Finding the green in regulation is a vital component of successful golf and if you can give yourself a putt for birdie on every hole, you will be very happy.
If it was as easy as it sounds, we would all be professional golfers and playing approach shots can be one of the most difficult aspects of the game. However, if you can improve this area of your game you will quickly lower your score.
Generally, approach shots will be a tee shot on par-3’s, the second shot on par-4’s and the third shot on par-5 holes. How close you can get your ball to the hole will determine what score is realistically achievable on the hole.
The trouble many beginner and amateur players have when playing approach shots is coming up short to the green and sending the ball off target. Improving the consistency of your approach shots will help in landing the ball on the green.
Know exactly how far you can hit each of your irons from 5 through to 9 and use that knowledge when judging the distance to the green. If you can hit a 7 iron 140 yards and the green is 150 yards away, do not try and hit a 7 iron harder to reach the green, it will result in a poor shot.
Instead, use the 6 iron and play the shot with a nice, easy swing for better results.
Always check the wind and the lay of the land when playing an approach shot. If the wind is blowing with you, the club you choose may be different to that when the conditions are still. If the green is uphill, you may need a little more club to carry the ball to the green, so always be aware of these things which influence your choice of club.
Having taken these factors into account, choose the club which will land the ball in the centre of the green.
If the conditions are right, you may want to try and land your ball as close to the hole as possible and use some spin to get it there. Spinning the ball back on approach shots can be difficult but if perfected, will lead to more birdie chances. You can land the ball beyond the hole and allow it to come back or hold it in position next to the hole.
They key to this shot is to come down on the back of the ball and take a good divot. A wedge is the best club to use for this shot, so you will need to be within range of the green. To perfect this shot, choose a golf ball which produces a high level of spin, such a urethane covered golf ball as this is proven to spin more than other golf balls.
Place a small item behind you, such as a basket, the length of your wedge from the bottom of the grip to the end of the club away from you. Place the ball slightly back in your stance, with your hands and weight towards your leading leg. The club should be angled a little towards your front hip.
When you enter the backswing, the ascent of the club and into the downswing must be steep and aggressive. You will know if you need to make the angle steeper on the shot because the club will hit the basket.
Practice this shot on real grass, not driving range mats and use urethane balls, like our 3-piece TourBug for the best results.