What to Do When the Only Option is Your Target?
By Keith Stewart, PGA
The 10th hole during the second round for the 2022 KPMG Women's PGA Championship at Congressional Country Club on June 24, 2022 in Bethesda, Maryland.Photo by Montana Pritchard/PGA of America via Getty Images
The athletes at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship face a true target-golf scenario on the 10th hole this week at Congressional Country Club. The 138-yard, downhill Par 3 has a peninsula green. Similar to the seventeenth green at TPC Sawgrass, players are not afforded much of a bail out on approach. In fact, this shot might be more intimidating since you are looking down at the green.
Looking down from the tee your perception of the green is even smaller since there’s water in front and behind. Compound that visual with the fact Kerry Haigh’s championship team placed the pin in the back corner of the green for Round 2, and it makes for a tough hole for most any player.
We all face true target shots from time to time. Let’s discuss what it takes to best prepare like the best in the world and hit the green.
- Let’s start by getting accurate yardages. I’m not really worried about the hole location in this moment. I’d first like to know what the minimum carry number is and the maximum yardage I can hit a shot and remain on the green.
- Once I know the depth of my target, it’s time to get the yardage to the hole. Let’s use today’s location and say the hole is in the back.
- What is the available landing area between the front “safe” yardage and the pin? Make sure you know that depth. That’s your safe zone.
- Select a club that under the current conditions (wind, weather, etc.) that will land in the middle of that safe area.
- Once you address the ball for the shot, repeat the total yardage available to land the ball safely and then swing.
The process outlined will build confidence in your brain over these types of small target shots. Good information about the landing area will ease your anxiety. That’s the process professional players go through. Take their approach when you face a challenging shot surrounded by trouble. With a confident swing you’ll be more likely to land safely.