Play Your Best: StrategyMay 29, 2014

Ditch Your Ego On The Tee

A watery par 3 can tempt you to play too aggressively

First, you need to decide where you're going to aim on a par 3 like this one. The better golfer you are, the more you can challenge the trouble between you and the pin. If you take an aggressive line, you bring the water into play, but there's a bailout area short and left. Unless you're a good player, that's your spot.

If you're in a match or tournament, think about how you stand. Sometimes I felt I had to go for it, but most of the time I played conservatively and was content with a 30-foot putt. For instance, on the 12th hole at Augusta National—a great example of this kind of design—if the pin was on the right side, I aimed over the bunker, to the center of the green. That strategy served me well over the years.

par 3