Where is the NP and LD?

Hi Folks,

When I’m on tour with our fabulous guests, a question I get a lot is: “Where is the nearest to the pin and the longest drive today?“. For every day we play golf I have these two challenges set-up for our golfers to stand a chance to walk away with a memento from the club we are playing at. This competition is both for men and ladies and it’s a really nice way to recognize a great shot.

Pictured here is the 12th hole of Leopard Creek for the Nearest to the pin and also the stunning 18th par five.

Hole 12: (Nearest to the pin) It’s a spectacular tee shot to a green that sits down below. Today it only played about 165m. It protected by two deep bunkers in the front and back. The secret in playing this hole correctly (especially with the left pin placement) is to hit the middle/right part of the green and let the slope steer the ball to the left. If you are short, the same result will pretty much occur. Too long will be a problem as you’ll find yourself in the deep bunker in the back that is not visible from the tee. The green sort of reminds me of the 16th at Augusta where the Sunday pin is always tucked away in the left corner. Any spot hit in the middle of the green will result in a fair birdie opportunity. When you stand on the tee you can see clearly how the green was shaped to make this play a real possibility. There is no need to take on the flag directly when it sits at the left. There is no reward in it and the landing zone is really small. So, stand on the tee and take in all the information you can about the LANDING ZONE and visualize the shot required to put the ball on that spot on the green.

Hole 18: (Longest drive) This tee shot requires a relatively straight shot, but not a long one. It’s a great par five with an island green, so going for it in two is not a need. You can still make a birdie or a comfortable par from just short of the water. The fairway is protected by to bunkers with high-ish lips on the backside. The designer is telling you to not hit a long shot! I hit 4 iron off the tee and a easy six iron today and I just had about 70m for my 3rd. No need for any funny business… Our winner for the day on the longest drive was just past the bunkers. It was a nice fading (away from the bunkers) tee shot that was steered to the right edge of the fairway. He pitched it just short of the left hand bunkers. The reward came from just making an easy swing, play the fade he had all day and let the club and grounds do the rest.

Okay, so you’re asking yourself where I might be going with all this info? As I said in the opening, a lot of golfers always ask me where the longest drive and nearest to the pin holes are for the day. My answer is simple: I’m not telling you! 🙂 Why? Well, if you knew, would you have stood a better chance? Are you saving your good shots for these two holes? Can you control your swing that much for it to have effect only at these holes? NO.

If you did know where the NP & LD was… you’ll probably stand on the tee and give the wanted result, shape of the ball-flight, release of the fairway/green and the elements a bit of a better thought or attention, right? Well, the idea about golf is that we as golf pros would like you to do that on EVERY hole! Please go to every tee and try to hit it the correct length and on the fairway. Also, on every par three, hit it as close as you can! Why do you only want the result on these two holes?

To achieve this simple result is really not hard. Here are your steps:

  1. What do I need off this tee? Driver/ Four-iron / Three-wood / Seven-iron?

  2. On what side is the most danger? Front, back, left or right?

  3. What shape do I need here? (Intermediate to advanced golfers)

  4. Stand behind the ball, see the shot and imagine that perfect floating ball all the way to the target.

  5. Where is my aiming spot. the one right in front of the ball to align myself?

  6. Do your standard routine. If you don’t have one, FIND ONE! It’s SO important.

  7. Have a waggle. Yes, do it. Have a waggle… (it settles those nerves a bit).

  8. Hit it.

You’ll find that more often that not you’ll have good results, or at least better ones. Why? Because you are actually using your mind to program your swing a little better for greater results. You are also in a better mental spot through-out the round. The round becomes more of a challenge than just plonking from one hole to the next. You are staying in the round more and focusing more on the shot you have to hit now, rather than how bad or well it has been going up to now.

This routine and thought process is something we can control as golfers. When the club-face hits the ball, it is over. There is nothing we can do about it. So, set yourself up for better results by controlling your thoughts, visualization, feel and imagine that great result!