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4 Tips That Will Immediately Improve Your Approach Shots

As you know, golf consists of four categories: driving, approaches, short-game shots, and putting. Which one do you think affects your score the most?

Chances are you said driving or putting. But that would be wrong.

It's actually approach shots.

Approaches account for 40% of the scoring advantage among pros on the PGA Tour.

So how do you improve your approach shot and tee shot? In this guide, we have four tips that will have you doing exactly that.

What is an Approach Shot?

An approach shot is the broadest of golf categories. It includes all shots that start at least 100 yards from the hole. This doesn't include tee shots on Par-4 and -5's.

In general, it's the second and third shots from the fairway in a Par-4 and -5. Par-3's don't usually use an approach shot because you're expected to hit the green off your tee shot. In a technical sense, the tee shot of a Par-3 is an "approach."

An alternate definition is the part of the course where the fairway runs up to the putting green.

1. Find the Fairway From Your Tee Shot

You need to know how far you consistently hit the ball with your driver. Once you get a regular range, pick a specific target on the fairway and aim for it from your tee shot.

Pick the right club. There are many hybrid drivers designed for finding the fairway. This means your swing doesn't have to be perfect, because the club is doing most of the work.

Don't overshoot it, but don't play it too safe either. Aim for accuracy, not distance. It's much easier to play your second shot 150 yards back on the fairway than from 120 yards out in the rough.

2. Hitting the Green From 200 Yards

Step 1 - don't panic. Be realistic about your abilities and don't go for a miracle shot that lands you in a water hazard or off the course. With a long approach, you want to be more conservative and aim toward the fattest part of the green.

Knowing your golf limits will take the pressure off and you'll be more relaxed in your swing. You may have a long putt, but you'll overcome that.

3. Hitting the Green From 150 Yards

If you play every weekend, your approach shot will likely be in the 150-200 range. This is also called a mid-range approach.

Like all your fairway shots, make sure you adjust for all variables affecting distance. In most cases, you'll want to club up and swing smoother.

For example, if the distance is 165 yards which is your max 7-iron distance, grab your 6-iron and give it a three-quarters swing. Even the pros don't reach their max distance every time with every club.

Aim for the center of the green, so you don't need to rely on the perfect shot.

4. Hitting the Green From 120 or Fewer Yards

Avoid bunkers, especially if you don't play bunkers well. It makes much more sense to make two long putts then try and hack your way out of a bunker.

On reputable courses, hazards guard greens. Go longer than you need to so you may have to go a club higher than normal.

Pitching wedges have anywhere from 44-48 degrees of loft, which leaves a 30-yard gap until you grab your sand wedge. From 85-120 yards, you'll need to use a partial swing or weaken the lofts on your irons.

Smart Strategies on the Course

Improving your tee shot will help lower your score, but there are intangibles like playing in the morning that help too. You'll also play better on a well-maintained course.

Hampton Golf gives you all the advantages every golfer wants. Allow one of our more than 40 PGA professionals help you with your game. Hampton Golf manages 23 golf courses and facilities throughout the country.

Our team members are dedicated to giving you a premiere golf experience. Check out our club then book your tee time at PipeStone.