Putt For Dough (Or the Claret Jug!)
What an exciting finish to the final major championship of this year. The whole week was an amazing spectacle and it’s always an extra special event when it’s held at the home of golf. There’s something about an Open at St. Andrews that just hits differently.
Well played to Cameron Smith, he played very steady all week. Nicely navigating his way around the treacherous pot bunkers and holing the world in the final round! If there was ever an example of how important putting is, that was it! It transformed his back nine and ultimately got his hands on the jug as a result of a hot putter!
The Valley of Sin!
It was amazing to watch the worlds best players so close and observe how they practice and prepare. The course has played so firm and fast this year compared to previous Open Championships, so it was really interesting to see some of their club selection, especially around the greens!
Most amateurs tend to favour loft over running the ball along the ground and quite often this is their downfall. The swales and undulation of the greens at St Andrews make it so difficult to land the ball in exact spots and get it to stop quickly. Even more so with the conditions this week, the greens were so hard, it was tough to get the spin!
I sat up in the 18th grandstand and watched each group finish their practice round, where every player carefully took their time to play various shots from the valley of sin! If you have never been to St. Andrews it’s difficult to describe quite how steep the valley of sin is. You just can’t see it on the TV! It has provided some legendary moments in golfing history. Constantina Rocca in 1995 comes to mind!
Shot Selection is crucial
Nearly all the players used a variety of clubs to try and get it close, from putters, to long irons to 3 woods. Even though the club choice was different, one thing that was consistent with each group was the style of shot they were trying to execute. Each player made sure they kept the ball low and ran it up the valley rather than playing the high lofted flopper. Way less risk and even a bad bump and run is more likely to be closer than a bad lofted pitch. Although, it is the valley of sin, anything can happen as we have seen so many times before!
Something to think about next time your course is playing fast and bouncy. Get the ball on the ground as soon as you can. Reduce your risk and play some bump and runs. If you’re not sure how, check out one of our previous posts ‘short game secret weapon’ for step by step instructions.