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Shorter might be better
None of us can play like the top Tour pros the world over but we can discipline ourselves to think like them, or any good player, and we might be surprised at how our scores would improve.

Paul Lawrie will admit that he may not be the most naturally gifted golfer in the world but he rarely drops strokes through thoughtlessness and his excellent form this year is demonstrating that he can perform in any arena in the world. You may not win the Open, as Paul did, but you could probably think a little smarter on the course, as he does.

For example, on a par five or long par four hole, do you always hit the longest club in your bag, in order to get as near to the green in two as possible? If so, why not consider the following. Do you prefer to take a full swing or are you good at manufacturing half or three-quarter swing shots? If you answer 'full swing' then it might make a lot of sense for you to lay up to 90 or 100 yards - or whatever distance you can comfortably hit a full wedge, for example - than put your ball to within 30 yards of the putting surface.

By adopting this strategy you can also avoid the possibility of getting a hard bounce and seeing your ball disappear into a bunker short of the green.

In effect, always look to see where the trouble is (and on approach shots it's much more likely to be short of the green than long) and make sure to think your way around the problems.

©    6 - SEPTEMBER 2002

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