One of the fastest routes to lower scores is
realizing your limitations. Don't think of that as a
negative; just realize that your game is at a level
requiring an honest approach. Fact is, many of the
strategies employed by better players will wreak havoc
in your game. In most on-course situations, you should
not think like a pro; it could cost you strokes. To
improve, think like a smart amateur. Here are a few
Approach Shots: Hit to the Back Middle
Your goal from the fairway is to get the ball on the green. If you finish close to the pin, fine, but don't let that influence your club selection.
Most golfers leave their approach shots short, often
well short. Don't underclub! Check the yardages and take
the club that will put you on the back-middle portion of
the green. Odds are slim that you'll hit the ball over;
it's much more likely that you won't hit it as far as
you think. That will leave you in the middle of the
green, which is right where you want to be.
On the Green: Read One Line
Keep things simple on the green. For example, when lining up a putt, read the break from just one angle -- behind the ball -- then take your stance and stroke it. Sure, the pros like to check the line from the other side of the hole and even from the side, but their priorities are different. They're confident of making a solid stroke, so they can afford to be precise about the line (although sometimes they carry it too far).
Your main concerns should be making a smooth, even stroke and rolling the ball the proper distance. You need to develop a good feel for putting. Don't add distractions by reading the putt from too many angles. Crouch behind the ball, choose the line, then make a solid stroke. Do that and you'll sink your share.
Private Lessons 1999 Time4 Media, Inc., used under license by GolfServ Online, Inc. Instructional information provided by Golf Magazine.