Master approach shots over water

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Fault: You get nervous when faced with an approach over a hazard.

Fix: It’s the one that makes every amateur – and plenty of pros – weak at the knees: the approach shot over water. The first step to being successful here is your state of mind. If the hazard wasn’t there this would be a straightforward approach of around 150 yards. It’s a short iron so play it confidently, trusting your ability to make a good swing. This doesn’t mean you should ‘blank out’ the hazard, though, and this is where shot selection comes in. If you ignore the hazard you are more likely to make the wrong choice. So accept the water is there and create a positive plan to avoid it. Here are four useful thoughts.

 

Master approach shots

Club up
Think about how many approaches you leave short; I'd guess it's at least 75 per cent. Take a club more and swing smoothly. Swinging harder thwarts control.

 

Master approach shots

Be aware
People talk about 'blanking out' the danger but it puts your mind into a closed state which makes you more likely to choose the wrong shot.

 

Master approach shots

At the flag
You have less water to clear and can get close to the flag. Miss it right though, and a tough up-and-down from the thick grass waits. One for the wedge experts.

 

Master approach shots

Guaranteed putt
Playing to the deepest part of the green means clearing more water and leaves you a long way from the flag. It's the right play if putting's your strength.