So you've had a quick look at the pin, you may have even glanced at your GPS or yardage book, and you're stepping in to play your shot. But have you really observed everything around you before pulling the trigger?
We caught up with The Belfry's senior coach Ben Frost to obtain his top tips as to what golfers should consider before they take dead aim at the pin...
#1 - HOW FAR AWAY ARE YOU REALLY AWAY FROM THE GREEN?
This is the first and most important thing to consider as the control and accuracy with for example a wedge versus a fairway wood is vast. Never just assume if you want to get the best result out of your approach shots!
#2 - IS THERE ANY OUT OF BOUNDS OR WATER CLOSE BY?
Even when you aren’t too far from the green, if you miss and the worst case scenario is a short sided chip, it's not the end of the world.
Any chance of penalty shots should be avoided as these are 100% wasted shots. Play safe.
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#3 - WHAT SIDE OF THE GREEN IS THE FLAG ON?
This is very relevant if you tend to play with a consistent shot shape.
For example, if a right handed golfer wants to fade a ball to a pin on the right side of the green, they will aim at the middle of the green, giving a large margin for error either side of that.
That same golfer trying to fade a ball towards a pin on the left side of a green will have to aim to the left of the green, meaning anything but a perfect fade or a slight slice will miss the green left.
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#4 - IS THE PIN ON THE FRONT OR BACK OF THE GREEN?
This is more about club selection.
To get close to a flag at the very front of the green you will need a club with enough loft to stop the ball quickly.
If you are using a longer club, getting close to that front pin is unlikely so expect to finish past it.
On the other hand, if the flag is at the back of the green, you may want to choose one club less so that the ball has room for some forward bounce but isn’t likely to run off the back of the green.
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NOW TRY THIS PROCESS FOR DECIDING ON HOW TO APPROACH A GREEN...
From this distance...
1 - am I confident I can hit the green more often than not? If not, definitely ignore the pin and give yourself the biggest margin for error possible.
2 - am I confident that through correct club selection, I can hit the ball to the front, middle or back of the green? If not, play for the centre of the green.
3 - am I confident I am able to hit a ball to either left or right half of the green? If not, again aim for the centre.