Approach Shots

Want to hit more greens? Here’s the secret from the best ball striker at the U.S. Women’s Open

jin young ko swings

Jin Young Ko leads the field in ball striking after the opening round at The Olympic Club.

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SAN FRANCISCO — Jin Young Ko’s U.S. Women’s Open got off to a great start at The Olympic Club as she posted a one-under 70 and sits just three shots off the lead. A big part of that success can be credited to her elite iron play.

As the top-ranked player in the women’s game, Ko is strong in all facets of the game, but her approach game is what separates her from her peers. With a swing that looks all but effortless, she is able to hit greens with elite precision.

Ko ranks inside the top 10 on the LPGA Tour in GIR percentage at 77.3 percent this season, and her driving accuracy is similarly potent as she hits over 80 percent of her fairways, ranking inside the top 15 in driving accuracy.

That theme was true yet again in her first round at Olympic as she hit 16 of 18 greens in regulation, and 10 of 14 fairways in regulation.

Her secret for this top-notch ball striking is a simple one.

“My target is always middle of the green,” Ko said. “Every shot I focus on that.”

Although aiming for the center of the green might not be a glamorous strategy, it’s one that has helped propel Ko to the top of the game and won her two major championships.

And when prodded her for her go-to swing thought that helps her hit so many greens, the answer was, again, surprisingly simple.

“Every week it is different,” she said. “It always feels different. I found it this week, so I can’t wait to play more.”

These two tips are immensely valuable for the recreational golfer. If the best player in the world isn’t aiming at the flagstick, then neither should you.

Also, having swing thoughts that change over time is important. Feelings that work today may not work tomorrow, so focus on finding the correct feeling and ride it for as long as you can.
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