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Have you ever walked off the golf course, KICKING YOURSELF for that stupid shot you played on hole 16 that ruined a great round?
I've done this HUNDREDS of times.
Over the years, I inflicted this pain on myself so many times, I finally decided one day to change something.
I didn't change anything in my swing. I didn't hit 300 range balls. And to my bank account's benefit, I didn't buy a new putter either.
What I changed was my course decision-making.
Let me give you a few scenarios, and I want you to think about how you would handle them.
You missed the green, have about 5 feet of green to work with, and the green slopes away from you.
- Hit a flop shot? Or...
- Put the ball back in your stance and try to land a normal chip in the rough to slow it down?
For years, I would try the flop shot because, "if I don't get this up and down, I'll make bogey and then I'll have ZERO chance of breaking 80 today!".
Now, I'll ALWAYS choose option #2. Why? Because in this position, bogey is a GOOD score. The goal is to prevent another chip shot. I want a 20-30 foot 2-putt and move on to the next hole.
The problem here is that I missed my approach shot in the WRONG place. A mistake was made, now let's not compound it!
Par 5, you've got 230 yards to the green, from light rough. Left of the green is a group of trees.
- Go for it?
- Lay it up to 50 yards?
- Lay it up to 100 yards?
While I might go for this shot, I'd generally say option #3 is the BEST option.
If I go for it and miss left, I'm now chipping from the trees, at risk of making BOGEY on a par 5. Bad news.
If I lay it up to 50 yards, now I have an awkward wedge shot. MOST golfers stink from this distance. Unless you're a pro who practices these partial wedge shots daily, you probably want a full swing.
Next time you play golf, try adding these 2 simple rules to your game:
- The 7/10 rule - ask yourself before each shot, "can I pull this off 7/10 times?". If the answer is no, change to a shot you can.
- Chip EVERYTHING. - there are very few situations where a basic chip shot (back in stance, keep it low) is a poor shot choice. It's one of the highest percentage shots around the greens and in 9/10 cases, will put you inside 10 feet for a par putt. Unless you're in a bunker, put that ball back in your stance and chip it! Not only will this reduce disasters around the greens, it will teach you where to miss your approach shots.