Symptom: You aim at the pin, no matter where it is on the green. After all, you're trying to get the ball in the hole, right? But, alas, often a well-struck shot ends up in the rough or the bunker, challenging your short game and costing you strokes. "But I hit a good shot," you mutter as you go see if the ball held up on the bank or rolled into the water.
Overview: Do not fire at the pin. Aim for the middle of the green instead. Do this always.
Why it works: The essence of this tip is to manage your mistakes. If you take an aggressive line, and hit something other than a perfect shot (which happens a lot to Occasional Golfers), you put yourself in a very tough position around the green. Why do that? What are the odds of you sticking that ball within a few feet for a tap-in birdie like the highlight shows on TV? Don't you realize that the pros usually aim for the middle of the green too, and that a shot right next to the pin is often a mis-hit? Why not aim for the middle of the green, or the fat part of the green, or whatever line gives you the best chance making sure your next shot is a putt and not a bunker shot or chip shot?
Often, I see Occasional Golfers who don't give the matter much thought. They see the flag, they aim at the flag, they fire at the flag. Indeed, that is what you do on the driving range, right? You aim at the flag. But that is the driving range, not the golf course. On the golf course you need to aim at a point that allows a less-than-perfect shot to avoid a major disaster. Pick a tree in back of the green, or a chimney of a roof, or something else to aim at. Don't allow this mental lapse to sabotage your game!
To hit the green with high probability, then, you will often need to play left or right of the flag. Be sure to pick something to aim at, and align your clubface to a spot on your target line. Then don't look at the flag again, look only at your intended target and your aiming point.
No matter how good you are at chipping and bunker shots, you are better off on the green! So stop firing at sucker pins! You'll be on the green more often, and you'll avoid those big, ugly numbers on your scorecard!
Or, there could be other consequences. Like this guy who got his ball all the way back to this pin, only to find that there were visitors offering up a new kind of hazard. Have a look:
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May all your putts roll true -- GolfTipEditor