Bubba Watson: Par 4 strategy

Bubba Watson: “On tough par 4s, find your safe places”

In this tip, Bubba Watson talks through applying strategy to a par-4 by using the example of the 5th hole at Augusta National. 

Despite the fact, you don’t always get to see it on TV, the 455-yard, par-4 5th hole at Augusta National is one of the toughest on the course. My stroke average on this hole during my career is 4.26 so that shows the level of difficulty. There are three main challenges here.

The first is avoiding the pair of left fairway bunkers, which are very much in play for me off  the tee. The second is finding the at part of the fairway. The third is ensuring that you avoid the false front in the front of the green. Clear all those obstacles and you have a good shot at a par. Fall at any of them, and you’re struggling to avoid bogey or worse.

Play to your strengths to make birdie
I love to hit driver, but I don’t need it here. Most of the time, I’ll use a 3-wood and aim for the at part of the fairway, which will give me an easier shot into the flag. I’ll take a slightly longer shot from a level lie than a shorter iron from a hanging lie any day of the week.

Middle of the green is always good
On this hole, because of the false front and the way the putting surface is cambered, I’m aiming at a 10ft circle in the centre of the green. That also leaves an uphill putt on most pin positions. If you end up hitting it close and make birdie, you got lucky. Anyone who says they’re not trying to hit to this 10ft circle is lying.

Give fairway bunkers respect and attention
My main focus on this hole is staying out of the fairway bunkers o the tee. You have to carry it 315 yards to clear the sand – which is a big ask given that the hole also slopes uphill. It’s tempting to cruch the driver and take your chances but because the approach needs to be played so precisely, you must nd the fairway.

- Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this page, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us.