A Little Thought, Big Rewards

Kim Anders
Director of Instruction
John Jacobs Golf Schools and Academies Estrella del Mar Golf and Beach Resort
Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico, AZ

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I want to address some of the problems you have with your regular Saturday morning game. If you’re lucky, you play once a week with your usual group, maybe have a couple of cold ones on the course to prevent dehydration, and sometimes you even get out to hit a quick bucket of balls after work.

Come Saturday morning, you’re on the 3rd hole, good tee shot and you only have 155 yards to the center of the green, all carry over the lake. What do you do? Well, 155 is a nice 7 iron, so that’s what you pull out of the bag.

But it’s not until you get setup to hit your shot that you realize you have a slightly downhill lie, ball a little below your feet, and there’s not that much grass under the ball.  

You could back off and go to the golf car and get a 6 iron but it’s too far away (about 12 feet), so you decide you’ll just go ahead and swing at it. Even though you feel pretty confident you will either raise up because of

the sidehill lie and catch the ball in the middle of the forehead, or work so hard on staying down on the shot you will catch it fat. Either way, your new Pro V1 is going for a swim.  

Come on people – use your head!! I played golf last week with one of my members, a bright man and very successful businessman, 10 handicapper, who did this very thing. I asked him what his thought process was prior to the shot, and you know what he told me? “I was already set up and didn’t want to go to the cart to get the right club, so I figured I’d just go ahead and hit the one I had, even though I knew it probably wasn’t going to work”.  

How often do you do this sort of thing? I see it all the time – people don’t do a quick 3 second analysis of what they have to work with on a given shot. What are the odds of successfully hitting that 4-iron out of our 3 inch Bermuda rough? Not going to happen! Tiger Woods couldn’t hit the shot, why do you think you can?! Take your 8 iron and get it back on the course so you can hopefully make bogey and not a real ugly number!

Use your head. Don’t try the low percentage shot. Accept the fact you are going to make bogeys or doubles from time to time. The key is to avoid the big numbers we frequently make when we don’t think and try shots we will only hit successfully about 1 or 2 times in 100!  

It’s OK to chip back onto the fairway or lay up from 170 yards to avoid water. It’s all about getting the ball in the hole in as few swings as possible. To do that you need to have some discipline. You know how you REALLY play and what your abilities REALLY are.  

Play within yourself, hit shots you feel comfortable with, and don’t try shots when you know there is little chance for success. Hitting a ball 30 yards may cost you a stroke but many times trying to hit it 150 will probably cost you a lot more.

Use your head and hit the high percentage shot. You’ll score better, enjoy the game more, and take a lot more money from your friends!!

Kim Anders is Director of Golf at Estrella del Mar Golf & Beach Resort in Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico. You can reach Kim via email at Kanders@estrelladelmar.com or call 1.888.587.0609, Ext. 3010. Find out more about the golf resort by visiting www.estrelladelmar.com.