On your journey from the tee to the green, shots tend to fall into two categories: the long game and the short game.
Richard Shaw, Centre Manager at High Elms Golf Course, tells us that focusing on the long game is all about course management, and offers some thoughts and tips that can help you to better consistency with the long game.
Here are the types of shots you can expect to hit on your way to the green:
- The drive: the shot loved most by amateurs as it is the one where you aim to hit the ball with the most power and the furthest distance. However, making an effective and accurate drive is not that simple. Try reading our perfect swing tips.
- The approach: this is any shot where you aim towards the green from a reasonable distance. It’s often taken from the fairway and you’ll base your club selection on how far you need the ball to travel. The driving range is the ideal place to learn the distance you’ll reach with each club type. Use the practice mat without a tee and take 10 shots with each club, keeping an eye on the distance markers.
- A lay up: you’ll take this shot to manage your risk. If you’ve got obstacles in your path to the green or are not confident in the distance and want to improve your position then you’ll likely be looking to take a lay up shot. With this tactical shot you’ll likely be aiming for shorter distances, so again, club selection is key. This is all about course management and reducing the risk of a high score.
- Three quarter shots: with this shot the key is practice. You’ll need this shot when you are a bit too far for short game shots like a chip, inside the distance of your shortest club. This can be anything from 50 to 100 yards. The risk here is that you’ll overshoot, as you are aiming to reduce your backswing in order to shorten the distance. Like most shots, the driving range is the perfect place to get the right feel for this one. Your aim is to execute your backswing to around 75%. Breaking it down into 10 shot chunks and aiming for distance markers will help you track whether you're getting the desired effect by seeing how many shots land the distance you’re after.
- The knockdown: if you’ve got a tree in your way and need to keep the elevation of the ball low and controlled to avoid the branches, you’ll be taking a knockdown shot (also known as a punch shot). To keep the ball low you’ll need more control, so slightly narrow your stance, moving your feet a little closer together, place a little more weight on your front foot and restrict your follow through.
- Blind shots: this is where your vision of the green is fully obstructed and you can’t se what you're aiming for. The top tip here is to walk to a point where you can see the target and line it up to a point on the obstruction that you can aim at or over. Sometimes the obstruction is an intended feature of the course, and you may find that a lay up shot could also be a good option.
Now we know the breakdown of shots within the long game, here are some additional tips for course management and practice ideas:
- Take more shots: it sounds counterintuitive, as the aim of golf is to get round in the least shots you possibly can. However, it’s more important to build up your game by being controlled. Aiming for shots that are outside a comfortable distance or around an obstacle can very quickly increase the shots you take. So remove the risk and break a 200 yard drive in to two 100 yard iron shots. As you play more and become more comfortable, you can build up to the longer, more challenging shots.
- Stay focussed: It’s easy in golf to lose concentration. Maybe you’ve hit a bad shot, or you're so pleased with your last shot that you don’t concentrate as much on your next one. Take a moment with each shot, concentrate on the target and use practice swings to slow down and maintain focus.
- Practise properly: It’s incredibly easy to arrive at the driving range and just hit the ball aimlessly. Why wouldn’t it be? It’s fun! Make sure you give yourself a target, visualise an obstacle or aim for a distance and then track how many shots out of 10 are accurate, so you can keep a record of your progress.
- Learn from those in the know: Golf lessons let you take advantage of our golfing professionals and their knowledge. Our Get Active in Golf programme is a cost effective way to get into the game, with six 30-minute group lessons for £30. If you want more dedicated advice, we offer one to one coaching.
Five of our Mytime Active golf courses have a driving range, which can help you focus on getting that perfect swing for your long game. With 16 golf sites nationwide, you’ll be able to test your long game on a variety of fun and challenging courses that are suitable for all ability levels.
Enquire today for great rates on our golf memberships, which offer unlimited golf at all courses, unlimited access to our driving ranges and full membership access to all Mytime Active leisure sites and many other benefits.