Rob Rashell
Director of Instruction
TPC Scottsdale
Scottsdale, AZ

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I was lucky to spend the weekend up in Flagstaff, and snuck in a round at the Canyon course at Forest Highlands. I had a great afternoon round and enjoyed a little friendly match between some friends. The match was still up for grabs coming down the par 5 18th, and after everyone hit good drives, a decision had to be made whether to go for the green in two, or lay up. The green is flanked by water on the left and forest on the right, a classic risk reward decision when it matters the most.

I was playing with two good amatuer golfers, we’ll call them Paul and Troy, and we all decided to give it a rip in two. How’d it turn out you ask? Let’s take a quick look at a simple checklist before you try to pull off a great, difficult shot under a little pressure.

Keep Things Simple – If your ‘go to’ shot is a draw and you have to hit a fade to pull off a difficult shot, I would think twice about pulling the trigger. We’re trying to make this tough shot as simple as possible, nothing out of the ordinary, just the same as the rest.

Meticulous Setup – What happens when I tell you to not think of elephants? You think of elephants. No different in golf, if you want to take your mind off the water (elephant) on the left side of the green, the trees (elephant) on the right,  the match (elephant) hanging in the balance, then occupy your mind with something else. In this case, dig into your target, setup, grip, posture, alignment, stance…the more you think of these things, the less you think of the elephants.

Stock Shot – The many times I’ve been in this situation and hit poor shots, I made some of the mistakes above, in addition to trying to swing too hard. Once you’re set and ready to go, just be smooth and make the most normal swing you can. If you’ve got a little adrenaline going, that normal swing will speed up without you knowing it. Think of a good swing you made earlier in the round and try to repeat it.

My match this weekend you ask? I got lucky and snuck out a win, use these tools and maybe you’ll pull off a great shot when you need it the most.