How many times have you missed a green, going for a pin cut tight near the edge? Or worse, found a hazard or sand trap with a mis-struck shot which didn’t quite have the legs to catch the green? As a coach, player and caddy, I’ve seen this regularly. Too many times, the flag catches too much of our attention and, in an attempt to hit it close, we get caught being too greedy.
One strategy that sounds far too simple is to go for the centre of the green, everytime. The real challenge is in the execution. Fred Couples famously let his attention wander to the flag on the 12th at Augusta, and instead of hitting the “fat” part of the green, he almost hit Rae’s creek. He survived and won, but it proves it can happen to even the very best.
The secret is to fully commit to hitting the club that will reach the centre comfortably. If the pin is cut at the front, you’ll fly the ball over it and land safely, leaving you a putt. If the pin is left or right, commit to the middle and you’ll be better off, leaving less chance of being “short-sided”. Even if you do mishit the shot, you may still catch the green and you’re increasing the probability of a green in regulation.