A player must know personal strengths and weaknesses and how to make better decisions based on risk and reward to improve scoring. Tour pros on television weigh pros and cons with caddies but the average weekend golfers do not have the luxury of a professional caddy. The following are some tips on what goes through the mind of a pro when contemplating a shot.
Tip Number One
The first priority is actually to put the tee shot into play. Some helpful hints on doing this may include:
- Decision A: the hole measures 320 yards to the green and carry over the lake is 260 yards. A golf pro can reach the green with a driver but contemplates risk versus reward. The risk of not hitting the green on the drive is a bogey or worse. The reward may be chance at an eagle.
- Decision B: the next option may be to lay up but only far enough to give a very short and lofted club. The risk can be cutting too much off the lake and putting the ball in the water. Hitting the ball too far might land the ball in a bunker. If the player hits the water, dropping close to the tee may result in a double-bogey or worse. A reward may be a 3-wood or driver with a wedge or shorter club to the green. The risk may seem high but reward isn’t very attractive, either.
- Decision C: a third choice would be to take a hybrid or iron for bigger hitters and take trouble out of play to give room for error. The carry for the lake at the angle is only 150 yards with almost 80 yards of fairway and some light rough left of the fairway. This leaves 120 to 160 yards for a second shot into the green.
In this scenario, Decision C will be chosen 99% of the time by a golf pro. Going for the green the other 1% of the time is when the player is trying to catch up to the tournament leader or is simply mad.
Tip Number Two
Forget about guiding the shot. Many amateur players try to steer or guide the shot which usually results in unfinished and decelerated swings. Aim and think about hitting through the target for best results. The same can be said for when approaching a narrow fairway or target green where anything to the left or right will result in a big number. Aim for where the ball needs to end up, take aim at the distant target and try to hit it square into the target. Focus on a tree past the landing in the distance and swing for that object. This provides a better chance at hitting the intended target and making a positive motion through the ball instead of trying to steer or guide the ball there.