Tom Fielding Golf School Japan
THE GAME PLAN
These holes will provide your best opportunity to make the one par that you need, but they can also be the holes that derail your round. Let’s discuss some specifics:
150 yards or less: These are your best opportunities to make your par. Choose the appropriate club, aim for the center of the green, and make your best swing. With a little luck, you might even make a birdie and give yourself the chance to shoot 88 or better!
150-200 yards: These are the most dangerous holes because of the temptation to go for it. Put your long irons away, and find a nice safe landing area short of the green. These holes, if well managed, are still great par opportunities because your pitch shots should be very short.
200 yards or more: Strangely, I like these holes better for our plan because there is less temptation to go for it. Find a safe landing area that will give you a nice angle into the green. There’s no requirement that you hit your 7I from the tee: if the best landing area is 140 yards away, hit your 8I followed by a 60 yard pitch. Remember that the angle of your approach can be every bit as important as the distance.
These are your bread and butter holes for this strategy: two 7 irons, a pitch, and two putts.
300-330 yards: These holes will provide excellent opportunities to make a par, but you will need to focus on good decision making and course management. After a good tee shot, you will have 150-180 yards left. On the short end, you may consider hitting another 7I straight into the green. If there’s not too much trouble by the green, or if you’re hitting the ball very well, this can be a great choice. If you’re too far out or don’t have the confidence, consider your best wedge distance, the safest landing area, and the best angle into the green when planning your second shot.
330-370 yards: Most of your par 4’s will probably be in this range. After a good tee shot, you will want to consider what the best second shot club will be. As with the short par 4’s, consider not only your best wedge distance, but also the best angle and safest landing zone.
370-400 yards: These holes will require two strong 7I shots to get you within wedge range. Resist the urge to try to hit your 7I 170 yards off the tee, you don’t need it! Stick to the plan!
If you have par 4’s that are longer than 400 yards, you’re probably playing from the wrong tees.
Unquestionably, the Par 5’s are the holes that will most test your commitment to the plan. Your driver will beg to come out (this is why you should leave it at home!). Remain committed to the plan and you will be rewarded.
Even when you hit “only” a 7I off the tee, the Par 5’s can be a great scoring opportunity. If the hole is playing 450 yards or less, you can hit your GIR with three good 7 irons. From 450-500 yards, you will have great opportunities to set up your favorite wedge distance and an optimal angle into the pin. When the holes stretch out to 500-550 yards, you will be tested: you will need four quality shots to hit the green.
Remember: Keep the ball in play and aim for the center of the green.
Before you go the golf course, I suggest that you use the 19th hole simulators to test out the above plan.
There are 24 courses to choose from, select your preferred course, then set up this course to play from the white tees first. Then set the putting to 3 putts, this means that you have two chances at holing your putt, after that the simulator will automatically give you your third putt.
In Case of Emergency, Read This
As the old boxing cliché goes, “Everyone has a plan until they get hit in the nose.” It’s easy to sit here and think about hitting every fairway and green, but what about when things go wrong? Here’s what to do and what to avoid.
If you miss a fairway
Don’t panic. Play a safe shot that will get the ball back in play. Advance the ball towards the hole if possible, but this is secondary to getting the ball safely back into play. If you can advance the ball to within 150 yards, play your next shot into the green. If not, lay up to your best yardage and try to make a putt.
If you miss a green
Don’t panic. Don’t attempt a Mickelsonian all-or-nothing shot to try to “get one back.” Play a safe shot that will get the ball onto the green and try to make a putt.
If you make a double bogey
Don’t panic. Stick to the plan. The only thing that has changed is that you have to make one more putt. That’s it. The course will give you plenty of opportunities for that.
Don’t panic. Don’t deviate from the plan. If something goes wrong, get the ball back on course and try to make a putt.
I hope you’ve found this plan helpful, and I hope that some of you give it a try. It’s definitely unorthodox, but I think you will find that it is also quite effective.
In the next issue, I will discuss the subject of “HOW FAR SHOULD YOU HIT YOUR GOLF CLUBS”
Happy Golfing to you all
Your Golf Coach and Golfing Guide.