics. One is called Sand Saves where you track the percentage of successful up and downs out of a bunker.
The other statistic is called Scrambling which tracks the percentage of successful up and downs to save par or better when a golfer misses the green in regulation on the approach shot.
Here’s an example calculation..
Let’s say you have 18 greens in regulation possible during a round of golf. You hit 3 greens in regulation and 15 holes you missed the green so you are now chipping to try and save your up and down.
If you successfully get up and down on 5 of those 15 holes, then your scrambling percentage for the round would be 33% or 1/3 of the holes.
The best golfers in the world try to get up and down 70% of the time or better which is a much higher scrambling percentage than you’ll find most amateurs achieving during an 18 hole round of golf.
Up and Down Golf Drills to Make More Pars in Golf
Now that we’ve covered what is an up and down in golf and we covered what the scrambling golf statistic is regarding up and downs, let’s talk about golf drills.
Anytime I head to the practice green, I love to simulate real situations I may face on the golf course.
One of the best ways to improve your short game that I’ve found is simulating up and down scenarios around the green.
I’ll take out only one golf ball so I can completely focus on the golf shot. Next, I’ll drop the ball somewhere in the rough around the practice green and pick out a hole on the green to chip to.
Then I’ll hit the chip shot, focusing on getting the ball as close as possible for the “up” portion of a up and down.
After watching the ball come to a stop, I’ll grab my putter and assess the putt I have left to sink my par. Set up to the ball and finish off the up and down by sinking the putt.
If I miss, I’ll try the entire up and down again from that same location in the rough with my chipping wedge.
If I make the putt and complete the up and down, I’ll move on and drop my golf ball randomly in a new location around the green.
I’ll repeat this until I’ve done 25 or 50 up and downs successfully. This trains me mentally and physically to get good at converting up and down opportunities on the golf course.
By completing lots of them in practice, it will feel much easier for you on the golf course because you’ll find that you’ve hit chips before similar to the chips you face on the golf course.
But to get to that point you have to do hundreds of practice up and downs by doing this golf drill for 25, 50, 100 times per day at practice for multiple practice days and multiple weeks each month.
To help you building consistency and do up and down related golf drills each week, we created a 12 week golf practice plan that features heavy short game focus but also comes with driving range practice routines to follow 3X a week for 12 weeks.
Variations of this Up and Down Golf Drill
The first variation is using more than one golf ball. I like to use only one golf ball so it’s like I’m out on the golf course with only one chance. It helps me focus in more on the chip shot perfecting mentally where I need the ball to land and how I vision it rolling to the hole once it hits my landing target spot on the green.
But this can make the up and down golf drill take a long time to complete 50 or 100 reps in a practice session. Therefore, you could use batches of 5, 10, or 20 golf balls.
It will help you get more practice chipping in bulk and then going onto the green and hitting all your putts from different distances the balls ended up after all your chip shots.
But this doesn’t truly simulate a true “up and down” because you hit several chip shots first before putting any of them. Whereas a true up and down is when you chip the ball and then go immediately try and sink the putt.
If you are simulating a true up and down, then only one golf ball is necessary.
Another variation of the up and down drill is setting goals and adding pressure on yourself. Rather than completing 25, 50, or 100 up and downs in total, try completing 18 up and downs in a row.
Simulate as if you were gonna miss all 18 greens in regulation and will face 18 possible up and down scenarios.
You can drop 18 golf balls around the green in varying and random locations. Start at one ball, hit the chip shot, and then go try to sink the putt.
If you make the putt, move on and go to another ball you dropped somewhere around the green. Try to complete all 18 balls successfully up and down to pass the drill.
Overall, I hope this article explained better what an up and down is in golf so you understand the golf term when you hear it at the course. We also went over a simple up and down golf drill to practice and variations of the up and down golf drill so you can put pressure on yourself like you’d face on the golf course.
The fear of starting all over in a golf drill is pressure, especially building pressure when you get up towards rep 16, and 17 of the 18 up and downs in a row.
It helps you learn how to manage pressure as well as how to convert up and downs more consistently so you improve your golf scrambling percentage.
Before you go check out these practice plans to follow with proven drills and routines to improve your short game and golf swing.
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