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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Raymond Floyd on Understanding Angles

I think that Ray Floyd is one of the most underestimated strategists to have played the game. Here's a short section from his book The Elements of Scoring, where he talks about the importance of understanding angles.
Scorers know the most efficient route to get around a golf course. The key to keeping the ball in play and leaving the easiest possible shot is in understanding angles.

Off the tee, take into account what your shot pattern is, and what side of the fairway it's best to be on. If the trouble is on the left, or you simply want to come into the green from the right, tee up on the left side of the tee. If the situation is the opposite, tee on the right.

Generally, faders and slicers should hit from the right side of the tee, while drawers and hookers should start on the left. The idea is to give your curve the widest sweep possible to get in the fairway.

On par 3s, give yourself the angle that gives you the most landing area on the green. If you're shooting at the pin, in general you should tee the ball up on the side opposite the area of the green where it's cut. The idea is to open up the green, expanding the size of the safe landing area on the putting surface.

Angles are increasingly important the shorter and lower you hit the ball. If you are this kind of player, you can't carry trouble as well and will have to make use of openings between bunkers and hazards to roll up onto the green. Also, because your approach doesn't land as softly and carry as much spin as a player who hits it higher and farther, you need more room to stop the ball. Play your tee shots to create the angle that will give you the most green to shoot to, and try to avoid approaches that force you to carry a bunker to a tightly cut pin. Whenever possible, know where on the green the pin is cut before hitting your tee shot.

The final angles are around the green. Unless you are particularly adept at the quick-stopping lob shot, make an effort to avoid missing the green on the side closest to the pin. This is called "getting shortsided." Favor the wide side, from which the recovery is easier because you have more green to play to. (p52-53)
As you can see, Raymond doesn't mince words; he just lays it out there clearly.

I recommend his book, simply because it's fairly compact and gets right to the point. The paperback is still in print so if you're interested in checking out, here's the link to Ray's book on Amazon. And no, I don't make any money if you order one. I just happen to think it's one of the better strategy books you can get.

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