Laying up on a par 5 seems like one of golf's simplest tasks. Provided there are no hazards to consider, you should just choose the club that will put you closest to the green, right?
Sometimes, sure. But not always. For example, there's such a thing as being too close to the green. It's often better to have a full shot with a wedge than, say, a hard-to-judge, 40-yard pitch.
Therefore, your first job is to determine an ideal distance for your third shot. Let's say you're comfortable hitting a pitching wedge from 100 yards. Figure out the distance from your drive to the 100-yard marker, then choose the appropriate club, making sure to factor in fairway roll. As long as you hit the shot well, it should finish within 10 yards or so of your target.
Occasionally, however, the required distance may mean picking a club you struggle with. Say you need a 200-yard shot to reach your 100-yard target, but you've been hooking your hybrids badly. You're better off laying up a little farther back with a different club, settling for a longer approach but improving your chances of hitting the fairway with the layup.
Par 5s offer great scoring opportunities when you use sound judgment to position your approach. Invest a few extra seconds to analyze the situation and you'll enjoy a major payoff.