Knock Down the Pin: 3 Steps to More Birdies

December 11, 2015

The quickest way to hit more greens is to forget the flag and aim for the center of the putting surface. This keeps things simple, and it works. Check out this PGA Tour data from 2015:

Approach Shot / Average Proximity to Pin

  • 100-125 yds. — 19.8 ft.
  • 150-175 yds. — 27.5 ft.
  • 200-225 yds. — 41.1 ft.

Even the world’s sharpest players often leave themselves hefty distances from the flag. And since your shots will tend to fall outside these numbers, it’s even more critical to give yourself a big margin of error on your approaches. Gunning for the fat of the green helps you avoid card-killing hazards.

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Try these three tips to further hone your iron game. When you get your approach shots dialed in, you can pick your spots to be more aggressive–and take dead aim at the flag.


At the range, set an alignment stick at a 45-degree angle to the ground. Make sure the stick is pointing at your target, then place a ball under the tip of the elevated end. Your goal? Miss the stick as you swing through impact. This will help you groove an inside approach to the ball, which is the best way to consistently hit straight shots.


You want to strike the ball with a square clubface. The trick? Hold the club in front of you, toe up (as shown). With the back of your left wrist flat and facing away from you, wrap your fingers around the grip. Secure the handle with your right hand and take your stance. Look down–you want to replicate what you see at impact.


As you swing through impact, allow the clubhead to release fully. Feel as though your right forearm is crossing over your left in your follow-through and forming an “X“ (below). If you got Step No. 1 at left down pat, the X will take shape to the right of the target from your perspective, and the ball will draw.