Most superintendents try to put holes in fair locations. But other superintendents like to really challenge you. So they put holes in tough locations—like behind two bunkers or in the middle of a valley. But by and large hole locations were generally away from the green’s edge.
But this has changed. Supers are moving the holes closer and closer to the green’s edge. They’re probably responding to the latest equipment advances—many of which make it easier to stop a ball quickly on the green. Whatever the reason, it’s made for some interesting golf.
Increases Short-sided Shots
Moving holes closer to the edge can cost you strokes big time. It increases the chances you’ll short side the green with an approach shot. Short-sided shots are tough. They often require great touch to pull them off. If you miss them, they can cost you.
If you’re serious about cutting strokes from your golf handicap, you’ll master as many short-sided shots as you can. They can save your bacon—whether you’re playing stroke play or match play.
Below are golf tips on how to hit four of the games most common short-sided shots. Also, we’ve added a checklist that will help you decide whether to go for the hole or play it safe.
Approach Shot Checklist
Deciding whether to go for it with an approach shot is tough decision if the pin is close to the edge of the green. Many factors come into play when making this decision. Things like the lie, the distance to the green, and the type of wind can affect your decision. So how do you decide?
Nick Faldo suggests you ask yourself four questions before going for the flag on an approach shot:
- Is your lie good?
- Would you hit the green 7 out of 10 times from that distance?
- Does the location match your natural shot shape?
- If you miss the green, are you likely to make no worse than a bogey?
If you answer every question with a yes, go for it. If not, play it safe.
Key Short-Sided Shots
Even if everything is in your favor when you hit your approach shot, you still could miss it and find yourself hitting one of the shots below.
- Short chip from the rough
Many consider this shot among the hardest in golf—especially if the ball is sitting down. Commitment is the key. Make sure you accelerate through the ball. Use a 56-degree wedge and swing through until your hands reach hip high. Golf tips to remember: Don’t baby the shot, like some of the students in our golf lessons did recently. Be aggressive. You must make the green with this chip.
- High pitch over trouble
It depends on the lie. If you have a bad one, make sure you hit the ball hard enough to carry the obstacle. Don’t worry about where you end up. If you have a good lie, swing a little easier. Golf tips to remember: Open your stance a bit. Increase your knee flex. And keep the club head low to the ground through impact.
- Long bunker shot
You want to carry the ball all the way to the pin. Hitting the shot past the pin is better than leaving it in the bunker. That won’t do much for your score. Golf tips to remember: Open the face and take a full swing. Contact the sand close to the ball. And try to slide the club under the ball.
- Touch shot from the sand
This shot also depends on your lie. If your ball is on the down slope, hit your normal bunker shot. It comes out lower, but you’ll get it on the green. If you have a flat lie or are on the upslope, be more aggressive. Golf tips to remember: Open your stance and your clubface. Make a full swing. Contact the sand an inch or two behind the ball.
Run through Nick Faldo’s checklist on approach shots to tough greens. If you go for it and miss, you may find yourself hitting one of the four shots above. So work on them in practice. Ingraining the golf tips we provided above increases your chances of making them.