Taking Aim On A Par Three

Many golfers struggle with where to aim on a par three. I am not talking about the 200 yard monster that challenges many aspects of our game, but 135 yard hole that is in the wheel house of most golfers. For my game, this distance is a smooth 9 iron. Given the shorter distance, one would think that hitting the ball close would be a no brainer. However, more often than not, golfers tend to miss the green or leave themselves a very long putt. I often wondered about this and I think I have the answer.

Although this hole is about 15 yards farther than I suggest in my opening paragraph, the image is a perfect depiction of what is the main thesis of my article. The 135 yards to the hole is an easy hitting distance for many players. However, visually, the green looks very small and for that reason doubt starts to creep into their mind. They worry about the hazards and not where the aim point should be for a successful. Their mind is clouded with factors that should not have that great of an affect on their golf shot. Unfortunately, it does.

In the image above, I would simply aim for the fat part of the green, which in this case is the middle. Then I would make a full swing with my 9 iron. I would forget about the pin placement, the bunkers and the water. I would focus on hitting my club to distance (one that I am very comfortable with) without and attempts to help, shape, or maneuver the ball in any capacity. I would just hit a straight ball to my aim point.

In many par short par 3 holes, I watched many players try to hit a more difficult shot because they think it will help their position on the green. In most cases, when players try to manipulate the ball they end up hitting the ball off course. Because they try to ‘help’ their ball to a position a push or pull becomes the norm. Most of the time, in my opinion, it is because they do not generate enough energy with their swing to hit the ball the distance they require. Hence, a missed opportunity to putt for birdie.

I am in favour of players trying new ways to lower their golf score. But, sometimes the simplest way to way to shoot lower golf scores is to hit the ball with a full swing at the safe part of the green. I follow this philosophy often and with great results. So, the next time you are hitting into a short par 3, consider my advice of hitting a full swing to the safe part of the green. I am confident that when you are putting for birdie more often than not, lower golf scores will start to show up.

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


4 thoughts on “Taking Aim On A Par Three

  1. That’s a fine suggestion that would work for me as well as it does for you, but if your default shot shape isn’t straight I would suggest that sticking with the default shot shape is our best option. I have friends who would have as much trouble trying to hit a straight shot as we might have shaping our shot. It’s best to stick with whatever swing comes naturally to us.

    Also, I’m not sure a full swing is going to be the best option for most of us. Clubbing up and taking a shorter swing in general is going to bring out our best chance to make a good, centered strike on the ball. Taking the water out of play is the goal here. Long is far better than short in this case. At 135, a full 9 iron is fine, but a 3/4 swing with an 8 or even 7 might be the safest option for most of us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kevin,

      I do club up and swing easier many times, but many amateurs have the tendency to steer their shot which results in an off line hit. It is a challenge for most players who do not have the confidence in their game to not steer their shot.

      Cheers Jim


      • Not sure that steering is material here as it applies to both full or shorter swing. Your point is to take the safer shot going for center green and I certainly don’t disagree. I just know that the physics of the matter dictate that the less we have to move a club, the easier it is for us to return it. And less swing speed also limits mistakes. Again that’s dictated by the physics.

        Deceleration might be an issue for some when clubbing up if they haven’t practiced and aren’t confident with the distances, and trying to add a little by the same token could cause them issues, but again, those are things an amateur might do even when taking a full swing.

        Here’s the thing though. An amateur thinking full swing is more likely to result in an amateur taking too full a swing. That is our biggest game killer bar none. And taking a less than full swing helps on all fronts. Not only does it bring less swing speed for the same effort making imperfections less damaging, not only does it make centering the contact easier and more consistent, it also helps fight the tendency to overswing.

        I also think most of us will find it easier to get a better tempo taking a shorter swing. I know it’s not for every shot. But the more we can use it and do, the better off we are and in your example there, I see no need for more than that kind of shot. I don’t have to send it high and stop it dead. In fact, we both recommend center green. So might as well land it on but short and let it run out to the center. The slower swing will provide a lower flight making any breeze less likely to take it off course. It will also help to keep you moving forward if you come up a little short where a full swing that comes up short and lands in the same spot goes nowhere.

        It’s not the most fun option. It’s the safest option. It may be the best, it may not. Our skill level and the shot we’re facing will dictate that. But I see no reason to think it’s not really the best option here. I can’t say I’d follow my own advice for sure. I do like going for it a little too much still. But if I were coming down the stretch and behind on skins and the first off the tee, I can tell you I’d be more likely to take that safe shot for sure and let the others make the mistake of going for it.

        That’s of course if I didn’t make a side bet that I could skip it on. lol

        Liked by 1 person

      • Kevin,

        I thought about it some more and decided on write an article on steering the ball (just posted). Our conversation is a great one and it opens many side discussions. I appreciate your comments.

        Cheers Jim


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