How Playing The Percentages Can Lower Your Scores

18th Hole at Pebble Beach

“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.

Ask A PGA Professionals at GlobalGolf

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Rudi Fann, PGA

Rudi Fann has been a Class “A” member of the PGA of America since 2008. He began his career in 1998 as the Assistant Golf Professional at Wake Forest Golf Club in Wake Forest, NC. In 2002, Rudi accepted a similar position at Rio Mar Country Club in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico. He spent a year there before moving to Nipomo, CA where he worked at Blacklake Golf Resort. Over the next 10 years, he worked his way from Assistant Golf Professional to Head Golf Professional and finally Director of Golf Operations. In his time at Blacklake, Rudi devoted much of his time to running tournaments and other activities in order to create a social atmosphere at the club. After Blacklake, Rudi spent one year as Head Golf Professional at Paso Robles Golf Club before deciding to return home to North Carolina. Since returning to North Carolina, Rudi has worked with the First Tee of the Triangle helping to instill life skills and core values through the game of golf to local youth.

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