22 Jul 2004
Todd Hamilton was the surprise winner of the British Open last weekend. In his interview after the final round, he talked about getting the job done.
"I hit a lot of cuts and low slice shots off the tee to keep the ball in play. It didn't look pretty, but it works for me," Hamilton said.
Hamilton might not have the pretty swing of Ernie Els, nor the power of Phil Mickelson, but he understands his golf game and how he needed to play shots that might not match the standard of ball-striking of those players.
He opted for ugly but effective golf shots.
Do you know what kind of shots work best for you under pressure? Most golfers have a tendency to hit certain types of shots when faced with a certain situation.
If you are one of those golfers who performs better under pressure, you have quite an advantage and can go for the perfect shot.
However, if you tend to hit less-than-perfect shots when the heat is on, you need to plan for that shot tendency.
Trying to hit perfect golf shots instead of allowing for the type of shot you are likely to hit does not give you the best opportunity to score well when the heat is on.
My miss under pressure tends to be a shot that goes low and to the right. Therefore, I am not going to try to aim at a pin that is tucked behind a bunker on the right side of the green, especially if I am hitting a longer club for my approach shot.
Instead, I will aim to the fat, open part of the green, left of the pin, where a low shot will work.
If I happen to hit it well, I will be faced with a lag putt situation, but if I make my usual mistake, I still have a good chance of getting the ball onto the green and giving myself a scoring opportunity.
If I were to aim at that tight right pin and miss my shot low and to the right, I probably would be faced with a difficult up-and-down from the bunker.
You can improve your scores by using a similar strategy based on your tendencies under pressure.