“Golf is a Game of Misses”
This statement has been made many times by many great golfers through history. Unfortunately, the majority of golfers interpret this to eliminate misses from their round entirely. The truth of the matter is misses will always be part of your round and cannot be avoided. What can be avoided, however, is the dreaded snowman on a short par 4 because you missed a “tweener” wedge in the worst possible spot.
Let’s apply this thinking to the always exciting 18th hole at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Decision-making on this hole can mean the difference between an up and down birdie and a disastrous double bogey.
On the 18th hole, everything starts with the tee shot. The hero shot involves hitting a drive out and over the water which cuts off the dogleg for a much shorter second shot. Or the other play is to hit your drive out to the right with no attempt at getting home in two.
Making the decision which way to go involves a two-step process. The first step is to determine what yardage you need to be at in order to have a realistic chance of reaching the green in two (at least 5 out of 10 times). Once you realistically determine this, you’ll want to figure out what line the ball will need to fly on and how far it will have to carry in order to properly execute the tee shot. If you cannot hit a tee shot that will carry far enough (7 out of 10 times) I’d recommend not even attempting the shot.
In this case, the way to play the hole would be to hit your drive to the right side where there is plenty of room, hit the second shot up the fairway, and then have a short iron approach to the green. This essentially takes the water and the dreaded big number out of play.
We all love to “go for it” and hit the aggressive shot going after all of the glory, but by looking at and playing the percentages, you’ll end up collecting ($$$$) at the end of the day more often than paying.
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