Approach Shots: What It Takes to Master Them
Basically, your approach shot is your shot onto the green. One of the things I like to say is this, "You know your game is improving when you start fixing more ball marks on the green". To fix a ball mark on the green most likely means that you hit it on your approach, which is a good thing.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind, and then we'll get to the heart of this article.
Aim for the middle of the green, not the flag. Pin placements and greens are getting tougher to stick all the time. Don't be a "sucker" and go for a pin that you'll most likely miss, which will leave you in a bunker or some other position to add strokes to your round.
Focus on alignment, not distance. That leads us into the main part of the article.
As you know, it's not an easy task to master the approach shot, but there are some ways in which you can drastically improve the accuracy of the shot. Alignment is the key to improving your approach shots. Most golfers don't practice their alignment too much on the practice range, but they should.
Think about this for a minute. Generally, when you are off the green it is due to alignment, not distance. Chances are, you have your 160 yard club, 150, 140, 130, etc...
And if you hit a poor shot, the ball may go a little further or a little shorter. But even if that happens, most greens are deep enough that you should be on the putting surface if you have selected the club that would leave you in the center of the green.
But...alignment is another story. If you pull the ball, more times than most you really pull the ball, correct?
When your alignment is off, it's off by much more than 5-10 yards!
And if you push the ball, you generally are pushing it for the entire round, correct? Bunkers, water, and uneven lies are the obstacles you face.
How are you supposed to compete? The answer is simple. Practice your alignment.
Take your home course for example. I would be willing to bet there's somewhere in the ball park of a 160-yard par 3 on the course. Now picture that hole. What happens if you're 5-10 yards deep or shallow? You're probably still okay, right?
But what happens if you go right or left? That shot, more than likely, has trouble written all over it.