JACK NICK­LAUS

Play to your strengths on a dou­ble fair­way.

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Contents 2/ 15 - – with roger schiff­man

“It’s great to have op­tions, if you choose well and com­mit.”

I like op­tion golf. As a de­signer, I think it’s good to give golfers choices. And as a player, I en­joy weigh­ing those choices. That’s why I like holes that of­fer dou­ble fair­ways, where you have to pick one route over another. Th­ese de­signs are be­com­ing popular to­day. I’ve cre­ated th­ese holes on many of my cour­ses, in­clud­ing two at Val­halla, site of the 2014 PGA Cham­pi­onship. Dou­ble fair­ways are noth­ing new: The Old Course at St An­drews has them on almost ev­ery hole.

THE FOUR-SHOTTER

A good hole works for ev­ery­one. If you’re a short but straight hit­ter, you’ll prob­a­bly want to stay left here – even if it takes four shots to get on.

USE BUNKERS AS TAR­GETS

Not all bunkers are pe­nal. Some are di­rec­tional, placed by the de­signer as a tar­get or a ter­mi­nus defin­ing the edge of a hole. Use that to your ad­van­tage. This bunker might be un­reach­able for you from the tee, but you can aim at it and work the ball off it. This prin­ci­ple might ap­ply on the sec­ond and third shots as well.

GET THE FIRST ONE DONE

On this par 5, the dou­ble fair­way doesn’t be­gin un­til your sec­ond shot, so stay fo­cused on what you need to do off the tee. If you put the ball in the fair­way, you’ll have the op­tion to con­tinue up the left side or play to the right.

WHERE’S THE HOLE TO­DAY?

Be­cause of the bunker in front, if the flag is on the left side of the green, you’ll have a bet­ter an­gle from the left fair­way. If it’s on the right, the right fair­way of­fers a much eas­ier ap­proach shot.

MAKE SURE YOU CAN GET THERE

A big hit­ter who’s less ac­cu­rate can carry the lake into the wider fair­way on the right. Your strat­egy should take into ac­count your hand­i­cap and your strengths and weak­nesses.

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