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Riviera’s No. 10: How to work the angles on a short par-4

February 14, 2019

It’s so temptingYou arrive at a short par 4 and instinctively pull driver. “If I hit it good, maybe I can reach!,” you think. There’s no hole that lures you into that decision more than No. 10 at Riviera C.C., which runs a paltry 261 yards from the member’s tees. Go time, right?

Not so fast, fella. Of the 91 PGA Tour players who attempted to drive the 10th green during the first round of the 2018 Genesis Open, only two actually hit the green. Two! Even for the game’s A-listers, anything other than a perfect drive leaves you in a bunker or buried in Kikuyu rough short of the green. Trust us—swings from these spots are harder to pull off than the one you just attempted! The angle below shows why. The 10th green is tiny and sits on a diagonal to the tee line. It runs fast and drops off toward multiple hazards. From the rough or sand, it’s difficult to generate enough spin to stop the ball near the hole. 

Don’t make life more difficult for yourself. On short par 4s, focus on working the angles rather than flexing your muscle. Your goal off the tee is simply to give yourself a clear look at the pin on your second shot. On No. 10 at Riviera, that means laying up down the hole’s left side, even with a 7-iron. Rather than putting yourself behind the eight ball immediately, play smart. A memorable birdie is still in play.

Riviera 10th hole

1. HIT THIS – It’s okay to miss left on Riviera’s 10th of lay up down the port side. A clean line to the pin awaits.

2. NOT THAT – A miss right should definitely be avoided. There’s just not enough green to work with on your second.