Golfing with Sal
I believe the average golfer always wants to improve their scores. So, saving several strokes off your round will be a confidence booster and improve your score.
For instance, you can save strokes by not being a hero in trying to pull off shots you're not capable of. If you're in trouble, and have a shot to the green, maybe it would be best to hit a punch shot out into the fairway instead of trying to hit that perfect shot to the green. Getting the ball back in play and giving yourself a chance at saving par is usually the better choice. More often than not, you're more likely to end up with a double bogey or worse if you try the impossible. Save the expert shots for the experts.
If there's a narrow fairway that requires the perfect tee shot to avoid trouble, you may want to hit a 3-wood or an iron off the tee so you can at least get it in the fairway and have a shot at the green. If the pin on a par three is tucked in the corner (sucker pin) of the green, aim for the center of the green instead of going for the pin.
Sometimes it even makes sense to land the ball short of the green, just to avoid trouble. If there's bunkers guarding a green on a long par 4, you can land it short and chip it up and still make par. You'll be surprised how often you can save par by being more conservative.
Saving strokes around the green by using your putter instead of chipping it and leaving it short or long, is a perfect example of saving strokes. If you use your putter when you're slightly off the green, you're more likely to get it close to the pin than chipping because most people have better control with their putter. When chipping, try a longer iron to get it close, especially if you have a lot of green to work with. This will allow you to keep the ball lower by using a 7-or 8-iron. Flop shots require the perfect touch. So, unless you have that touch, most likely you will end up short.
Last, you can save a couple of strokes by being a little more conscience when putting. Regardless, if the greens are slow or fast, you need to have more conviction when putting. If they're fast, the tendency is to decelerate the putting going through the ball because of fear of blowing it past the hole. Try to keep the pace of the putter tracking through the ball and well after the ball is gone. Even if the greens are slow, try to keep the putter on track well after the ball is gone. Save some strokes and have some fun.
Mulligan's Corner: Since Summer is here, this week I wanted to just ask you to spread the wealth and play different courses throughout the area. Everyone wants your business and all the courses have great deals, since this is the slow season. A new experience every week will cause you to think on the course instead of playing on auto pilot. Just have fun!
Sal Martignetti is an independent golf instructor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (603) 986-3376. His free e-book is available at elusivegolfswing.weebly.com.