You need to hit pinpoint shots to beat tough par 3s. While these holes are usually short, they often feature a ton of trouble. So, you heed to be careful when playing them. Below is a two-part golf swing drill that teaches you to hit pinpoint irons consistently.
Pinpoint Golf Swing Drill
Start by setting up to hit a 7-iron. Once at address, ground your club. Then imagine a yellow dot at the bottom of your club’s blade. Imagine another yellow dot at your navel and a third yellow dot at your sternum. Line up the yellow dots through impact to hit ball first with an iron.
To ingrain this feeling, set up to a ball as you typically would. Then take your trailing foot and place it as far behind you as you can. You want your foot almost in line with your front foot. Now hit some balls.
To keep the yellow dots line up as you go back, you need to be balanced and lined up straight with your weight slightly forward. Now come forward. Imagine yourself throwing the club through the impact.
After hitting several shots this way, bring your back foot forward in line with your other foot. Your feet should be about six inches or so apart. Hit several more shots this way.
Then widen your stance a bit and hit more shots. Keep widening your stance and hitting shots until you’re back in your regular address position.
Practicing this golf swing drill ingrains a pro-like impact position no matter your age or ability. It also teaches you to hit the kind of pinpoint irons you need to stay out of trouble and beat tough par 3s.
Change Golf Swing to Hit Hybrid Off the Tee on Par 3s
Hybrids are versatile clubs. You can use them in the rough, on the fairway, or off the tee. They give you the distance of long irons (1-4) but are easier to hit than those clubs. Plus, they give you a better chance to hit the ball in the air than long irons.
Hybrids can help you tame long par 3s. You can use them instead of a driver or fairway woods (3,5) off the tee. Some golfers also use hybrids off the tee on dogleg par 4s. Usually, you use an iron swing to hit hybrids. But not off the tee. There you need to adjust your golf swing to hit a hybrid well.
Below are five proven golf tips when hitting hybrids:
- Tee the ball lower than with a driver. You want the ball about one quarter above the clubhead. You can test your tee height by grounding the cub next to the ball on the tee. That will tell you if you’ve teed the ball correctly.
- Use a flat sweeping downswing. When hitting off the tee box, you’ll want to level your golf swing out shortly before impact. The bottom of the clubhead should be near to the ground at that point in your swing.
- Chip with a hybrid when just off the green. It often beats using a wedge or short iron. Grip the club as if it were a putter and using a putting stroke. The club pops the ball over the green’s edge. It then rolls toward the hole like a putt.
- Hit a hybrid like an iron on the fairway. If you use the flat sweeping swing of a fairway wood, you’ll mis-hit the shot. Instead, play the ball in the middle of your stance and hit down on it—just as you would with an iron. You want to take a divot just past the ball after making contact
- Use a hybrid to conquer deep rough. The high grass of deep rough is often too thick to hit an iron or fairway wood. Instead, use a hybrid to get out in one. It’s compact clubhead cuts through the grass better than an iron or fairway wood, boosting accuracy.
Hybrids are highly versatile clubs. They can help you take down tough par 3s and doglegged par 4s. But you may need to change your golf swing to match the situation you face. Master the hybrid and you’ll cut strokes from both your average score and your golf handicap.
Avoid These 7 Mental Mistakes and Own Par 3s
Do par 3s kill your scores? If they do, you’re not alone. Par 3s hurt many weekend golfers’ scores. Too often golfers take par 3s for granted, and it costs them. Making a five or a six on a par 3 won’t help you break 80. It could even ruin your day.
Par 3s are often among the toughest holes on the course. They’re usually well-guarded with sand traps of water in front. If the hole isn’t that well-guarded, it often has the flag tucked away in a tough spot. Some par 3s have both.
If you want to break 80, you need to own par 3s. The key to doing that isn’t necessarily in your golf swing, however. Sure, there will be those times when your mechanics are off and you hit a bad shot. But often it’s your hole strategy that gets you in trouble on par 3s.
To beat these holes, look first for what the hole presents based on club choice, shot selection, trajectory, and ball placement. Then develop a game plan designed to dominate the hole using this information.
Common Par 3 Mistakes that Cost You
The game plan you develop should help you avoid some common mistakes golfers make on par 3s. These mistakes can land you in a hazard and cost you strokes. Below are seven of the most common mistakes weekend golfers make on par 3s. Eliminate them and you’ll dominate the hole:
· Choosing the wrong cub
This mistake is by far the most common of all par-3 mistakes. It’s also the deadliest. You have three choices when choosing a club. (1) You can take the club based strictly on distance. If the hole is 150 yards away and you hit a 7-iron that far, you use your 7-iron and an aggressive swing on the hole.
(2) You can overclub. That entails selecting a club that you know you can hit more than 150 yards. Then, choke down on the cub and take a golf swing that’s nice and easy. This choice helps you maintain balance and rhythm in your swing.
(3) Finally, you can underclub. This choice keeps you short of any hazards protecting the front of the green. You can then pitch or chip to the green. This choice keeps you out of trouble. It also leaves you with a manageable approach shot if you miss. Aim for safe areas in front of the green.
· Flag hunting
Flag hunting leaves you no margin for error. Often, you have to hit the shot perfectly to find the flag. How many of us do that on-demand? So, flag hunting on par 3s is risky. If you mis-hit the ball, you’ll find yourself in a world of trouble. Instead, aim for the center of the green. That can’t move that.
· Underestimating the hole’s hazards
Many weekend golfers take hazards lightly. So, they throw caution to the wind and go for it. Don’t let par 3 hazards fool you. Instead, assess the damage the hazards can do to your score first. Then, figure out how you can avoid them and still have a shot at par. In other words, look for a place where you can miss safely. Then, aim for these areas.
· Underestimate yardage and elevation
Par 3s sometimes often have a change in elevation. The hole might be atop a hill or down in a valley. Both placements offer challenges. To beat them, you need to consider the “effective distance” of the shot and the shot’s trajectory. Now, pick the best club for the situation and commit to the shot.
· Failing to adjust tee height
Weekend golfers often tee the ball too high on par 3s. As a result, they hit the top part of the clubface instead of the sweet spot. That results in a weak hit that carries them into a hazard. Jack Nicklaus suggests teeing the ball up about a quarter of an inch above the ground on Par 3s. That allows you to get under the ball and get the right height on the shot.
· Failing to consider shot pattern
How you hit the ball often differs from day today. One day you’re hitting a draw and the next, you’re hitting a fade. Compensate for your shot pattern that day when playing par 3s. Also, keep in mind where the flag is on the hole.
· Avoid the “in-between” shot
Many golfers find themselves “in-between” clubs on a Par 3. For example, the shot is too close to hit a 7-iron and too far for an 8-iron. Try to avoid this trap. Instead, use the whole tee box for your shot.
You can move back in the box two full club lengths. Use your driver to measure the distance. You can even stand outside of the tee box. The key is to avoid the in-between shot.
Par 3s can kill your scores. Often, these holes are among the most guarded on the course. Or, the flag is in a tight spot. Beating tough par 3s isn’t just about making a good golf swing on the hole. It’s also about developing and executing a game plan that keeps you out of trouble and saves strokes.