Video Lesson: Hitting Approach Shots
With all the gadgets and cart GPS systems in golf today, many golfers will just take their yardages when hitting approach shots and select a club based on that reading. But in this segment of Course Management, Troy Klongerbo explains how wind speeds, elevation changes and pin placement have more influence on whether or not to take a little extra club on a shot into the green.
Hey golfers, Troy Klongerbo here with USGolfTV, and today we’re going to talk about course management; and specifically when talking about course management, we’re going to talk about hitting approach shots into the green. Now in the era of technology and laser finders and GPS watches, a lot of carts with GPS systems, a lot of times we just take our simple yardage—take our yardage to the pin by zapping it or checking our watch—and we just go for with it and we trust it. But I think there are a lot of other factors that really need to be played into hitting approach shots; that might only take you an extra 30 seconds or a minute, if you kind of practice it and get it into your routine.
First thing I’d like to talk about is just the wind. This can kind of be checked in the morning, maybe before your round. Just check the forecast and see what it’s calling for, but then when you get out onto the course, just feel out each shot. A nice little template I like to use is for each mile per hour of wind, it should help or hurt the ball about 1 yard. So if you’re playing maybe into a 5 to 10 mile an hour wind, you might be looking at adding maybe 8 yards to that shot; and the opposite’s true for a down wind shot. So be sure to factor that in first.
Secondly, I’d like you guys to take a look at the slope in which you’re hitting the shot from. Am I hitting the ball down the hill? Am I hitting the ball up the hill? If you’re hitting it uphill maybe 5 yards, 10 yards—that’s going to add those yardages to the shot, because the ball is not going to have enough time to carry the distance you need. And the opposite is true going downhill as well.
So once you’ve factored in the wind, you’ve factored in the slope, I’d also like you guys to be conscientious of where that pin is located on the green. If you have a back pin location, it’s going to be important that you play to a spot maybe in front of that pin to give you the best chance to hit the green and to save shots; and the opposite is true for that front location. You may not want to hit the club that’s just going to carry the creek and get to the front pin; but you may want to take that extra club, play towards the fat of the green, and perhaps save yourself a penalty stroke.
Anyways, when you guys factor these all in, and you guys go ahead and take your wind, your slope, and playing to the fat of the greens, I think you guys are going to find out that you guys start saving shots that you weren’t before when hitting approach shots, and you’ll start shooting lower golf scores.