A 3-step plan for scoring lower on par-4s, per top teacher

Success on par 4s can be the difference between bogey golf and breaking 80. So Derek Swoboda gives 3 steps to keep in mind on these holes

Use these tips to conquer par-4s — and see your scores drastically drop.

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If you want to lower your golf scores, a good place to start would be improving on par-4s.

On most 18-hole courses, the majority of the holes you’ll play are par-4s (with a few par-3s and par-5s sprinkled in), so it’s wise to have a game plan and understand how to adapt when necessary on these types of layouts.

For instance, is it more important to hit a fairway off the tee, or can you get away with missing and having a strong recovery shot? If you have a bad drive and a below-average approach, can the shots within 100 yards (chipping and putting) lead to bogey-free golf?

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These are the types of things you need to think about in order to shave strokes off your handicap.

Here’s something else to keep in mind when it comes to playing par-4s: The Tour average last season was 4.03, so scoring lower on these holes is all about limiting mistakes. So instead of thinking birdie, only think par — and save your scoring holes for the par-3s and par-5s.

So how can you actually improve on par-4s? GOLF Teacher to Watch Derek Swoboda provides a 3-step plan to follow, which will help change your mentality and make you play smarter in order to score lower. Check out his thoughts below.

These 3 steps will help you score lower on par-4s

If you look at any of your recent scorecards, there’s a good chance that you handled par-3s OK and (hopefully) didn’t kill yourself on par-5s; so the par-4s were the great differentiator.

But attacking every par-4 the same is a mistake that’s only going to get you in trouble. Just because they have the same par doesn’t mean they’re all scoring holes — so plan accordingly.

Golf becomes increasingly difficult without a plan. By using this comprehensive formula on par-4s, you’ll build success from tee-to-green and avoid round-crushing mistakes.

1. Tee up on the side of trouble

If you’re playing a hole with water on the right side, start on the right side of the tee box. By setting up on the same side as the water, you’ve given yourself a better angle that’s aimed away from the water from your tee shot.

Step 1 to lowering scores on par-4 holes should be to simply get the ball safely in play. One of the main scorecard-killers is the lost ball off the tee — so don’t let this be you anymore!

2. Have a high-percentage approach

Your second shot should always bring common sense to the forefront. This means identifying three main distances on your approach shot; the front, middle, and back of the green.

Next, identify if there’s any trouble surrounding the green and what distance it would take to reach or carry this trouble.

For example, if the flag is 100 yards away and the carry distance over a bunker is 95 yards, check the yardage to the back of the green. Say it’s 120 yards to the back edge, you now have more room than you originally thought.

By choosing the safer club that you’re able to hit 110 yards, you can avoid the bunker — and stay away from a big number on your scorecard.

3. Just putt it close enough

I’m a firm believer that lag-putting is one of the most underrated skills in the game of golf.

More often than not, you’ll have more than 20 feet for your birdie or par putt on these par-4 holes. On the PGA Tour, less than 12 percent of putts over 20 feet go in the hole — so forget about making it and retrain your brain to just put it close enough.

By dialing in your lag-putting, you can 2-putt and still walk away with a good score.

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Nick Dimengo

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