September 24th, 2012 by Tyler Pringle
Many golfers become stressed when they see a back pin location. However, while it does force a longer shot, a back pin provides a golfer with many different options to utilize the entire green. Use creativity to get the ball pin high. If that means chipping with a hybrid or putting 30 feet off the front of the green, then go for it. The only thing that matters is getting the ball into the hole. If you’re still unconvinced, the following strategies should help make back pin positions more accessible.
Does this sound familiar? You hit a shot fat and the ball trickles onto the front of the green, leaving you with an impossible, triple breaking 75-foot putt. You would give anything to get off the green with a two-putt.
If you find yourself in that scenario, focus on getting the ball within a 3-foot circle from the hole. Ignore any of the initial break since the ball will travel too quickly to be effected. Rather, pay attention to the break within the last 15 feet of the hole, where the ball will be slowing down. The closer you lag the first putt, the better chance you have of making the next putt. Don’t stress, as three putts are very likely in this situation. If you make it, great! However, if you miss, make sure the next putt is close to the hole. Make sure to stay positive even if the first putt isn’t perfect, because a good frame of mind gives you a better chance to make the next putt, no matter how long it is.
A chip is a shot that rolls the majority of the way to its target. This is a very effective shot when you have the opportunity to utilize the entire green. However, to make this shot work, it is vital to understand how a ball reacts once it lands on the green. As long as you have the proper execution on your swing, all you need to do for most chip shots is determine where you want the ball to land. Try to land the ball as close to you as possible on the green, and watch the ball release back to the hole. On average, a 7 iron will travel approximately 25 percent of the way in the air and roll the remaining 75 percent on the ground. A pitching wedge will travel approximately 50 percent in the air and roll the remaining 50 percent toward the hole. Experiment with different clubs to find the best combination that complements your game.
Hit a pitch shot if a chip is not feasible. A pitch is a shot that travels the majority of the way to the target in the air, and usually requires a shot over an obstacle such as a bunker or hazard. The higher trajectory will allow the ball to hit softly and stop quickly. Compared to a chip, a pitch shot requires a bigger backswing and follow through. Similar to a chip, focus on where the ball should land and how it will release to the hole.
Accurate Distance Control
Proper course management requires you to determine the correct yardage on the hole, and it has become extremely easy to obtain the exact yardage of your ball without needing to walk off yards from a sprinkler head any more. GPS, satellite images, range finders and devices that combine this technology have removed the need for frustrating brainwork. There’s no reason not to know the correct distance to the hole. If you own a smartphone, you can even download a free golf GPS app for your next round.
If one of these devices isn’t available to you, always error on the side of caution. With a back pin, the danger is hitting too long and leaving yourself with little green to work with to get the ball up and down. When in doubt, play a shot to the center of the green to reduce the chance of making bogey. If you hit the middle of the green, you’re putting. If you slightly overswing and crush the ball, you’ll land hole high. Even if you hit it poorly and come up well short, you still have plenty of green to work with, and you can utilize one of the shots mentioned above.
That being said, its important to know how far you carry the golf ball. Once you have the correct yardage, it is imperative to hit the correct club. Amateurs and beginning golfers often try to hit a club too hard. If your 150 yard club is a 6 iron, don’t try to swing harder and hit your 7 or 8 iron 150 yards. Rather, take a smooth swing or even play a knockdown shot. Control the distance, direction, and trajectory of your golf ball on approach shots if you want to attack a back pin. When you improve ball control skills, a back pin will be much easier to handle.