Why Lee Trevino says this move is ‘one of the biggest things’ in golf

Lee Trevino

Lee Trevino last December at the PNC Championship.

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Lee Trevino says golf is like checkers. And chess. But his point is the same. 

The thought is “one of the biggest things about playing golf,” he says.

The thought is to think ahead.

“You have to make preparations for the next shot,” he said on a video recently shared by the Arthritis Knee Pain Center, one of his supporters. “Forget the shot that you have. What other shot do you want? 

“So if I missed the shot, where is going to be my best chances of getting this ball up and down.”

But how best to do it? Trevino had a thought on that, too. Of course, the six-time major winner would. He’s one of golf’s best-ever players. He’s one of golf’s best-ever talkers. 

On the video, Trevino said his approach featured a line. 

“The hardest part of the world is you’ve got to cut the green in half, and you keep the 180 toward you, 180 behind you,” Trevino said. “Most guys and most people that miss greens [and] go in the bunkers that are on this side of that line will beat the guy that’s on that side of the line every time. This is where you have to try and keep the ball. Don’t go over all the time. You’re always going over. You’re always going over. 

“That’s the whole secret.”

In short, it’s course management and being aware of your miss and trouble. But it’s not easy. It’s hard to pump the brakes. Notably, the subject has come up recently with Viktor Hovland, the winner last month at the Tour Championship. 

Hovland had had a breakthrough. In this space at the time, we wrote the following four paragraphs (and you can read the longer story on Hovland here). 

“What you need to know here is that pro Edoardo Molinari is a stats wiz. But his system is more than what you pencil in on your scorecard.

“‘I think it was right after Augusta — it was right after Augusta National,’ Hovland said. ‘I had obviously been working with Edoardo for about a year — or even more than that, a year and a half, and Joe Mayo, my instructor, got on board earlier this year and just from watching me play the first kind of three, four, five months of the season, he was like, look, man, things are looking really good, but I would have a double bogey here or a double bogey there and it would just kind of mess up the whole tournament for me or it would get me out of contention.

“‘He’s just — he even said this while we were playing the Masters, while I’m in contention. It’s like, there’s something that’s missing. There’s something that’s not right. And in poker terms — we like to play a lot of poker — it’s like my frequencies are a little bit off. There’s a certain percentage of the time you’re supposed to bet, you’re supposed to check-raise, or you’re supposed to bluff. And basically there’s a certain percentage you’re supposed to short-side yourself. But basically I was doing that way more than the average player. And that’s when Joe asked Edoardo to see if the stats backed that up. And, yeah, we got a pretty good idea of just that’s basically what the stats showed. I was short-siding myself way more than the average Tour player does. So that was very revealing.’

“Good stuff. On Sunday night, after the victory, Hovland talked of being boring — ‘just trying to play like Tiger [Woods] back in the day when he would post the 69 or a 70 in a major championship and walk away with a victory.’ This is that. Go when it’s there. Don’t when it’s not. There’s strategy. There’s an approach.”

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Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at Golf.com and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at nick.piastowski@golf.com.