Why you should think backwards on Par 5s

Want to work out how best to play Par 5s? Start your process by thinking of the hole from green to tee.

In his famous book How To Play Your Best Golf All The Time, Tommy Armour documented his experience of playing a round of golf with an amateur during which he would advise on decision-making.

Armour had two golden rules for his partner:
1. Always play the shot that has the highest percentage chance of success;
2. Always play the shot that makes your next shot easier.

This philosophy is true on any hole; it’s particularly relevant on par 5s. A par 5 is a three-shotter for most club golfers. Because they represent your best chance at making a safe par or even a birdie, that third shot on the hole is very important.

#3 In an ideal, but realistic, world there are two third-shot scenarios on a long par 5. You’re either laying up to a specific yardage in order to hit a full shot into the green with a wedge or short iron, or you’re looking to chip or pitch it close. Depending on your game plan, first identify the position from which you want to play your third shot and then work backwards to the tee.

#2 On this particular par 5, the entrance into the green is very narrow and fraught with danger. In this instance, the smart play is to lay back with a second shot and hit a wedge in from a at piece of fairway turf.

#1 Because there is a large mound guarding the right side of the hole, the tee shot needs to be accurately placed down the left side of the fairway in order to provide a clear view of the landing area for the second shot. You can even go one step further and select which side of the tee box gives you the best angle to hit that drive.

numbers and path on the course

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