Hitting Greens & Three Putting?

My game has come up a level in the past few weeks, after much hard work to get it there.  Anyone who has read this blog knows that I practice a lot and am very serious about developing a solid golf game.  My handicap index and club handicap are down a few strokes and I am determined to keep them there and build on this improvement.

So lately I’ve been hitting more greens in regulation.  It’s a wonderful feeling to get the ball to the green from, in my case, usually somewhere way the heck back there.  It’s usually a fairway wood or four or five iron getting me there.  I’ve even used my driver a few times off the fairway (first time I pulled it from the bag thinking it was my three-wood but I hit it very solid, so I used it again!).

But there has been a catch.

More often than not, at least in the past week, I have blown my exciting green landing with a three-putt.  Doh!  I find it a higher pressure situation I guess.  First of all, these shots are usually as far from the pin as they can be and still be on the green.  So I’ve got a mile long birdie putt to start and I’ve been brushing the green a little, or pulling or pushing it, or bombing it sometimes and then suddenly there is a boatload of work to be done just to make par.  Then I miss the part putt and I’m tapping it in to save bogey.

I guess it’s all part and parcel as one learns how to handle hitting greens.  I’m really starting to take new stock of my course management skills and am learning that, depending on pin placement, it is sometimes a better idea to come up short of the green, or whatever the optimum shot may be.

I’m also learning that if I miss the green by more than a short chip shot, I better be mindful of my approach.  The other day I hit a pitch thin and it went into a far side green bunker, up against the back lip so I had no swing room.  In spite of stern warning from my husband (who I wanted to deck with my sand wedge at that moment)  that if I wasn’t careful I’d hit into the bunker in front of the green, as such was the angle of my only shot out of this ghastly lie.  Well, I did just that!  Out of one bunker, into another worse one.

I didn’t want to get frazzled and have a major meltdown as I tend to do when I’m in over my head.  I picked up on that hole and took my maximum.  After the round, I went into the clubhouse and asked our pro if he’d soon be covering bunker play in his weekly clinics.

So much of golf is common sense and paying attention.  If I’ve learned anything about this game I’ve learned that. I also recently read someone’s on-the-course admonition to ‘play golf’ not ‘golf swing’.  Loved that advice.

And there is just no wasting a shot out there.  Every shot is precious and deserves great care.

But in any case, I’ve hit more greens lately than I ever have and it’s gratifying.  I’ll land closer and  the putts will fall eventually.

~Jillian

Update 6/5 11:15 pm:  Shot nine holes late in the evening tonight.  Scored 47 and 22 of those strokes were putts.  Four 3-putts and no 1-putts.  Ugh.  I hit one green and got to the fringe of several others – then the awful putting (and the 22 doesn’t include off green putts!).  Long game is going absolutely great though.  Even my approach shots within 100 yards were decent tonight.

Focus is on putting for the next few days.

It could have been the light.  It was getting pretty dark and shadowy which may have affected how I saw my lines for putting.  Not making excuses though.  My putting was just awful.

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