By Kent Thomas, PGA Director of Golf, DuPont Country Club
Looking to improve your handicap? Each month, keep your average score for par 3s. For most of you, shooting par or even an average of 3.5 on these holes will have a big impact on your scorecard. To get started, this month track your average score on par 3s. Next month, make a conscious effort to improve that average.
Strategy 1: Knowing Your Distances Allows
- Learn how far you hit each club. Determine what your best distance is, and what your regular distance is with each club.
- Learn to calculate the impact on your distances if you’re hitting to a green either 10 yards above or below the tee. (Hint: Club selection and ball trajectory play important roles.) Learn to identify a one-club, two-club and greater wind (wind speed/direction).
Strategy 2: Don’t Leave It Short
Wherever the flag is on a par 3, always select a club that will reach the back, or back half of the green. Few of us hit our clubs out of the sweet spot every time. Your #6 iron might go 150 yards, but let’s allow for a slight mis-hit and the fact that it’s only going to reach 142 yards.
This strategy is based on the fact that most of the trouble on par 3s is in front of the hole. That’s obviously not the case every time. If there’s water behind the hole, you don’t want any chance of reaching that.
Always use a tee
While some of the ‘experts’ might disagree about how high to tee the ball, they ALL AGREE that you should in fact tee up the ball. You need to create the perfect lie to give yourself the chance of making the best strike possible.
Strategy 3: Remove Any Chance of a Disaster
Think about the effect of a poor shot and remove the chance of that damaging your card. Example: Aim at the back left quadrant here to avoid a poor shot drifting into the water. It might leave you a long putt, but at least you won’t be playing 3 from the drop zone.
Find a target you’re confident of making
It’s not unusual to find some par 3s in the 210+ yards range with the green surrounded with trouble.
That’s a difficult range for most golfers. What is the percentage shot here?
On these holes, the designer is trying to tempt you to spoil your card. Be careful.
So before you take on the trouble, consider laying up and outsmarting the designer.