An approach shot is the golf shot made with the intention of landing into the green in full swing. Golfers commonly play it at the par-4 or par-5 hole. Technically, any shot played into the green is called an “approach”. So it could be your 2nd or 14th shot and it can still be considered an approach, so long as the goal is to hit the green in full swing.
Today, modern golfers also use the term to define courses with more than par-3 with the majority of the fairway made up of green. On a par-4 hole, for example, whether or not a full swing is required on the third stroke would depend on the dimensions of the approach to the green.
How do you improve an approach shot?
Improving your approach shot can significantly help lower your scores. This is because, in the PGA Tour, approaching shots account for 40% of the scoring advantage. So, how do you improve your approach shot? Here are some easy ways that easily improve your approaches.
Master your drive
We usually hear this - find the fairway from the tee shot. But how do you actually do that? Well first, it is important that you actually know your average driver distance. Your first shot or driver shot will determine your next move.
Accuracy is the key for the driver shot. It offers better advantages when you hit your driver shot with accuracy rather than distance. It is always better to play a few yards back than get stuck on the rough part of the fairway. Focus on your tempo and create a solid impact.
Learn the conditions in the fairway
Aside from the fundamentals of golf and choosing the right club. It is also important to gain knowledge of the condition of the fairway even before you start taking the address position. There are certain elements that could throw your shot off. So learn your environment and adjust your play.
Take into account the wind, rain, and slope. Learning the geography of the fairway allows you to choose the right iron, whether to take a long or short approach, or the open clubface for a better impact. Take a moment to study your hole’s approach before setting up your play.
Be realistic with your approach
A golfer should learn when to go far and not. Know your limits but also work on improving your range. Knowing how to take the approach shots will help you relax when performing a shot. Your aim is to avoid the hazards and land on the widest part of green possible.
Long range approach (from 200 yards)
You are told to hit the driver shot with accuracy rather than distance. However, this time, make a long approach shot by hitting the ball from 200 yards.
Medium range approach (from 150 yards)
A regular golfer usually has their approach shot at the mid-range of 150-200 yards. This range is smooth and the average of most players. Nobody has much control of their ball. Therefore, it is important to commit on the shot and understand your pattern. Your goal is to continue landing on the green and not making the perfect shot.
Short range approach (120 or less)
Hazards surround the green. And you need to know when it’s time to go higher, when to do a partial swing and when to grab your wedge or irons. It makes more sense to get your way out of the bunker with long putts rather than go longer and create more yard gaps.
Practice, practice, practice
We cannot stress this more. Practice makes perfect. To lower your scores, you need to improve your tee shot. And to improve your tee shot, you will need to practice drills and play on a regular basis. Consistent practice and drills help you master your technique, learn and calibrate your clubs better and make you smarter with shots.
With spring around the corner, it is the best time to jumpstart your golf game. Remember the elements to help you improve your approach shots and lower your score - keep the technique simple, know your limit and be smarter with the course.
Condition yourself for the coming spring games by improving your range of motion and perfecting your body rotation with drills and the help of golf training aids.