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Posted: July 6, 2013 4:28 p.m.

Manage your game more effectively

Constantly watching golfers playing shots that they either can’t do or playing the wrong type of shot for the situation is frustrating.

In this column, I will try to get many of you to manage your game more effectively in order to make fewer mental mistakes.

When I teach, one of the first questions I ask is, "What is your favorite distance to hit a shot?"

I usually get the dreaded blank stare, and I can tell they have no idea what I’m asking, so I elaborate.

I ask it a little differently, "If I was going to bet you $100 to hit the green, what distance would you pick?"

After much consideration, I usually get an answer ranging from 80-120 yards.

Why is that, you ask?

Because most people are terrible with short shots.

However, time and time again, players try to leave themselves with 30- to 60-yard shots that they don’t feel comfortable making.

A good friend of mine is a caddy on the PGA tour and he used to caddy for a player who would go ballistic if he was ever left with anything inside 80 yards. He’s a tour player who makes his living playing golf and doesn’t want those short shots. But yet most of you try to get as close as possible without thinking about the next shot.

When deciding what shot to play, think about what result the chosen shot will have. How many yards will it leave you and are you comfortable with that distance?

Just because you have a driver in your bag doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for every hole.

I generally suggest a player choose a club that will leave him/her with his/her comfortable distance for the upcoming shot. For me, I love an 85-yard shot, so I try to leave myself that distance as often as possible.

I know that from 85 yards, I’m going to give myself an opportunity to make a birdie and at worst, take bogey out of the equation.

So the next time you’re out playing, think about the result of your club choice before you hit your shot. I promise it will lead to smarter decisions and result in lower scores.

Bryan Raines is the golf professional at Ashton Hills Golf Course and can be reached at braines@pga.com.

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