Bill Wilson

General pointers for better scores

Here are a few tips of different parts of the game that should help you make better decisions on how to play certain shots. I call this good play management as there is more to the game than just the physical act of hitting a ball. A huge part of the game in regards to scoring is your decision making. The mental side of the game. I might mention that patience play’s a big part of the mental side also.

Let’s look at the start of the hole (tee box) on the par 4’s and 5’s. Just because these are long holes does not mean the only club you should use is your number one metal. There. No more calling them woods. Old habits are hard to change. They are metal not wood. I am fixed. On the tee box the first thing to consider is where do I want to hit my second shot from? My goal is to get my ball to end up there. Depends on many things. Could be wind, tree locations, water ponds, slope of fairway (side hill or up or down slope), boundary fence of property, sand traps etcetera. Wind is a big factor. It is not all about how far you can hit it but the safety of your ball flight. Consider all the factors just mentioned and then choose the prober club to execute the tee shot.

More on tee shots. This I covered a bit in last week’s article but it is so important a bit more on it. Always play your normal ball flight. If this is a fade or slice then play it. Do not try to manufacture some other type of ball flight. That is for the practice tee. Important, do not try to hit the straight tee shot if you are a slicer or a fader of the golf ball. This also applies to those that hook or draw the ball. This does not mean you have to live with this ball flight forever but when playing the course play with what you have. Decide before you play what is my ball flight now (consistent ball flight) and play it. Now if I were a fader of the golf ball (ie. slight left to right ball flight curve as I am right-handed) I would tee my ball in the center of the tee makers and aim down the left side of the fairway. If I execute properly the ball will end up somewhere in the middle of the fairway because of the fade. If I error and slice (major curve) then I have lots of room to the right of center to avoid trouble. If though I always had a big curve to the right called a slice, then I would tee the ball up on the right side of the tee box and aim down the left side of the fairway also. This will allow for more landing area if the ball flight curves too much. Where you tee the ball is opposite for those that curve the ball the other way called a draw or major curve called a hook. What we find with players that curve the ball is that it is very consistent and can be relied on. So aiming down the left side of the fairway for a right hand person is most often safe from your ball flight going left where trouble is close.

Now the short game chip and run shot. It is a proven fact that in the short game (close to putting surface but not on it) you have more control on hitting the ball the right distance by keeping it low. Using a club such as a seven or eight iron and hit what is called a chip and run is ideal. Always keep in mind that in hitting the chip and run shot that we do not want to bounce the ball short of the green and then on. We want to land it on the green like any other short shot. If we land it short, we have no idea what kind of bounce it will take. Much better control if our ball lands on the green. So, for this shot your ball must be very close to the green. A few feet only. Keep in mind the chip will run will roll a long way once it lands. Allow for this. If perchance my ball is only inches off the green or maybe a foot maximum and the grass is cut short and the ground is level or smooth this is where we would use our putter.