Hi! This last week has flown by, what with it being the last week of summer golf. I think the most valuable lesson I learned this summer was to avoid putting with the back of a nine iron! (At one point this week, the class went out to play a game with only one club, and I chose a nine iron. I never did figure out how to use it to putt!) Anyway, in this post I’m branching out and discussing golf strategy. The strategy I’m focusing on is when to take “high risk, high reward” shots.
A little bit of history is that I spent almost every high school golf practice last year attempting these shots, and spent just as much time being told to play it safe. For instance, until last spring I would chip off of the fringe no matter how much easier it would be to putt. It was a matter of principle to me: Putters are for the putting green, not the fringe. This would often end badly, as I rarely hit passable chips and pitches. Due to a great deal of experience and the patience of my high school coach, I have become more lenient about where I can use my putter.
So where and when is it okay to take risky shots? This depends on many things, some of which are your skill level, why you want to take the shot, and what situation you are in. When I say your skill level, I mean how confident you are that you can make the shot and how much you have practiced said shot. Have you successfully hit a similar shot? Can you consistently hit this variety of shot well? What situation you are in is very important because it may be part of the reason why you are taking this shot in in the first place. For example, you might be in a tournament you really want to win, but unless you can hit a really awesome shot, you don’t have a chance of winning. I can’t really give any advice here, as I have never been in that situation. However, I’ve observed people who appear to be in this situation, hit a risky shot, and end up even worse off than they were before. I’ve also seen the exact opposite outcome. If you want to hit a risky shot during a practice or a casual game, though, I say go for it! What’s the worst that can happen?
Now, this may seem to go against what I just said in some ways, but it is also the most important part: Don’t overthink your shot. If you spend too much time thinking about what might go wrong, chances are that you’ll mess up your shot. Just do a reality check of sorts—ask yourself if what you’re doing makes sense. If looking before you leap in golf messes you up, just disregard what I said in the previous paragraph. The advice there is more for those who go for it and consistently find that they aren’t managing to pull it off. People like me!
Wow—I think I may have turned this into a post about your mental game. Whoops! Anyway, it does involve more strategy than previous ones have. I hope you liked it!