How much lower would your handicap be if you could only avoid “blow-up” holes?
You know, those double- and triple-bogeys (and worse) that seem to creep up at least a couple of times per round golf round, ruining an otherwise solid score?
There are several ways to minimize blow-up holes, if not completely eliminate them. It comes down to observant course management, discipline, and knowing your limits.
Most blow-up holes start -- where else? -- on the tee. Since wayward drives into the trees, sand or water can cost a stroke or two right off the bat, take a close look at the hole’s risks and rewards before choosing a club. If the hole is fraught with trouble, forego the driver and hit a fairway wood, hybrid, or even an iron to get the ball safely in play.
The conservative approach is also recommended when, despite your best intentions, you find trouble. Surrounded by trees, for instance, or close to the lip of a bunker. Rather than attempt the hero golf shot, it's usually best to take your medicine, follow the easy route out – often sideways, not directly at the hole -- and try to salvage a bogey.
It may seem boring, but remember – there’s nothing more exciting than lower scores.