The Biggest Dilemma in Golf

There is an age-old dilemma in golf! It is on every players mind every time the stand next to their ball wondering which club to hit next. They are at 175 yards, hitting over water, with a wide open, yet tricky green to land on. The dilemma has arrived; play safe or go for it!

I asked this very question a short time ago, and was surprised by the response.

81% of the respondents had enough confidence in their game that they felt going for it was the answer! Personally, I would go for it as well, but I would have to admit, I would not go for it every time. @cencalhack added a qualifier to his comments below and most golfers would agree that “going for it” depends on many factors.

Hitting a long shot over water is difficult at best. There are so many factors that must be considered, that I am not sure we amateurs actually consider them all! So, I thought I would make my list and see if I am forgetting something. If I am forgetting something, please let me know! Here is what I look at when hitting the ball 175 yards, over water, to an open, tricky green:

  1. Lie. My lie will have to be relatively flat and in the first cut or fairway for my next shot to be an automatic go shot.
  2. Wind. Which way is the wind blowing and how strong is the wind are definitely.
  3. Hazards. The water hazard is the most obvious hazard, but what about the hazards by the green. What happens if I hit long, left or right? Are there out-of-bounds markers near the green?
  4. Feel. How am I playing to this point? If I am playing poorly, well a lay up shot might be the best course management approach. If I am playing well, then pin hunting might be the solution.

My list is fairly generic, but covers most situations. Again, if you have any suggestions, I am all ears!

One final note, ego does play a part of golf. Some players (myself included sometimes) automatically reach for a club when we get to a specific distance or think “that difficult shot” is in our bag. Playing automatically is not good course management and will cost us strokes over 18 holes. So beware of that dreaded ego!

It is important to remember that risk – reward is part of every golf shot!

Regardless of your decision, commit to the shot because anything can happen on the golf course!

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

6 thoughts on “The Biggest Dilemma in Golf

  1. To be honest 175 yards isn’t a lay up distance. There is also the aspect of overthinking a shot too. Which can be dangerous, because, mentally, it means considering and logging a lot of potential bad shots. But if 175 is a typical 7 or 6 iron then you should really just pay your normal shot. If by going or the pin, the landing area is small then I would consider playing to a fatter part of the green. I very rarely lay up, unless I feel the risks outweigh the benefits…I know full well that at any time I could chip, pitch or wedge close and till make par/bogey or birdie!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jim,

    I agree with CenCalHack, that it’s a “go for” distance every time, unless there is some sort of unusual circumstance, like a very bad lie (possibly in a divot), or you don’t have a clear line because of a tree or something. Even if the wind was up, I’d still take plenty of club and go for it.



  3. Hi Jim – yup, I’d go for the green, but as you smartly pointed out, considerations need to be made.

    Like any shot, play it out in your head and trust your abilities 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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