The pro golfers you must watch
By and large, the game of golf is learned and mastered by studying others. Any successful golfer will tell you, if you want to triumph on the green you must look beyond your own game and pay attention to the great pro golfers. Golf is a game of strategy that requires razor-sharp critical thinking. Given the wide variations between one golf course and the next, the best golf players tackle each round with a unique tactical plan.
There is much more to the game than simply hitting the ball long and straight.
It’s a more complex matter of optimising the position of the ball on each hole to work towards making birdie or par.
If you can devise and execute smart strategies, you will keep your score nice and low - and victory will be yours.
When it comes to golf strategy, the pro golf circuit is where you will find the sharpest golfing minds.
Put your strategic thinking cap on and look to the form of these 5 pro golfers to help you lift your game.
1. Keep an eye on the Tiger
He is one of the most successful, record-breaking golfers of all time – and smart strategy has underlined his achievements. Tiger Woods is known for putting in more hours of practice than most. Despite an obvious power advantage, he has always concentrated on a strong all-around game with solid driving accuracy, iron play accuracy, putting and bunker play.
Next time you find yourself in a narrow bind on the course, take a lesson from Woods’ book and you just might hit the fairway.
Early in his career, Woods honed a signature shot - ‘the stinger’ – which has gotten him out of the woods, so to speak, whenever he found himself in extra narrow conditions.
Using the full force of his strong arms and shoulders, Woods’ trademark shot stings the fairway like a low, probing bullet.
With a 2-iron or 3-iron, he shapes the shot so it never runs too far. He has consistently been able to hit this shot with precision for up to 280 metres.
You may not be as strong as Woods but you can adapt his not-so-secret weapon to suit your own style and strength.
2. The 4-leaf clover of the green
Only three pro golfers have ever won three majors by the age of 25: Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus and this guy. Rory McIlroy is a four-time major champion and the now the current world number 2. This Northern Irish luminary is the first European to win three different majors.
He is known for using the interlocking grip on full shots. And his brazen Irish swagger has earned him a bit of a reputation – his distinctive rhythm and swing on the green sets him apart.
Study McIlroy’s moves closely and you will quickly come to realize that it takes a lot more than ‘the luck of the Irish’ to land you at the top of the golf ladder.
3. More than a walk in the Park
Golfing legends are defined by their putting skills, their long game, their resilience and their mental stamina. South Korean golfer Inbee Park checks all of the boxes. At 28 years of age, she has already won seven majors, an achievement that impresses above and beyond the women's game.
Her win in the 2015 Ricoh Women’s British Open caps off her 16th LPGA career victory and her fourth win for 2015.
She is the youngest player to win the US Women’s Open and became only the second player to win the Women’s PGA Championship for three years running.
Park is a strong-willed strategic mastermind. Pay close attention to her game play; you will see that nothing is left to chance.
That is why she keeps rising to the top of Women’s World Golf Rankings.
4. Flighted shot to save the Day
Australia’s own Jason Day has been making waves on the PGA Tour circuit in recent years and is currently ranked 1st in the world rankings thanks to his maiden Major Victory in the 2015 US PGA Chamiponship.
If you study the champ’s form, you will become familiar with a very useful tactic that has become his trademark.
When he is in the middle of a round and his swing is feeling out of sync, Day pulls out his ‘flighted shot’.
It flies a little lower and shorter than his normal irons but it gets his swing back on track and helps him recalibrate so that he can start hitting the ball straight and solid again.
Do you have an effective strategy for correcting your swing after a string of bad shots?
5. Watching Watson
In order to execute a strong game strategy, you must know your own strengths and limitations but Bubba is an exception to the Rule. Left-handed legend Bubba Watson knows he is capable of anything and if he can see the shot he goes for it - he hasn’t missed a beat this season.
As one of the longest drivers on the PGA Tour, Watson is known for his long-hitting might.
He can hit a ball over 330 yards and is capable of generating club head speed at over 123 miles an hour.
The American pro is currently ranked 10th in World Rankings and is tipped to emerge from the season a champion if he keeps his head in the game and maintains focus.
With his power, his creativity around the greens, and his knack for hitting a high ball, Bubba is one of the pro golfers to watch.
Your Next Step
This post was written by Kurt Linde who is the General Manager at Pacific Dunes Golf Club, Port Stephens.
Kurt is a PGA professional and former touring professional, having golfed on the Australasian, South Pacific and Canadian tours alongside some of the most talented golfers in the world.
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