Club Selection On The Golf Course (Part 1)

Club Selection for Approach Shots

Most amateur golfers make poor club selection choices out on the golf course and it can cost them handfuls of shots each round.

In this 2-part guide, we’ll look at some simple club selection tips for approach shots and par 3 tee shots.

In the video below, I walk through an approach shot into a typical green. The pin is located towards the front of green and is about 140 yards away. It’s quite a big green, about 40 yards from front to back.

Most golfers would be able to see that the flag is at the front and play for that distance (so they’ll take a club that they know they’re capable of hitting about 140 yards or so).

But I’d like to show you why I think this is a poor shot selection, even for lower handicap players. See the video below:

Video Summary For Club Selection (Part 1)

  • The front of this green is quite narrow (about 10 yds). There’s a deep bunker front-left and quite a deep gully that slopes back into the fairway on the front-right.
  • Taking on a 140 yard shot (let’s say it’s an 8-iron) means we have a small, 10 paces wide landing area with quite severe danger left and right if our shot is slightly off line. Yet this is the shot and club most club golfers will opt for.
  • If instead you took a 7-iron, aiming to be deliberately long of the pin, there’s a much bigger landing area because the green opens out.
  • Taking it a step further however, the green is also long enough allow us to hit a 6-iron. In this example, the green is at its widest and offers the biggest landing area at the back (some 30 paces wide). Not only that, there’s very little trouble left and right because you’ve taken enough club to carry the hazards should you hit your shot off line.
  • On average, playing towards the back of the green means you’ll hit more greens and face less severe penalties should you miss the green. Yes, there are exceptions, but stick to this strategy over the course of a season and watch it bring your handicap down.
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