BUTCH HAR­MON

Dis­tance with­out con­trol isn’t worth much

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Contents 11/18 -

Find­ing con­trol off the tee.

When you’re hit­ting an ap­proach shot, the yardage to the green im­me­di­ately points you to a par­tic­u­lar club. From 150 me­tres, you might think, That’s my 6-iron. From 180, Gimme

the 5-wood.You base those se­lec­tions on the thou­sands of shots you’ve hit with those clubs. Bet­ter yet, think in terms of av­er­ages. Maybe you’ve crushed a few 7-irons 150 – or even did it rou­tinely 20 years ago – but the way you hit it now on av­er­age is the info you should use.

If you’re like most golfers, that logic dis­ap­pears when you get on the tee of a par 4 or 5. Your main con­cern be­comes hit­ting the ball as far as you can, and that means tak­ing a rip with the driver. Maybe you’ll opt for a fair­way wood or hy­brid, but when you do, I bet you try to hit those clubs all-out, too.The only thing worse than spray­ing one with a driver is tak­ing a safer club and do­ing the same.

The good news is, if you’re savvy enough to leave the driver in the bag some­times, you’re half­way there. Now you just have to get your­self to play the club you pick to the dis­tance you nor­mally hit it. If your 3-hy­brid goes 190 me­tres, try to hit it 190 me­tres – not 250.

To stay smooth, it’s good to have a re­minder. Hold your nish un­til the ball lands, like I’m do­ing in this photo. If it’s tough for you to stay in bal­ance, you’re swing­ing too hard. Re­mem­ber why you picked that club: You don’t need driver dis­tance; you need con­trol.

Here’s a good im­age to use when you’re play­ing for po­si­tion o the tee: Pre­tend you’re on a par 3. Pic­ture the driv­ing zone as a green. Most fair­ways are wider than most greens, so if you “hit the green,” you’re on the short grass.At the very least, you’ll avoid big misses.

So pick your tar­get, com­mit to it, and play your nor­mal shot with that club.Trust me, you’ll have a lot more fun play­ing this game from the fair­way.

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