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Preston Combs, PGA Teaching Professional

6034 Hollister Avenue

Goleta, CA 93107

E-mail: pcombs@pga.com

 

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SGP, Part 2: Breaking Barriers

August 5, 2019

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The Complexity of an Azalea

 

The agonizing wait. The dramatic crescendo. The timeless heroism. 

 

Each of these emotional snippets define Azalea, the 13th hole at Augusta National Golf Club. These indelible moments on one of golf’s most magnificent arenas has captivated viewing audiences for years. Yet as a teacher, one of the most fascinating times is when the ball is at rest prior to the second shot.

 

Rich Lerner described Azalea as “the most ‘Mastersy’ when caddie and player are deliberating on Sunday afternoon.” I couldn’t agree any more that the Game Planning and process each player goes through is an overlooked component of excellence and one worth discussing. In fact…

 

Game Planning is used on every shot a golfer hits and has been ineffectively described and taught for decades. It’s time to change that.

 

 

Hooked? Good. Keep reading. 

 

Below we have a colorized Google Earth rendering of Azalea (Thanks @Buckley081711 for creating this for me) starting from the 2nd shot marked by the red “X” in the fairway with the traditional Sunday hole location similarly marked on the green. Given these two points and about 220 yards to the pin, the question is invariably whether or not to go for it.

 

 

 

Statistically speaking, the best opportunity to make birdie is definitely going for the green in two. Simply put, the closer a player is to the hole, the better chance they have of holing out in fewer shots. 

 

Yes, it’s that easy. However, when is the right time “go for it” and make birdie? 

 

Insert a concept developed by Lowest Score Wins authors Erik Barzeski and David Wedzik called Decision Mapping. Through Lowest Score Wins classes, we’ll be able to teach players how to better identify effective targets that produce better results, label hazards, and understand Game Planning and risk taking. 

 

Take Azalea for example. If you’re able to best predict your Shot Zone or dispersion pattern, you can pick a target where a less than desirable swing finishes in a spot that still leaves you a good scoring opportunity. Or if you could reliably label hazards and other parts of the course like Rae’s Creek and the back bunkers, you could properly determine your chance of success on a given shot. ​​

 

These concepts in Lowest Score Wins classes are easy to understand and implement in your game. Being able to score better is as straightforward as understanding and capturing that “caddie and player deliberation” that we’ll see this weekend at The Masters. And with this little bit of knowledge, I’m confident that you’ll create a few indelible moments of your own.

 

Thanks for reading and enjoy The 80th Masters. If you want to learn more about Lowest Score Wins classes, you can reach me by clicking on my contact information below. 

 

 

 

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