Sat. Jun 15th, 2024

Is The Reward Worth The Risk In Golf

By admin Jun3,2024

Every round of golf provides us with the opportunity to make decisions. Most are benign and are made without any real thought. Others create the perfect storm situations where a high number could end up on our scorecard. During yesterday’s round I was faced with this exact decision and decided to turn it into a teaching moment. The sum of my discovery boils down to the challenge of: is the reward worth the risk for certain golf shots.

Every player will respond, well that depends. And of course that is correct. The situation I was faced with was my third shot on a par five.

On the longish par 5, 8th hole at Mattawa Golf and Ski Resort I hit my second shot short and behind the trees guarding the green. As you can see from the picture below, the green was completely block from hitting a wedge. The smart play was to hit left of the red circle and try to catch a bit of the green without interference from the trees.

As I was only three over at the time, I had to decide if the risk of hitting through the red circle was worth the reward of saving par. Well, I decided to take the risk. This was a very low percentage shot and knew I had the risk of a double or more if I the results were against me.

My ball was 20 yards from the trees and the trees were 15 yards from the edge of the green. The branches in the trees were about 9 feet high, so there was plenty of room if I hit down on the ball. The challenge was to select the club that allow my ball to travel the distance to get through the red circle (which was about 10 feet wide), land short of the green and roll up into a possible putt for birdie.

The grass around my ball was a bit long and posed a challenge of hitting down on the ball. I ultimately decided to hit a 7 iron (over my 6 iron) because it would provide enough loft to sail through the opening, but not high enough to hit the trees.

My first shot landed short and hit the tree on the right. It finished between the gap allowing for a simple next shot. Looking at the gap, I had a Tin Cup moment and decided to try the shot until I was successful.

My second shot popped up into the branches. My third shot hit the left tree and careened to the right behind a tree. My fourth shot was successful. I landed just past the trees, watched it bounce twice and roll up to 30 feet from the pin. What I did learn was to play the ball farther back in my stance than I first thought; a great lesson learned.

As a result of my first shot, I was able to hit the ball onto the green about 10 feet away leaving a solid chance at birdie. As it turned out, I missed the putt and walked off with a bogey. Surprisingly, I sank the 30 foot putt for birdie (my fourth shot) and only laughed at the results.

Realistically, in a stroke tournament, I would never try this shot. I would have played the safe shot to the left. The reason is that I would have left an easier shot with a better chance at making par. In the case above, the reward was not worth the risk because the potential for a very high number was greater than making a birdie. Of course in a match play, I would have tried the shot because I would only lose one hole at worse.

On a side note, I finished with a four over 78. It was my best round of the year. I am finally feeling like my game is working its way back.

Next time you are faced with a risk/reward shot, it is important to ask yourself if the reward is actually worth the risk. Only you can answer that question.

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!


By admin

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