Mastering fairway play

By: Shawn Kelly, Journal Golf Columnist
-A +A
OK, so you’ve read last week’s column and now you’ve beat your Titleist successfully off the tee on a par five hole and it’s waaay out there sitting up in the middle of the fairway! Your golf buddies are all yelling “You da man” and admiring your new large headed driver. It’s a beautiful day, all is right with God’s world and you’re brimming with confidence as you leave the tee box. Savor that feeling and use that positive energy as you advance down the fairway. Be careful not to confuse confidence with cockiness however. You now need to regroup and get back into your normal pre-shot routine and avoid carelessness as you prepare for your upcoming shots. In fairway play keep in mind that our most effective shots will rarely be the most glamorous. New equipment options are making fairway shots considerably easier for all of us. I know many players who have replaced their long irons with either “weak lofted” fairway woods or even the newer hybrid rescue woods. Difficulties inherent with long irons are magnified with swing flaws or low clubhead speed. The new equipment designs make it so much easier to get the ball up and alleviate much of the margin of error that goes with the long irons. Down the fairway, our task is to take double-bogey, out-of-bounds and water hazards out of the picture because you’ve got a better chance of making par from the fairway than from the rough. When you do happen to find the cabbage, don’t panic or get down on yourself. You gotta forget about the heroics, just use your wedge and get the ball back in play. In some cases you may not need to hit fairway woods on long holes at all. As an example, hole number 15 here at The Ridge is a par five hole, well over 500 yards long and plays downhill. With a decent drive an average mid-handicapper can hit his second shot with a five or six iron to the 150 yardage mark and from there, knock a seven iron onto the green in regulation. That third shot should be played to the right side of the green because the terrain slopes to the left and the ball will run to the center of the green. Sounds easy, huh? Well some things can help make it simpler. Golf club manufacturers spend millions of research and development dollars crafting equipment that make getting from point A to point B on the fairway easier, and it works. It makes sense to take advantage of the technology and make the game more fun. Golf course knowledge and management are critical. But, the biggest key is an honest appraisal of your abilities and knowing your own game well because when you are in doubt, you need to play the shot that you’re certain you’ve got in your bag. Junior Camps Two-day junior camps are coming up! They will be July 15-16 and August 5-6 from 9 a.m. till noon, for ages 8 to 17. No clubs or experience are needed. FUNdamentals of the swing, short game and putting will be covered. There’ll be games and skills contests to enrich each attendee’s experience. Cost is $50.00 for Ridge Junior Club members, $60.00 for non-members per camp. To sign up call the golf shop at (530) 888-7888.