I’m back this week to focus on how best to golf hole #2 at Prairie Links. It’s a par 5, playing from 511 yards from the back tee box, to as short as 397 yards. It is the most scoreable hole of the difficult four-hole start. From the black tee markers 236 to the left-hand bunker and 266 yards to carry the left bunker.
When I set up on tee the first thing I do is pick a small target. There is a house out in the distance I choose. This helps me commit to a target and I am most comfortable fading the ball off the tee. With trouble on both sides, it is important to decide which way you want to miss the ball. I know this is easier said than done, but whether you slice or hook the ball you should always plan how you miss fits the hole.
After carrying the bunker with a good drive, it is time to determine if I will go for the green in two shots or lay up. The downhill shot will always be slightly shorter. From 200-220 yards out I will play at least one club less which equals about 10 yards. For me, when going for the green it is important to be completely confident in my club selection. Making a smooth swing to a committed target will enable me to hit the green or leave the ball in a position short right of the green for me to give myself a look at birdie.
Alternatively, after a poor drive in the rough it is time to lay up. Much like I talked about on Hole 1, I want a full club into the green. 90-110 yards is the target number for a third shot I would like into this par 5. When laying up I take this into account.
The biggest mistake I see on Par 5’s with amateurs is club selection on lay ups. Hitting your longest metal wood seems like the best play, but in reality hitting a solid iron to your favorite yardage is the correct play. Many of us do not have the time to practice touch shots from 30-50 yards so why try it on the golf course in a match? Picking a club that gives you confidence is the fastest way to lower scoring. This is #1 thing I preach to my team when we are in practice.