In this golf tip we are going to look at the best approach to take when playing golf holes where there is a false front green.
A false front green refers to the front portion of the putting surface where it slopes downwards towards the fairway. The sloping front area of the green is cut as the putting surface but any ball landing on this area will not stay on the green, it will roll down the slope it just came up and finish back on the fairway. This is why this sloping feature is called a false front. It looks like the putting surface, or green, but you do not want to land the ball on this area, as you cannot stop the ball on this surface and if you try to you will end up back down the slope and on the fairway.
So the best way to deal with false front greens is to hit the ball over the false front, over the slope and land on the flatter area, where you will be able to stop your ball on the putting surface.
In order to do this, if you are hitting in from distance, make sure you use at least one club more than you would usually take for the same distance. For example, if you would usually use an 8 iron for the distance that is required, use a 7 or even a 6 iron to make sure your ball flies over the false front and lands on the flatter area of the green beyond this, rather than landing your ball on the sloping area at the front of the green, which will stop the ball and then result in it rolling back down to the fairway. It is better to hit the ball slightly long on this shot rather than short.
If you are closer to the false front or you do finish at the bottom of the slope because your ball has rolled back down it, you now have two options. Your first option is to play a running shot up the slope to the top with a very straight faced club. Try with your 4 iron or your hybrid equivalent. The shot will not lift very high from the surface at all and will look very similar to a putt. Set up as you would to play a chip shot, with your feet slightly apart, ball in the middle of your stance, arms relaxed so you hold lower down on the handle and work on playing the shot with a really straight left shoulder, left hand, and club head all in line. This will get the ball running up the slope to the top where the flatter putting surface is.
Your other option is to play a high shot that flies completely over the slope and lands on the flat surface of the green. Use a lofted club for this, a sand iron or pitching wedge, but your choice of lofted club here will depend on how big the slope is and therefore how far you need to hit the ball. Make sure you choose a club that will produce a high shot with enough distance to clear the slope and land beyond it. The advice here would be to hit 6-10 shots at the range or practice ground, with your sand iron just swinging to waist height on both your backswing and follow through, with a steady pace and playing a nice, high shot. Notice how far on average the balls travel before they bounce and also finish, and then make a note of this distance.
Now play 6-10 shots with your sand iron swinging to where you feel shoulder height is on both the backswing and follow through, again with a steady pace and note down the average distance these balls have travelled to their bounce point and finish point.
Finally, do the same for a full swing and full follow through with a steady pace and again, after 6-10 good shots, note the average distance for bounce and finish. You should notice that the three different swing positions give three different bounce distances and three different total distances. Do the same exercise and three swing positions with your pitching wedge as well, to give you more bounce and finish options when you are out on the course.
Once you have this information written down, take it out with you on to the course when you play. When faced with the false front green you can notice the distance you need to clear the slope and land over it and then take out your bounce and finish chart that you created in practice, to help you make the correct decision on how to play the shot over the slope. But remember, look at the bounce distance not the finish distance. You need to land the ball over the slope before it bounces, otherwise you will be watching the ball roll all the way back down again!