Choose The Right Golf Shot

Most golf tips focus on the mechanics of the golf swing or putting stroke, but you can save a lot of shots by making the right decisions on the golf course when selecting which golf shot to hit.

When I am out with a golfer on a playing lesson or playing in a pro-am I am often amazed at some of the decisions players take. So many times I see them take on hero shots that really have no chance of coming off.

Here is a great example of a poor golf shot selection

I was out on a playing lesson with a lady golfer who can hit the ball very nicely. We were on the 8th hole at Leighton Buzzard Golf Club and it’s a hole where you can curl your tee shot around some trees and if successful you will only have approximately 120 yards into the green for your second shot.

This is only true if you hit the ball long enough and consistently enough to take on such a high risk shot.

The other problem is there is out of bounds all the way down the left side of the hole and the hole is a dogleg. If you go for it as I have already said you must be long enough to get past the dogleg and you must not over hook the ball otherwise you will go out of bounds.

So, I was on the tee with the lady golfer and I asked her where she wanted her ball to end up. She proceeded to tell me that she wanted to hook the ball around the trees onto the fairway. Now, in her dreams that might have seemed like a good idea, but unfortunately in reality it wasn’t. The reason is simply that it was far too risky for such little reward.

When selecting your golf shot, ask yourself these questions:

  • How high is the risk?
  • What could happen if the shot doesn’t come off?
  • Is the reward big enough to take on such a high risk?
  • Am I honestly capable of hitting the shot?

9 times out of 10 the reward is too small for the risk you are taking

This can change depending on the scenario you are in. For example if you are playing a match against one opponent then it might be realistic to take on a high risk shot if you have to. In medal  play it’s rarely wise to take on a high risk shot at any time. The reason for this is that in a match-play against an opponent you will only lose one hole which you can recover from. In stroke play or medal play if you have a disaster after taking on a high risk shot you can potentially have a double, triple or even a quadruple bogey and that is extremely difficult to recover from when playing stroke play.

So think carefully and assess the situation before you make a decision. It may seem like a good idea but believe me when I say it really really hurts your pride and your scorecard if you make a complete mess of it. Know your limitations and what you can realistically achieve and don’t judge yourself against the best players in the world that you see on TV.

Remember golf is about how many shots you take – the fewer the better! I think the best example (if  a little extreme) was in the film ‘Tin Cup’ where he goes for a hero shot on the last hole of the US Open. It made for great entertainment, but we all know he should have laid up, taken a par (or still birdie) and taken the money.