Birdies at TPC Sawgrass and How YOU can make more Birdies too!
Wow! What an exciting finish at The Players Championship - TPC Sawgrass this past Sunday!
Excellent conditions and great players led to plenty of birdies and some moving action coming down the stretch; most notably by the Champ himself, Rickie Fowler, who went 6-under in his last six holes with eagle, birdie, birdie on the famous holes 16, 17 and 18 to finish the tournament 12-under and put the pressure on the guys behind him.
Rickie proceeded to make birdie two more times on the par 3, 17th hole island green to win the playoff and ultimately become The Players 2015 Champion. There is no doubt that Rickie’s play on that hole was a key to his win!
My college golf coach wisely told us, “2’s don’t add up very quickly on the score card.”
That may seem obvious, but hey, it is true. So, how do you as average golfers, work towards making more 2’s on your card? Or maybe for you it is making more 3’s, 4’s or 5’s ;-)
Wherever you are in your golf game, here are three things to take away from watching the best player’s in the world. Apply these tips and let’s work on making some birdies!
1. Know your yardages: If you watch professional golfers on tour, you will realize very quickly that they know EXACTLY (I mean to the 1/2 yard) how far every club in their golf bag goes. Now, it may not be possible for the average golfer to be this precise, but, I have found most golfers have an extremely vague idea of how far they hit each club.
Spending an hour on the range, hitting 5-10 shots with each club and figuring out the average distance each club in your golf bag flies will be an hour well spent and will get you closer to hitting more greens and making more birdies.
2. Have a game plan: When a tour player is competing in any tournament, they have a detailed, strategic game plan for every shot they want to hit while out on the golf course. They know exactly where they want to land the golf ball on the 17th green at TPC Sawgrass for each pin position they will play that week.
Although you may not have pin sheets for every round, or plan out your rounds days in advance, you can and should pick a target for EVERY shot you play, keeping in mind where you want to play your next shot.
When learning how to make a game plan for a golf hole, a great way to start is to think of playing the hole backwards. Start at the green, and think where do I want to be hitting from as I approach the green? Then, where will my target be off the tee to get to my ideal approach shot? Pick targets to hit targets to make more birdies!
3. More Control for More Precision: Watching the pros on Hole 17 at TPC Sawgrass this weekend, you may have noticed that many of them choke up on the golf club and make a shorter, more controlled swing. The reason for this is, the shorter the swing, the less room for error!
A chip is easier to get close to the hole than a pitch shot or a full swing shot. Makes sense, right? Next time you face a shot into a small green that requires more precision, try taking one club longer than usual for that shot, grip down about one inch from the end of the club, and make a smooth 3/4 length swing. This will give you a bit more control over the golf club and add some more precision when the pressure is on.
Let’s not let the pro’s have ALL the fun; you can enjoy watching them achieve greatness, and then go achieve greatness within your own golf games!
Here's to your golf game and making more birdies!
Stephanie Wagemann is a former competitive golfer, college coach and Michigan golf instructor whose mission is to help beginners enjoy the game.
Ask golf questions on Twitter to Stephanie on @CoachBirdTweets and to GFB on @Golf4Beginners.