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Playing Par 5s: How to Own Them

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Here’s the deal, golf lessons can be great. If you take them from a reputable club pro, you may learn a lot about swing mechanics, the plane of your swing, tempo, swing speed and even impact position. However, lessons don’t tell you how to look at a golf hole and assess the risk vs. reward. Simply put, lessons do not get into hole strategy.
 
So, when you are standing on the tee box on hole 16, a 487-yard par 5 with a 245-yard forced carry AND you are playing the round of your life…what do you do? Your golf buddies are saying things like “You didn’t come this far to lay up“ or “Don’t over think it, just rip driver”. They may be right, but without a plan you are basically throwing darts blind. Nothing hurts more than carding a snowman on a birdie hole and nothing will jack up your score as well as your mental game faster than indecision.
 
We all hate the dreaded “Big Number” and that’s why we are here for you. So, the next time you are in that spot, remember these 5 tips:
 

Five keys to owning par 5s:

 
– Don’t just automatically grab driver – Choose the right club off the tee
– Look at your lie – Assess what shot best suits your approach
– Take an extra club on your approach – 70% of approach shots come up short
– Know where to miss – Do not always go flag hunting
– Have a number in mind to lay up to in case you can’t go after it in two
 
Many weekend golfers hate par 5s because they are long and can seem daunting. The task: you are basically trying to get a 1 ½ inch ball into a 4-inch hole from 5 football fields away! But they also provide great opportunity if played properly. They are a golden goose for birdies and can turn an 81 into a 79 like that.
 

1. Select the Right Club on a Par 5

 

I know you heard me before, but this is a huge mistake I see all the time. You don’t always have to hit driver off the tee. You can hit a fairway wood or a hybrid. Shoot If I know I can not get home in two, I hit my 3 iron all day off the box and more times than not am sitting pretty for my approach while my buddies are ball hunting in the woods. Let’s be honest, it’s probably going to take three shots to reach the green any way unless you can bomb it 300+. So, use the club that gives you the best chance of finding the fairway.
 

2. Look at Your Lie and Assess The Shot

 

This is the golden ticket to scoring on Par 5’s. Little known fact: The second shot is often the key to beating par 5s. You need to play a smart shot that puts you in the best position to card a 4. Start by looking at your lie; is it in the fairway or first cut, is it a flier lie or sitting down a little bit, is it side hill above or below your feet? All of these will 100% determine what club you can and should hit. Hitting a 3-wood off a downhill side hill lie in the intermediate rough is hard to do. I suggest you take your medicine and lay up to a good number, so you hit the GIR and have a look at bird.
 

3. Take an Extra Club

 
This one is huge. Most approach shots come up short. The average handicap for men is about a 15. The average swing speed is 93 mph and produces a 220 yard drive. Ask around, everyone thinks they hit the ball farther than they actually do. Here are some trackman averages for reference. Take an extra wrench and thank me later. You will hit more greens, score better and find yourself shooting lower scores.
 

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4. Know Where to Miss

 

Now you hit your drive, you looked at your lie, you have the right club for your approach, time to go flag hunting, right? WRONG. You want to look at the green complex and pin placement. You want to see where the greenside bunkers are. Does the green slope down and away or is there a false front? Start taking note of the danger areas and take them out of play. These determinations will help you pick out a landing area for this shot. For the love of the game, do yourself a favor and stay away from trouble at all costs. Play smart and aim center green. Nobody hit it dead straight every time, well maybe the guys on tour, but even they miss a handful of times per round. This strategy of knowing where not to be, allows you to better understand where to be! It gives you the greatest chance of hitting the green even on a slight miss.
 

5. Know Your Ideal Lay Up Number

 

There is no shame in laying up on a par 5. More times than not, smart money says it’s the right move. That’s especially true if the flag is protected by water or a massive pot bunker. Sometimes golfers try to pull off a miracle shot on their second from 237 out in the rough under a tree. They end up in the drink and dropping hitting 4 and will likely post a double bogie when its all said and done. Had they just taken the 5 iron out and laid back to 120 in they would have stuck a 9 iron to 15 feet and a look at 4!
 
Now I am no PGA tour pro golfer. I am a 5.5 handicap and like the Alice in Wonderland quote “I give myself very good advice, but very seldom follow it” I will tell you, however, that on occasion I stumble onto a pearl and feel the need to pass it on. Use this simple five-step approach above when playing par 5s. It’s a practical golf lesson that can help you own par 5s no matter their length or difficulty. That, in turn, will cut strokes from your scores, lower your handicap and have you collecting the $$$ at the end of the round.


BONUS SCORING DRILL:

 

Here is Today’s Tip… Your Wedges.
 
Very few weekend warriors practice hitting wedges at less than full distances. Ironically, however, we face these shots all the time on the course. I know I do. The closer your approach shots the better your chance of draining putts. It’s funny, I always told myself that I was not a great putter. I started doing this drill below and low and behold my distance to the pin was tighter and I started making more putts. Turns out, I was not a bad putter at all, I just was hitting my approach shots to 40 feet. Here’s how I fixed it:
 
Pick three awkward distances — say 25, 50 and 75 yards… then hit five balls at each target. Now, don’t just grab the 60 for all these shots, actually select the club you would use in a round. Give yourself a point for each ball that lands within what you consider an acceptable distance — I use a 15-foot circle. Max score for this drill is 15 points. Whatever you score, try to beat that number the next day, with the perfect score of 15.
 
I guarantee if you do this a couple of days in a row, or even for just 15 minutes before your round, you will be stunned at the results on the course. Once you score 15, tighten up that proximity the next time. Pretty soon you will be sending those pitch shots inside a 5-foot circle and have you golf buddies jealous as your ex at your wedding.

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The Joy of Golfing with Friends

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Building Bonds on the Fairway

Ahoy, golfing companions! This week, we’re celebrating the unparalleled joy of teeing off with friends – because as any golfer knows, there’s nothing quite like sharing the fairway with your favorite playing partners. So gather your crew, dust off your clubs, and let’s explore the magic of golfing with friends:

1. Shared Laughter, Shared Memories: Golfing with friends isn’t just about hitting the ball – it’s about sharing laughs, swapping stories, and creating memories that last a lifetime. Whether you’re reminiscing about past rounds, joking about missed putts, or simply enjoying each other’s company, the camaraderie of the game is what makes it truly special.

2. Support and Encouragement: One of the greatest benefits of golfing with friends is the support and encouragement they provide. From cheering you on after a great shot to offering words of wisdom when you’re struggling, your playing partners are there to lift you up and help you stay positive, no matter what challenges the course throws your way.

3. Friendly Competition: While golf is ultimately a game against the course, there’s no denying the thrill of a little friendly competition among friends. Whether you’re competing for bragging rights, playing for a friendly wager, or simply trying to outdo each other on the scorecard, the spirit of competition adds an extra layer of excitement to every round.

4. Strengthening Bonds: Golfing with friends isn’t just about the game – it’s about strengthening bonds and deepening friendships. The shared experiences, inside jokes, and moments of triumph and defeat on the course all serve to bring you closer together, forging bonds that are as strong as steel.

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5. Lifelong Companionship: Finally, golfing with friends is about more than just the present moment – it’s about building lifelong companionship that extends far beyond the fairway. Whether you’re celebrating victories, commiserating over defeats, or simply enjoying each other’s company, the friendships forged on the golf course are ones that will endure for years to come.

So there you have it, fellow golfing comrades – the joy of golfing with friends in all its glorious splendor. Whether you’re sharing laughs, supporting each other through the ups and downs, or strengthening bonds that last a lifetime, there’s nothing quite like hitting the links with your favorite playing partners by your side. Until next time, may your rounds be filled with friendship, laughter, and unforgettable memories. Friends on, my fellow golfers!

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The Zen of Golf

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Finding Inner Peace on the Fairway

Greetings, seekers of serenity! This week, we’re delving into the tranquil world of Zen golf – a place where inner peace and harmony reign supreme. So put aside your scorecards, quiet your mind, and let’s explore the art of finding inner peace on the fairway:

1. Embrace the Present Moment: In the fast-paced world of golf, it’s easy to get caught up in thoughts of past mistakes or future challenges. But true Zen golfers know that the only moment that truly matters is the present one. Focus on the here and now – the feel of the club in your hands, the sound of the birds chirping, the gentle sway of the trees – and let everything else fade away.

2. Cultivate Mindfulness: Mindfulness is the cornerstone of Zen golf. By cultivating awareness and presence in each moment, you can elevate your game to new heights. Pay attention to your breath, your body, and the sensations of the game as they arise. Let go of distractions and immerse yourself fully in the experience of golfing.

3. Let Go of Attachments: Zen teaches us the importance of letting go of attachments – to outcomes, to expectations, and to ego. Release the need to control every shot or dictate the outcome of your round. Instead, surrender to the flow of the game and trust in your abilities to guide you towards success.

4. Find Balance in All Things: Balance is key in both golf and life. Just as you strive for balance in your swing, seek balance in your approach to the game. Avoid extremes of emotion – whether it be frustration after a bad shot or elation after a good one – and strive for equanimity in all things.

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5. Practice Gratitude: Finally, cultivate an attitude of gratitude for the game of golf and all the blessings it brings into your life. Whether it’s the camaraderie of playing with friends, the beauty of nature on the course, or the opportunity for personal growth and self-discovery, take a moment to give thanks for the gifts of golf.

So there you have it, fellow seekers – the Zen of golf in all its peaceful glory. With mindfulness, balance, and gratitude as your guides, you can transform your time on the fairway into a meditative journey of self-discovery and enlightenment. Until next time, may your swings be smooth, your putts be true, and your inner peace be unshakeable. Zen on, my friends!

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The Future of Golf

Trends and Technologies Shaping the Sport

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Trends and Technologies Shaping the Sport

Greetings once more, golf lovers,

As we conclude our series “Tales from the Greens: Chronicles of Golf Through the Ages,” we look ahead to what the future may hold for this venerable sport. From technological innovations to changing social dynamics, the world of golf is evolving rapidly. Today, we explore the emerging trends and technologies that are shaping the next generation of golf.


Technological Innovations in Equipment

The ongoing evolution of golf equipment is astounding. With advances in materials science and engineering, golf clubs and balls are becoming ever more sophisticated. Manufacturers now use artificial intelligence to design clubs that optimize both distance and accuracy, catering to golfers’ individual styles. Similarly, golf balls are engineered for increased aerodynamics and fine-tuned performance. These innovations promise to make golf more accessible and enjoyable for players at all levels.

Virtual and Augmented Reality

The digital realm is making its mark on golf through virtual and augmented reality technologies. Virtual reality (VR) golf simulators allow players to experience famous courses from the comfort of their homes, offering a practical solution for training and playing during off-seasons or unfavorable weather conditions. Augmented reality (AR), on the other hand, provides real-time data overlays during play, offering insights into course topography, wind conditions, and more, enhancing both strategy and learning.

Eco-Friendly Practices

As awareness of environmental issues grows, golf is also taking strides towards sustainability. Courses worldwide are adopting eco-friendly practices such as reducing water consumption, using organic products for maintenance, and preserving natural habitats. These efforts not only help protect the environment but also challenge the stereotype of golf as an elitist sport, making it more inclusive and aligned with contemporary values.

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The Rise of Youth and Diversity

Golf is experiencing a surge in diversity and youth participation. Initiatives to make golf more inclusive are seeing success, attracting players from various backgrounds and demographics. This shift is vital for the sport’s growth, as it introduces fresh perspectives and talent. Furthermore, programs aimed at young players are vital for nurturing the next generation of golfers, ensuring the sport’s continued relevance and vitality.

Global Expansion

Golf’s global footprint is expanding, with new markets in Asia, Africa, and South America emerging rapidly. These regions are not only participating more in the sport but are also hosting international tournaments, contributing to golf’s growth worldwide. This global expansion is accompanied by an increasing recognition of golf not just as a sport but as a vehicle for economic and social development.


As we look to the future, it is clear that golf will continue to evolve and adapt. By embracing technology, sustainability, and inclusivity, golf can maintain its cherished traditions while becoming a more dynamic and accessible sport for future generations.

Thank you for joining me on this journey through the history and future of golf.

Warm regards, Robert Greenfield

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