Play within yourself

By Graham Stewart

I am sure you have heard people saying ‘swing easy’, ‘keep your balance’, ‘don’t knock the cover off the ball’… That’s all good information and things that can help.

More importantly, I feel, is to play within your capabilities and not to try to hit impossible shots that have a low success rate.

I played yesterday with a member. He is an established 18 handicapper. His average drive is around 200 metres. We played an easy par 5.

His drive was good and he had around 220 metres to the middle of the green for his second shot. He selected his 3 wood and hit a fantastic shot just short of the green side bunker. The result left him a difficult shot over the bunker which he duly duffed.

After a bunker shot and two putts a 6 went on his card. Even if he had hit his best ever 3 wood, it would not have been enough to get to the green.

We played again this morning. From the same position on the fairway I suggested he play a 7 iron to leave a 60 metre pitch. After a simple pitch to 3 metres and a good solid putt, he scored his first birdie for a long time on that hole.

It just proves that hitting your second shot as far as you can and a near to the green as possible doesn’t always leave the easiest shot. A shorter club is often easier to play and it is easier to hit a short shot straight. Play within yourself for more consistency.

Ask the pro: send your questions to Graham Stewart at [email protected]. Published letters win a free golf lesson.

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Graham Stewart is a British PGA professional with over 30 years’ experience. He is available for golf instruction for players of all levels, from complete beginners to tour winners.

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