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never attempt merely to sink a ball, but rather set up their
next shot at the same time. Great golfers never simply swing
and see where the ball lands. They consider the entire hole
strategically—the hole as a whole, one might say—and are
thus always thinking a shot ahead. Set yourself up at a dogleg
with 10 balls. If you have a fade, make it a dogleg away
from you (a dogleg right for a right-handed player). If you
have more of a draw, make it a dogleg coming across you (a
dogleg left for a right-handed player).
With each of the 10 balls, try to cut the dogleg, going over
the danger instead of playing the fairway. Count how many
times you’re successful. Even when your ball manages not to
land in the absolute worst spot possible, chances are you’re
still in poor position when it’s time for your next shot.
Next, find a spot among a cluster of trees 100 to 150 yards
from the green. Instead of punching out, pick a path to the
green that requires you to thread a shot between two trees.
Try the shot 10 times. Again, count how many times the
result is positive and how many times it ends up just as bad
3. Play to your strengths
When you’re in prime position for a bump-
and-run, the best advice for the amateur golfer
in this situation is to just get the ball rolling and
leave the flop shots to the pros.
We all have parts of our game we call on with confidence
and other parts that prove somewhat less reliable. Making
good decisions on the course can help you score better by
putting yourself in position to maximize the strong parts of
your game and minimize the weaker aspects.
Let’s say you use your driver off the tee on the first three
holes of a round and slice with it each time. The next hole
is a 380-yard par four. When your driver stays straight, you
hit it 220 yards on average. With your three-wood, a much
more consistent club, you hit
it just under 200 on average.
Here, the reckless decision is,
of course, to stick with your
driver, since it will make little
difference to your second
shot. The tactical player will
keep his driver in the bag,
use the three-wood and put himself in great position for an
approach. You need only ask Mickelson about the catastrophes
that can result from teeing off with the big stick when it
hasn’t been working all day.
Let’s consider another scenario. You’re 10 yards off the
green in shallow rough with no hazard blocking your way
and another 15 yards to the pin. You’re in prime position for
a bump-and-run, which is among your most consistent shots.
But yesterday you saw Tiger and a few other players execute
flop shots with their wedges and are now dying to try one
Again, in such a situation, the strategic player will opt for
the shot he knows he can execute with a reasonable rate of
success instead of trying something risky just for the sake
Around the green, most amateur golfers would do well to
remember the advice “get the ball rolling.” In other words,
the highest percentage shot is usually the one that gets the
ball moving on the ground as early as possible. Play the
pitch-and-run or bump-and-run and leave any flop shots
to the pros, at least for now. |
Doug Weaver is the director of instruction at Palmetto Dunes in Hilton Head, SC. I. J. Schecter’s
new collection, Slices: Observations from the Wrong Side of the Fairway, is available now in
bookstores or at amazon.com.
The best advice for
the amateur golfer
is to just get the ball
rolling and leave the
flop shots to the pros.