Deception is a common characteristic used by some of golf’s greatest architects. The rolling hills of Tom Fazio, the use of railroad ties by Pete Dye, and the elevated crowned shaped greens of Donald Ross provide a few examples. Architects have different ways of changing the landscape to make a 150 yard golf shot appear to be the kiss of death. Of course, Mother Nature is always the boss with wind being her greatest adversity to measure.
Let’s pretend we have all been blessed with the opportunity to play Pinehurst No.2, a U.S. Open Venue designed by Donald Ross. Without taking you hole by hole or shot by shot, let’s go over a couple of strategies that can prevent major bleeding (almost hemorrhaging) on or around his greens. These strategies should also become specific rules to follow on every round of golf you ever play and not restricted to Pinehurst No.2.
1. Putt whenever you can putt. You have more control of a golf ball on the ground than you do in the air. Therefore, if you have a chance to pull out the flat stick around the greens, PUTT.
2. Stop aiming at sucker pins, and aim at the middle of the green any time you have the opportunity to hit the green. If you have not noticed, greed has gotten our country and many good people into trouble lately. The same thing happens on the golf course. Aim for the middle of every green you play unless you are a single digit handicapper. The golf course superintendent and designer are just trying to get you to go after those tucked pins, and they leave you with no room for error. Believe it or not, there is plenty of room for error if you aim at the middle of the green.
3. On all par threes, unless there is trouble on the back side of the green, always take one extra club. When is the last time you flew the green on a par three? Ninety percent of the time our miss on a par three is short. If you miss hitting a shot with one extra club, your miss might find the dance floor.
4. Never hit a golf shot that the golf course demands, hit the shot you know you can pull off. A great challenge is to play within yourself and accept your limitations. This is what I call playing to your strengths and away from your weaknesses. When you go to play your next round of golf, you are not competing against your buddies, spouse, or siblings; you are competing against the golf course. Believe it or not, the golf course is trying to bring you to your knees. The better you manage yourself, the better the results will be.
5. On all par fives, play your second shot to the 100 yard marker if you cannot reach the green in two shots. Golfers across the globe are more accurate from 100 yards than they are from in between distances like 30, 50 and 70 yards. Learn your 100 yard club and be a magician with this weapon.
You are the gatekeeper, and you control how you think!
Golf Affirmation of the week: I manage myself well.