50 Best Playing Tips

Easy keys for making the most of every swing during every round

Make Up Your Mind 34. Make Up Your Mind
At the ’03 Masters, Tiger Woods was about to hit an iron for position off the third tee when his caddie suggested he take a chance and hit driver. Tiger had already made up his mind, so the suggestion to hit another club literally “un-made” it. Woods, lacking permission from himself to carry out his plan, drove his ball into the woods, made a double-bogey and kissed his chance for a Masters three-peat goodbye. What can you learn from Tiger’s mistake? Play the shot you have permission to play.

35. Don’t Play It Too Safe
Sometimes when you play too safe with one shot, you set yourself up for an extremely difficult and dangerous next shot. For example, if you’re too cautious off the tee with a 2-iron when you should have used a 3-wood, you effectively change the next shot’s degree of difficulty. Along those same lines, if you’re aggressive on the front end of your plan, make sure you’re aggressive on the back end (unless circumstances suddenly change). It’s foolish to play safe and then, on a whim, go for broke.

36. Shoot At The Pin Only If You Have A Rifle
Try this experiment the next time you play a round of golf. Aim for the center of every green with every full shot and forget about the pin. This will take some will power, but I’ll bet you’ll shoot one of your lowest rounds ever. How? You’ll miss less greens.

37. Assess, Then Address
If a pin is protected by two conditions, such as a bunker or a strong sidewind that will steer your ball into the bunker, it’s a red (don’t attack) pin. Aim away from the flag by selecting a different part of the green as your target.

If the pin is protected by only one condition, such as a bunker with no wind, then you can aim closer to the flag, but proceed with caution by giving yourself about a 10-yard margin of error on the safe side of the pin. When there’s no trouble surrounding the pin, and you have a club in your hand in which you have confidence, go for it.

Damage Control

38. Sand Matchups
In the bunker, you can save some strokes by matching your sand wedge system to the texture of the sand. When the sand on the course you’re playing is soft and fluffy, use a wedge with a large flange and a lot of bounce. When the sand is hard, wet or crusty, select a wedge with minimal flange and bounce.


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