the powers of recovery
‘Short-siding’ yourself means missing the green on the side on which the flag is cut. With little green to work with, your chances of an up-and-down are usually vastly reduced. In the pro game, short-siding is typically seen as a strategy mistake from the approach, but for club golfers, it can just as easily be the result of a miscue, and as such it is very much a part of the game. Here’s how to stop a drama becoming a crisis…
I really want to save par…
Of course you want to save par, even
from a difficult position. You’re only human after all. But note that short-siding yourself only really becomes a major problem when you push too hard to recover from the errant approach. So your recovery begins in your head. Once you accept that getting down in three more shots is a perfectly satisfactory result, you can start to create a strategy that will avoid following one mistake with another.
So I have to play a ‘boring’ safety shot?
There are two circumstances where you can go for it. The first is if you are just out for a bit of fun; the second is if your surname is Mickelson. But in any scoring scenario, your key goal for the shot must be to find the green and take that double bogey out of the equation. Even if you’re playing matchplay and your opponent is safely on the green, a well-thought-out recovery keeps you in the hole and sends a message that you are not going to give anything away.
But that could mean actually playing away from the flag…
Absolutely it could. How ‘boring’ the shot you must play depends on the ball’s lie, hazard placement, green firmness and contours, and what is behind the hole. The shot I’m facing here – over a deep trap downhill to the flag with little room behind the hole – mandates a safer line, out to the right. It’ll leave a 25-footer for par, but I’ll have to take that from here.
It still feels a bit defeatist…
If you go into the shot with that attitude, the chances are you will not focus and you’ll get sloppy. Instead, do what the professionals do – develop pride in your willingness and ability to play the smart shot. Be as specific with your targeting as you would with a shot towards the hole. Be disciplined with your routines and execution. Pick the spot you want to putt from, and see how close you can get it to that spot.