|Anyone who has ever played golf has experienced the occasional blow-up hole. The secret to becoming a better golfer is to minimize these disastrous holes.
Below are a number of strategies to help you become the best golfer you can be. Many of these strategies I got from reading Annika Sorenstam’s book, “Golf Annika’s Way.” She gave the following suggestions:
Use the 60 percent rule: Don’t try a shot on the course that you haven’t practiced. If you can pull it off six out of 10 times in practice, go for it on the course.
Practice recovery shots: You need to learn how to hit a ball high and low. Getting out of trouble means learning to curve the ball left-to-right and right-to-left.
Take only one risk per hole: If you were aggressive off the tee and got in trouble, then you need to be conservative on your second shot. It might mean chipping it back into the fairway.
Tee shots: Always play short of trouble. If hitting a driver can get you into a fairway bunker, then hit a 3-wood off the tee short of the bunker.
Other strategies that I recommend to my students are very simple to incorporate into your game plan.
Firing at the flagstick is not always a smart play. Picking a safe target on the green will eliminate big numbers.
For example, if the flagstick is tucked behind a bunker in the front of the green, then play one extra club and hit to the back of the green.
If you are going to lay up on a hole, lay up to at least 100 yards. It is easier to hit a full iron to the green than a 40- to 60-yard partial wedge swing.
Always tee off on the side of trouble. For example if there is out-of-bounds on the left of the hole, tee off on the extreme left side of the tee and swing away from trouble.
Learn how to “take your medicine.” When you hit into the woods, bunker or any other trouble areas, consider your options and play the high percentage shot. It might mean hitting sideways out of the bunker.
We are all going to get into trouble during a round of golf, and knowing how to get the ball back into play will keep those “disastrous” holes off your scorecard.
Dr. Jean Harris is an LPGA Master Professional and teaches at Brown Golf Management courses. jean.golfdoctor.harris @gmail.com; www.golfdoctorjean.com