30 May 2010

    Advice from Nicklaus - approaching greens

    Taken from "The best of Nicklaus' golf (1992)" here are some points worth discussing.

    Lesson 50 Principles of position Play
    -"when you pass a hole you'll be playing later do you note the pin position? I'd bet that not 5 in a hundred weekend golfers do it habitually"
    -"there is an ideal route for playing every hole of golf"
    -"go to the movies"

    Lesson 51 Iron shot strategy
    -"always and I mean always tee the ball up on par-3 holes"

    Lesson 52 Distance factors in approaching
    -"On all approach shots I take a club that I believe will get me up, even if I miss it slightly"
    -"trouble behind greens is frequently less severe than hazards in front"

    Lesson 53 When to gamble on approach shots
    -""working in from the middle.""
    -"by aiming say 20 feet to the left or right of the pin and trying to fade or draw the ball in toward it, I give myself a much greater margin for error. Now I can miss the shot by 40 feet and still keep the ball within 20 feet of the hole."

    I doubt these points will have been raised with McIlroy but definitely most of them I rarely see my playing partners doing in Club golf.

    My routine is:
    1. Think about the approach before the previous shot.
    2. Work out the distance to the front, middle, and back of the green.
    3. Consider the best side to miss the green. (not that I usually do)
    4. Consider the behaviour of the ball on the green.
    5. Check the lie of the ball (tight,rough, divot, downslope etc.)
    6. Check the wind (grass, tree tops, flag)
    7. Pick a spot that will leave an uphill putt if possible.
    8. Once decided on the yardage and effect of the wind I pick the appropriate club and programme the swing length with a few practice swings.
    9. Choose a shot shape into the green depending on the pin position.
    10. "Go to the movies"
    11. Set up for the shot shape.
    12. Hit the ball.
    13. Watch the ball land and stop near the flag.

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