IVGID Tip of the Week: Strategies for those tricky par-3s
Special to the Bonanza
Most golfers have the toughest time making par on par-3 holes because you only get one full-swing chance to hit the green. On a par-4 or par-5 holes, there is much more opportunity to make up for a bad tee shot with your second shot.
To optimize your chances at a good tee shot on par-3s, start by aiming at the center of the green, even if the pin happens to be positioned on the left or right of the green. By aiming at the middle, there is going to be greater room for directional error off of your tee shot, while still getting your ball on the green in a position to putt for par.
Choosing the right club will make a big difference as well. Start by noting the pin position and choose the club that gets you that distance without having to hit a perfect shot.
If the pin is placed near the front of the green, choose a club that would go the distance to the middle of green comfortably, so that if you miss hit it a little bit you could be close to pin, and if you hit it perfectly you will be putting from the middle of the green.
If the pin is in the middle of the green, choose a club that will comfortably give you the correct distance — that way you have forgiveness short and long of the hole.
With a pin placement at the back of the green, the mistake to avoid would be long and over the green, so pick a club that will have to be hit perfect for the back pin position, but still maximizes your yardage. This way, a less-than-perfect shot lands short, but still should give you a putt from the front or middle of the green.
Remember that you should base your distances with each club off your average yardage with that club, not your best ever shot with that club.
Neil Gunn is one of the teaching professionals at the Incline Village Golf Academy, headquartered at the Incline Village Championship Golf Course.