Looks Easy, Plays Hard

Don’t let a short par 4 ruin your day

Golf Digest Middle East - - Play your Best | Tee To Green -

hen a hole lacks dis­tance, you can bet there’s some­thing else that makes up for it—like a bru­tal green. The 315-yard 10th at Riviera Coun­try Club ( is a per­fect ex­am­ple. It might be the tough­est driv­able par 4 in the world, with a very nar­row green that tilts se­verely to the left. If you miss it right, you can’t hold a pitch shot on the sur­face. Most pros try to drive the green dur­ing the Ge­n­e­sis Open—Dustin John­son is go­ing for it here with a fair­way wood— but be­cause of that green, it seems we see as many bo­geys as birdies.

When you face a short par 4, you have a choice be­tween try­ing to drive the ball as close to the green as pos­si­ble or lay­ing back with a more con­ser­va­tive shot. If you have the length to get near the green, driver might be the play. But be­fore you swing away, con­sider the shots you might leave your­self, given the shape and slope of the green. You might de­cide you’re bet­ter off com­ing in from 70 or 80 yards than try­ing to pull off a mir­a­cle lob or bunker shot.

If you opt to lay up from the tee, don’t just slap the ball out there with your driver. Pick a club that you can make a good, solid swing with, and set up your favourite wedge yardage in the fair­way. Do that, and you’ll prob­a­bly make the drive the sec­ond shot a lot eas­ier.

Last thought: If you have a short par 4 on your course, next time you’re stand­ing on the green, look back and play the hole in your mind. From this per­spec­tive, you’ll see the shots and an­gles that make the hole eas­ier.

Re­mem­ber this anal­y­sis the next time you step up to that hole.

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