Play Your Best | Strategy by Jack NicklausMay 11, 2017

Dangerous Curves Ahead: Studying A Double Dogleg

What to do when a fairway turns twice.

I always arrived early for majors. Guys who came in tournament week inevitably would be overwhelmed by the deepness of the rough or the firmness of the greens. I'd already be acclimatized to the conditions, so all I had to worry about was my golf. Preparing helps you relax.

This summer the U.S. Open is at a new venue, Erin Hills, a Wisconsin course built in 2006 that most of the field hasn't seen. Jordan Spieth and some of his cohorts played the U.S. Amateur there in 2011, but most everyone else will be learning it from scratch. I've yet to play it, but one hole I'm told should get attention is the par-4 12th (illustrated). Its fairway bends to the right and back to the left, like a question mark. A double dogleg like this is a perfect example of a hole the USGA—or your tournament committee—can control to play any way they fancy. So you need to prepare for all the ways it might be set up. You can be aggressive and take a straight path, or follow the curvature of the fairway.

Illustration by Chris O'Riley

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