Three ways a Garmin Approach could help your game

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The world is driven by technology – and so is golf. If you really want to play your best and shoot lower scores, Garmin have a device to help you achieve it

Improve your tee shots

Improving your technique is one thing – but it counts for nothing if you don’t have an effective plan for the shot. Focus on these areas to ensure your strategy matches how you’re swinging, and use a Garmin GPS to plan your shots better.

1: Take your time
When you’re faced with a tough shot, the huge temptation is to get it over with. But rushing the shot brings disaster. Instead, take your time. Stand directly behind your ball target line and absorb the entire scene, hazards and all. Realise the fairway is wide – you could probably fit 1,000 balls across it, and you only need one of those. Above all, prove to yourself that while the shot is tough, a good outcome is a possibility.

2: Lock on to your target
Dangerous hazards like water or OB have an ugly habit of grasping your attention when you’re looking at your Garmin Approach S62 watch. You can’t ignore it, but you can release yourself from its hold by picking your target on the full-colour display and committing to it throughout the planning stage. The clearer you define your line, the easier this comes, so pick an intermediate target to help you. Drum this line into your mind’s eye and you’ll be better able to resist that last-second doubt that breeds a ‘safety’ adjustment... and usually disaster.

3. Be aware
Some tees have mower stripes that may – or may not – point you down the fairway. It’s important you become aware of these lines and how they relate to your chosen shot path because it’s easy to be subliminally influenced by them. Similarly with the tee markers; they will not necessarily line up square to your shot. The bottom line is to use these elements to help you aim… and ensure they don’t use you. Garmin’s GPS mapping will guide you along the hole in full-colour.

4. Nail your set-up
Adjusting your address to allow fuller, freer movement and to promote a strong, high-launch/low-spin ball flight is perhaps the best way to pile on the yards. Your body sets a framework for the swing. The driver is the only club in the bag where we want to hit up on the ball, so our framework needs to promote that. Start by taking a comfortable, wide stance – insteps under shoulders – and dropping your trailing shoulder until your upper body angles upwards. Use Garmin’s Approach G80 to see your driver numbers – high launching, low-spinning drives will yield long, straighter shots.

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Improve your shots into the green

There’s no point hitting a great drive down the middle if you don’t capitalise with your approach shot. With up to 13 club options to hit into a green, you need to know how far each one goes, as well as how far you’ve got. Garmin can help you do both.

1: Why do you keep missing short?
According to data, 80% of missed greens are missed short. To explain this more simply, on average a 20-handicap golfer hits four greens in reg per round. This means they miss 14 greens per round, and of those 14, 11 are missed completely short of the green altogether – a pretty staggering statistic. Most of the danger is usually at the front of the green (sand or water), whereas there’s little behind. So missing long is significantly less of a problem than short.

2: Know how far you hit each club
Many golfers think they hit a 7-iron 150 yards, but the average golfer hits the ball nearly a full club shorter than they think they do. Knowing your numbers by analysing your stats gathered by Garmin’s Approach S62 or Approach G80 gives you a much more realistic outlook on how far you actually hit each club, as it is based on real shots, in real conditions, on a real golf course. Garmin’s Virtual Caddie feature even factors in wind speed and direction and suggests a club based on the distances you typically achieve with it, too.

3: Check your equipment
You need to have equipment that is forgiving enough for you. A more forgiving set of clubs will allow for the occasional mishit, and there will be less of a distance loss from these strikes.

4: Better ball-striking
All it takes is a little clip of the turf before the ball, or a toe/ heel strike, to significantly impact the distance the ball will travel. Every golfer knows what a good iron shot looks like; a ball-turf strike ensures a clean strike and compresses the ball powerfully, helping you get it back to the pin. But using Garmin’s Approach G80 at the range will also give you the numbers – how far a solid strike goes, and what you lose if you don’t quite catch it.

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Improve your course management

Par 3s should be simple. You’ve got a perfect lie off the tee; the green is in front of you; you can usually see any trouble; and all that’s required is one nice shot to get you on or near the putting surface. If only it was that simple…

1: Pick your battles
Not all par 3s are reachable in one shot for every golfer. And even if it is reachable, going for the green is not always the best option – take for example a 220-yard par 3 which may be within range, but demands a 200-yard carry over water. The first thing you have to ask yourself is, then, whether you are going for the green. No. If you are taking the green off the table, look hard for the bail-out. In almost every circumstance the architect will offer one, designing a safe zone that leaves a sensible chance for a chip and a putt. Once you’ve identified this area, commit to it and select your targets with as much precision as if you were going for the green.

2: Pick the right club
Once you’ve established you’re going for the green, turn your attention to clubbing. Stats show golfers between 11-20 handicaps miss almost 40% of greens short, and just 5% long. So ask yourself what club you would need to airmail the green. This, then, becomes a club that can find the target, even with a slight miscue.

3: Assess the green’s design
Many of us just go for the flag on par 3s. But a check of Gamin’s Approach Green View feature should tell you how to approach the shot. Designers like to protect short holes by creating green shapes that afford tight pin locations, and greenkeepers just love putting them there! Often you will be faced with a sucker pin, just yards from the water or the hole’s deepest bunker. When this is the case, give yourself a reasonable margin for error – perhaps 10-15ft to the open side of the pin – and focus on hitting the ball pin high.

4: What about the elevation?
This is where Garmin’s brilliant PlaysLike feature comes into its own (as long as you’re not in a comp!). The feature adjusts yardages to account for uphill and downhill shots, which are common on short holes, so you no longer have to try to estimate the effects of elevation with some tricky maths out on the course! Also, if you don’t have the honour, watch your playing partners’ shots carefully to assess the effects of wind and the firmness of the green. This becomes valuable information when you are working out what club and shot you want to hit. In terms of distance, don’t forget you can go up to two club-lengths back from the markers. That can help if you are between clubs – often, going back and taking the stronger of the two pays dividends.

For more information, please visit Garmin.com