This simple formula will tell you when you should aim at the pin

Golf practice balls sit on a practice green around a yellow flagstick

Aim for the middle of the green more, your scorecard will thank you.

GOLFTEC

We talk a lot about the golf swing here on GOLF.com, and for good reason. It’s super important! But, the best coaches also know that there’s a time and place to make changes to your golf swing, and there’s a time you have to play with what you have. It may not be perfect, but when you’re standing with a golf club in your hands and a green in front of you, you’ve got to make the best of it.

That’s why I enjoyed this handy course management tip from GOLF Top 100 Teacher and GOLFTEC’s VP of Instruction, Nick Clearwater. Best of all, it’s really simple to follow, regardless of your skill level. Here’s how it works, and if you’re looking to get your own game evaluated, you can book a swing evaluation at your local GOLFTEC right here, or below.

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When to aim at the center vs. the pin

More often than not, golfers are better served to simply aim for the middle of the green. Certainly whenever you’re not sure what to do, you can do a lot worse than simply taking an extra club and aiming for the fattest part of the green, regardless of where the pin is.

But if you want to get a little more fancy, Clearwater lays out below the exact yardages you should take aim at the pin, rather than the middle, based on a study of dispersion patterns from GOLFTEC players:

  • For those who shoot in the 100s, only aim at the pin if you’re 50 yards away from the pin or closer.
  • For those in the 90s, 78 yards is your magic number. Aim away from the pin unless you’re inside 78 yards.
  • 80s shooters should be playing towards the middle anytime they’re outside 120 yards.
  • 70 shooters (or better) have the most opportunity to go at the green. If they’re inside 172 yards, take dead aim.

Aim for the middle of the green anytime you’re outside these yardages.

GOLFTEC

Of course, this all goes without saying that every golfer is different, but treat is as a general guideline. And take the lesson within: You should probably aim for the middle of the green a lot more than you currently are.

Watch the full video right here:

Luke Kerr-Dineen

Golf.com Contributor

Luke Kerr-Dineen is the Game Improvement Editor at GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com. In his role he oversees all the brand’s service journalism spanning instruction, equipment, health and fitness, across all of GOLF’s multimedia platforms.

An alumni of the International Junior Golf Academy and the University of South Carolina–Beaufort golf team, where he helped them to No. 1 in the national NAIA rankings, Luke moved to New York in 2012 to pursue his Masters degree in Journalism from Columbia University and in 2017 was named News Media Alliance’s “Rising Star.” His work has also appeared in USA Today, Golf Digest, Newsweek and The Daily Beast.