Measure Twice, Cut Once

Anyone who has tried to build anything out of wood will know the saying ‘measure twice, cut once’. It basically means to be sure of your measurements before using the saw. This is a great tip that saves time and money. This building tip is also valuable on approach shots. Knowing (and not guessing) the distance we want to shoot is difficult sometimes, but not if we take our time and know what distance we actually want to hit.

One of the things I try to understand when making an approach shot, is the distances I need to hit or avoid. Both these numbers are critical to my club selection and something I try to focus upon during my rounds.

Using the yardages properly will save you strokes and lower your golf score.

I use a range finder most of the time, but I loved using my Garmin Approach 6 even more. As you can see, the visual representations offer a myriad of distance data I need to be successful. Looking at the screen, I need to hit a PW at the min and a 8 iron at the max. The ideal club is a 9 iron for my game, as long as all the conditions are perfect.

If there is wind, wet conditions, or I am not striking the ball well, then the measured distances are only a guideline and I need to take a second reading and re-evalute.

Recently, I was playing the 6th hole at Osprey Links. It is a short hole that should not offer any real challenges and as such, a birdie is always on my mind. However, this particular approach shot needs to be taken seriously because the wrong club selection turns a birdie into a bogey or more.

This particular green is elevate 6 feet from the fairway. It is split in the middle by a gully making three distinct landing areas: front, back, and gully. When the pin is located in the gully or back area, the approach shot is relatively easy. If the pin is in the front, however, this easy hole becomes a bit of bear.

When it is a yellow pin, I measure the flag and front edge. Just measuring the distance to the flag leaves a gaping hole in my club selection. I have to know the distance to the front edge to ensure I do not under club on my approach. Unfortunately, if I miss on this hole, my ball comes up short in a bunker or worse. This is one shot that being aggressive is important to success.

18th hole approach shot at Osprey Links.

Another challenging approach shot is the 18th hole. It is always uphill and has a tendency to release a great deal. It is the green with the most undulations and being in the wrong area definitely brings a three putt into play. On this green, I measure the flag and the little rock just to the right of the big rock. I know that this rock is a full club more just to reach the front edge. The flag distance is important, but being too aggressive only leads to my ball traveling off the back of the green. Hence the second measurement of the rock is very important to scoring well on this hole.

I think that you get my point that taking several measurements on some approach shots is very important. Having distance measuring devices are valuable if used properly. They provide a plethora of distance data that helps shape my approach shots. The trick is analyzing the data properly to ensure I have the right club in my hand all the time.

Do you use more than one distance when making a club selection?

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


4 thoughts on “Measure Twice, Cut Once

  1. Jim, I’ll always us my rangefinder to get yardage to the flag and often search for sprinkler heads with front/middle/back yardages. I like to know how far up or back the pin is from middle and lately have been attacking front and middle pins, but playing short of back pins. I find that the margin for error is smaller attacking a back pin because greens have the most room for error in the middle. Missing back flags long or sideways often leads to short-sided and/or downhill chips. This simple adjustment has helped my GIR numbers and kept me out of some trouble.




    • Brian,

      Great point about attacking a back pin. Your point is very true as I have experienced the challenges of missing my distance for a blue pin. Still, pin hunting is an important skill and should be used when appropriate; it is also fun when we hit one tight.

      Cheers Jim

      Liked by 1 person

  2. After decades of playing the game without having the benefit of yardages given to me down to the inch I don’t rely on range finders. I rely on my sight, and the yardage markers on the course. But when it’s available, I’m not about double checking my “guess”. And I’ll admit to missing having something when playing a new course that doesn’t supply GPS in the cart. But only occasionally and it’s more for confirmation so I can be confident in my generally already made decision.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kevin,

      You have a refined game to play by sight. Personally, old school golf is great and I think all players should learn to play that way. Using yardsge markers is perfect and I still do that, however I like to know the distance to certain objects. No right or wrong answer to this question.

      Cheers Jim


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