Editor's note: Each week, Megan Padua, a teaching professional at Maidstone Club (East Hampton, N.Y.) and Belfair Plantation (Bluffton, S.C.), and one of Golf Digest's Best Young Teachers, offers tips and advice for women golfers.
By Megan Padua
When it comes to golf, there are many ways to make a number on a hole, and sometimes an unconventional approach can be the most effective. Do you have a nemesis hole that always gets the best of you? The hole that, no matter what, seems impossible? Then it's time to consider a different plan of attack.
There's a particular hole on the short course at my club that has a lot of tall, yellow grass. I did an experiment with a group of kids and told them that if they could hit their ball on "green grass" they would get candy. I went first and aimed at the fairway of the previous hole and hit one about 50 yards. I turned to them and said, "I get candy!" They all proceeded to hit shots safely into the adjacent fairway, while the only two kids that tried to hit the green lost their balls.
I hit my shot down the fairway of another hole in order to leave myself a shot to the green. If an area is not defined as out of bounds, you're allowed to use it to maximize your chances of hitting your target green.
When addressing a challenging hole, I want you to look from the green back to the tee box. This view helps piece together the best possible angles from which to approach the green. If the percentage of making it over trouble is low, you should map out a plan that goes around the trouble. This action is called laying up; it's when you have to sacrifice the reward of hitting the green over avoiding the risk of hitting your ball into the problem areas.
This tip is for beginners who want to avoid posting a high number on holes that have a forced carry or lots of trouble areas.