Sometimes the green keeper has a bad day at the office. Look out for the signs as tees can be placed on down slopes and pins tucked close to bunkers and near water hazards. These are the rounds whereby you need to have your thinking cap on or you will ‘short side’ yourself all day long and be unable to always get up and down.
Not everyone can play or think their way round to tour standards – this would be difficult as you would need to have the skill, knowledge and experience to pull of these shots as per these great ball strikers. It is therefore very important that the mid to high handicap player (and sometimes the low handicap golfer) should play their own game and to their comfort zone strengths. In a lot instances this might be not taking too much risk, whereas in other playing situations, the golfer might feel the reward is worthy of the risk. This very much depends on how players see shots and the way they like to play the golf course.
I vividly recall Tom Watson advising Fred Couples in his earlier days that he would be better off laying up at certain par-5s. Tom felt Fred could on a high percentage of times get up and down for a birdie-four. I’ve always been very aggressive and tended to go for par-5s in two where ever I can, in the hope I could get close enough to record an eagle. I always worked on the positive basis that if I hit a bunker or missed the green, I would scramble for a sub-par figure.
The aforementioned game plan very much depends on how the player is feeling – if he is striking the ball well and is the golfer confident he can execute a particular golf shot that has a ‘risk and reward’ element. I can vividly recall playing in the Second Stage of European Tour School at Costa Ballena in the South of Spain. I was being troubled with my back injury and started the final round very poorly but managed to salvage pars to keep me in contention. I then came across a par-5 after getting my round back on track and I did not feel confident enough to go for the shot which had a water hazard beside the green. I laid-up and then managed to wedge ‘stiff’ for a birdie-four, so never say never! I then went on to post a -7, 65, and top-10 finish to progress to final tour school.
As part of my golf development, I have been very fortunate enough to have had Newmachar Golf Club as my home course, which has several ‘risk and reward’ holes. This course requires sound course management, with irons off the tee on certain holes. I recently had a few holes and shot the following video of the par-3 9th hole, which is 124 yards off the yellow tees. In this golf video, I provide you with what I would do playing this golf hole. This does not necessarily apply to each and every golfer, but demonstrates the need for a plan and sound course management.
Indecision is fatal when playing to golf holes that have water hazards in close proximity. Make sure you have your game plan to positively deal with each shot – you will note I was aiming to the left of the flag and if I pushed this, the ball was at the hole-side and if I pulled the shot, this would have landed on the left hand side of the putting surface. Get your plan ready and make sure this is not thinking about not putting it in the water in this type of scenario – focus on what shot your going to execute, not what you do not want to do!!!!
YOUTUBE GOLFBLOGSPOT VIDEO FOR VIEWING
Graham J Gordon, the Owner and Editor, GolfblogspotUK