Over the past 45 years of golf, I have hit approximately 150,000 golf shots. Some were great, some were good, many were okay and a bunch were…..well, lets just forget about those 😉 There were many of those times when I hit a shot where close was good enough. This does not mean that I was not trying to sink the ball, but being satisfied with the results is all part of my game. I do suggest that hitting the ball close on certain occasions is definitely a good enough result and I am sure you can think of certain situations when this true for our game as well.
I have three situations when hitting the ball close is good enough with no disappointment that I did not think I will sink the shot. Actually, the fact that I was putting next was actually the key. Of course I try to leave the ball as close as possible to the pin, putting being able to putt is the ‘close’ I am looking for with faced with difficult shots.
The first is short sided chip over a bunker. This shot is likely the most dreaded shot by amateurs. It requires players to dig deep into their confidence bag and trust their swing. On the par 3, 8th hole at Osprey Links Golf Course, I am left with this shot more often than I want. If I pull the ball left (my usual miss) I am left with a 15 yard chip over the bunker to the end of the green. The distance between the far side of the bunker and the green is four yards. The pin is 3 to 5 yards on the green. Before I developed my fix for shots like this, I would be short of the green or in the bunker hitting my third shot. My fix is hit the ball to the pin and try to prevent the ball from releasing too far. Regardless of where it stops, I am not putting 90% of the time and that is a good result for me.
The second type of shot where close is good enough is as follows:
Hitting a blind shot to an elevated green. This type of shot requires a player to hit the ball harder and farther than they think. Again, I try to hit the ball to the pin, but it usually ends up shorter than expected. Committing to this shot is critical to being ‘close’ enough for the one time putt. Before I committed to hitting the ball, I was short of the green or just on leaving a very long putt. This particular shot’s success is landing the ball half way between the pin or closer. Anything shorter leaves the realistic potential for a lag putt.
The type shot where the ‘close’ results is the long bunker shot uphill. I will admit that this is the weakest shot in my bag because I do not practice it nor do I encounter it often when playing. It is one where I know how to play it, but do not have the confidence I should to make a consistent shot.
With the last shot, I am very happy if I am on the green putting from any distance. This shot happens so rarely, that I doubt I will ever practice it and take my chances. The few strokes I might save over the course of 10 rounds is not worth the practice time.
As you can see, I have outlined three shots where ‘close’ is a good enough result. The actual distance of what ‘close’ means varies depending on the shot. As I stated before, as long as I am putting, then I am good to go. Do you have a particular shot where ‘close’ enough is good enough?
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!
2 thoughts on “When Close Is Good Enough In Golf”
Hi Jim. I agree that some days you don’t have your best stuff but somehow you seem to get the ball in the hole and end up scoring well. Other days you are hitting it so well yet can’t seem to get the ball on the hole and don’ score very well. It’s all about when and where you miss it. Top a tee shot on #6 at Osprey and you likely still have a short iron into the green. Do the same on #5 and you have a 3 wood into a par 4 for your second shot. Some of my best rounds were when I wasnt hitting it great but the bad shots were at the right time and my short game was sharp. So I guess to answer your question, when I miss it at the best of times, that’s close enough! Cheers!
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You are spot on. Missing at the right time, especially at Osprey Links is key to low scores.