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Plan 'B'
One of the things I think is very interesting and fun about this game is that there are a number of ways to play every hole you encounter. And sometimes a hole offers "better" ways to play it than you might think. Let me explain with a couple of experiences from my own golf life.

ONE

In my thirties and forties, I played at a club outside of San Antonio — Fair Oaks Ranch. The 18th hole was a tough par-4 with a very small landing area and a gaping bunker at about 175 yards out. The skinny fairway left of that bunker was not more than 15 yards wide and there was a little mott of trees on the green-side of the bunker that you would have to carry with your mid-iron bunker approach. Tough, to say the least. That hole drove most of us nuts, and double-bogeys were more common than birdies, for sure. Par was always a great score.

So, one day it hit me that if I hit 4-wood off the tee, I would have an elevated fairway look at the green from about 200-210, giving me another soft 4-wood or 3-iron to the green, and the fairway was about 40 yards wide back there. Being a good long-club player, I began to play the hole that way. Doubles disappeared entirely, pars became the norm, and I even made the occasional birdie. Hmmmmmm.

TWO

At my current club, the ninth hole just doesn't fit my eye or my game. I play a fade off the tee most of the time, and turning over a draw is just tough for me. Our ninth is a dogleg left, with a bunker on the right side of the fairway that runs from about 165-125 from the green, right where the prime driving area is. What makes this hole so tough for me is that the prevailing wind is left-to-right and trees just 60-100 yards off the tee keep me from starting the ball out left and letting it ride the breeze. This is another one where birdies are rare for me there, and bogeys and doubles way too frequent.

So, it dawned on me the other day... finally... that I could hit 4-wood right at that bunker and not get to it, leaving me a 5- or 6-iron into the green, rather than the short iron the rare proper drive would leave me. So, there's my new strategy on that hole. I'm a good mid-iron player, so I'm fine with that — and that &@#$ fairway bunker will never catch me again.

My point in all this is that sometimes a hole gets under your skin, or just doesn't set up well for your game. When that happens, design for yourself a "Plan B" — change the way you play it, at least for a while. Quite often, you will find a solution to a problem and your scores and attitude will improve.

I'm just sayin'...
The Wedge Guy is sponsored by SCOR Golf, where Terry Koehler is President/CEO. He encourages you to submit your questions or topics to be considered for his columns on Tuesdays and Fridays. Each submission automatically enters you to win a SCOR4161 wedge to be given away monthly. Click the button below to submit your question or topic today.


[ comments ]
ally1957 says:
The trouble with this method is that you get good a playing "A" course. if you then play somewhere else your stuck.
The advantage though is that it does teach you to read the course which sometimes transfers to other courses.
Recently stated playing a new course my friend who hits it a mile is stuck because the course is a lot shorter. My wedges help with accuracy over distance
4/25/14
 
scottishguyiniowa says:
The big thing to learn from this is to always check the yardages to bunkers (or hazards in general) off the tee to give you more options to play a hole.
5/30/14
 
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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

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