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. @ 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:
- 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.
- Wind. Which way is the wind blowing and how strong is the wind are definitely.
- 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?
- 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!