4 ways to stay out of trouble on a postcard par-3
2018 PGA of America
You know the feeling. You’ve arrived at a gorgeous par-3. You snap a photo. Marvel at the scenery. But then comes the tough part: actually playing the hole. Take the par-3 17th at Whistling Straits (Straits course), the host of last month’s Ryder Cup. With trouble lurking left, do you bail out right to safety or gun straight for the pin? This hole alone provided a ton of memorable moments from Ryder Cup week. (Right, Jordan Spieth?) As always, let’s strip things back to the very basics.
1. Pick a smart target
No, you’re not going to aim directly at this flag, tucked near the left edge of the green. If you do, your margin for error suddenly becomes half as wide, because missing left could cost you two shots or more. Instead, pick a specific spot halfway between the left edge of “safe” and the right edge of “safe.” Hit it there.
2. Check your setup
Boring advice, we know. But hitting an exciting shot is all the more reason to focus on the basics. Are your feet, hip and shoulder lines (and the clubface) all pointing at the target? That should give you the confidence to let ’er rip.
3. Choose the right ballflight
Ben Hogan used to aim at trouble and work the ball away from it, because it forced him to commit. Nick Faldo did the opposite, because then he felt the ball was moving the slowest as it turned toward trouble. What’s your typical ballflight? If it’s a fade, hit a fade! If it’s a draw, hit a draw! Unless you’re playing No. 17 in the Ryder Cup itself, don’t fight your natural move.
4. Make a proper swing
In this case a “proper” swing means your proper swing. Visualize the perfect shot soaring at your target. Finish your backswing. Then hit all the way through the ball, holding your finish like a pro. You do want a good photo after all.
Need help unriddling the greens at your home course? Pick up a custom Green Book from 8AM Golf affiliate GolfLogix.