How to score well when not playing well

Tiger Woods recent win at the Tour Championship provided a fantastic learning opportunity for all golfers. It relates to a course management element that many club golfers struggle with its very concept:


During a playing lesson I will ask the client "Where's your best miss here?" to which I generally get a puzzled look and a response of "Why do I want to miss it??".

In my experience most club golfers will miss their intended target more often than they hit it. So, why don't we plan for this potential missed shot. Let me explain.

Even the best players in the world are only hitting greens in regulation 12 out of 18 times (on average) but what they do better than most is miss the green in the correct spot.

In the video above Tiger says "... I missed it in the correct spot." He was referring to his approach shot on the last hole which he left in the bunker short.

Let's rewind to my playing lesson, when I said "where's your best miss". Tiger Woods was winning the Tour Championship and playing probably the best golf in the World but he still planned his shot so that if he missed the green he wanted to leave it in the bunker short.


Now that we've established that we're not as good as Tiger Woods and that will have to plan for the inevitable missed green (don't get me wrong.... I fully understand that everyone wants to hit the green and that we should be thinking positively about our golf but please keep reading) let's think about our best miss.

Tiger related to the bunker being his best miss because he was left with a simple uphill bunker shot but if he missed through the green where there was some very thick rough, he would have been chipping onto a fast downhill green. An almost impossible up&down.

Of these two options Tiger fancied his chances from the bunker more than the rough. A good choice! His decision over which club to use, for his approach shot, would have included choosing a club that he knew would never go through the green, allowing him to fully commit to the shot.