Archive for May 2010 | Monthly archive page

When practicing or playing, it is always important to pick an exact target and swing the club to that target. This holds true whether you are playing a putt, iron shot to the green, lay-up shot, drive or any shot.

If you are putting, keep focused on the cup or if it is a long putt you might focus on a slightly larger target such as an imaginary tub that would be a 15” radius of the cup. Some players like Jack Nicklaus pick a specific spot on the green a few feet in front of them that would be on the line they want their ball to roll. This is sort of like using the arrows on the floor in bowling. This is an excellent method to use for putting. Many good players continue to use this method for full shots as well but it is also important to keep your focus on the exact target you are aiming for.

If playing an iron shot to the green and you are shooting to the flagstick, focus on the flagstick and swing the club through on a line to the flagstick. If the flagstick is tucked closely over a bunker, you might want to play your shot to the center part of the green. If so, pick out a specific target such as a patch of discoloration in the green, or another player’s ball that may already be on the green.

When playing a lay up shot, don’t just swing for the fairway without an exact target in mind. Pick a spot where you want to play your next shot from considering both the distance and line. If playing a par five hole and you cannot reach the green in two shots, don’t just take any club out to advance your position down the fairway. Know what a comfortable distance is for you with your favorite wedge. Let’s say you like to hit your pitching wedge 100 yards and you have 275 yards to the green. You should then know you need to hit your lay up shot 165 yards. You then select a club you can hit the distance of 165 yards. Now it is important to pick an exact target. Look down the fairway to the approximate distance you are trying to lay up to. Look for something that you can precisely focus on. Many times a target might be one of the small cart signs placed in the fairway. Or it might be a chunk of someone’s divot lying in the fairway. Now as you play your shot, you are focused on a precise target and if you are slightly off, you should still have a decent third shot to the green. If just swinging away without focus, you may just end up in that fairway bunker or just in the rough with a grassy lie. Now your third shot to the green is not exactly the easy shot that it should be.

When playing a drive, try to play using this same method. If you can actually see the landing area of the fairway, try to pick a specific target to swing to. Sometime you may be playing a bit of a blind shot. Once again, try to pick an exact target like a tree or maybe a power line tower or roof top at a distance. Picking an exact target will give you more focus and will make your bad shots not as bad. Once the great Ben Hogan was playing a course for the first time came to a hole that was of a blind shot from the tee. He asked his caddy where he should hit his drive. The caddy replied just play to that group of trees at the end of the fairway.

Mr. Hogan then replied, “Which tree?