The Golf Academy of America sends out a quarterly newsletter to current and prospective students and alumni. The feature in this issue that caught my eye – Helpful Tips for Every Golfer.
One reason golf intrigues us so much is because there are so many factors that contribute to hitting a good shot. Even if you hit a good shot, additional contributing factors could still force you into a bad situation: Distance. Lie. Wind. Stance. Trees. Sand. Water. Speed of the green.There’s another big factor – your mind. Was your last shot awful? Was it awesome? Do you need a birdie to get back into contention? Did you hit a bad shot the last time you used this club? Even a regular shot can drive you crazy if you let it.
So how can you increase your confidence when making some of the more difficult golf shots? GAA has a few tips to make these tough shots a little less daunting.
Picture a narrow tee shot on a Par 4 with trees on both sides. If you miss left or right, you’re bound to drop some strokes on the hole. A lot of amateur golfers tend to want to hit their driver on a Par 4 regardless of the situation. We all like to see the ball go far, but down the fairway is a better feeling than long into the woods. The best way to make this shot easier is to pick a club that you’re most likely to hit straight. Why not grab a hybrid and give yourself a really solid shot at par?
Shots Over Water
Approach shots over water are frightening for everyone, even professionals. When it comes to a shot over water, this is the time to be ultra conservative. Don’t think about the pin. Take aim at the center of the green or even the portion of the green that’s furthest from the water. Even if you end up three-putting – and we all hate three-putting – at least you didn’t lose a ball simply by psyching yourself out because of the water. Plus, you’ll be pumped up that you didn’t hit it in the water, so you’ll be ready to make a confident putt.
Is there any putt worse than a downhill four-footer? Do you take out any break and try to slam it into the back of the cup? Do you play it cautious and hit it softly? The biggest thing with these little putts is to not overthink it. Take a look at the putt from behind the hole, pick your line, make a realistic practice stroke and knock it in. As soon as you start treating the putt drastically different from other putts, that is when your mind starts playing tricks on you. Keep it simple with this one for best results.
The biggest lesson of all is to remember that you play golf because you enjoy it. Embrace the difficult shots, and remember these easy tips to tame them next time you’re on the course.