The Players Championship is contested every year at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach. While this is one of the biggest golf tournaments on the PGA Tour, there is one hole which always comes to mind when thinking about The Players Championship and that’s the 17th hole.
The 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass is the famous island hole. If you have any interest in watching golf, this is one hole you will have seen. It has the potential to produce a hole in one, just as Sergio Garcia delivered in the 2017 event but it can also cause huge problems to golfers.
You must only be slightly off target on an island hole like the 17th at TPC Sawgrass to find yourself in the water and dropping shots. So, what is the best way to approach and play and island green?
Firstly, you must know your distances from the ball and this doesn’t mean to the flag stick. When playing to an island green, you need to know the distance from your ball to both the front and back of the green. The idea is you can pull a club out of your bag which will allow you to hit the green if you do not strike a pure shot but not over shoot the green if you catch it perfectly.
As an addition to the tip above, try to forget about where the flag is and aim for the middle of the green. As an amateur golfer, can you realistically expect to get your ball within a few feet of the hole? If you are playing well and have the confidence to take it on, then great but if you are feeling apprehensive about the shot, try to forget about the pin.
By aiming for the centre of the green, you give yourself a bigger margin of error should you not quite hit the shot as you would like.
The one thing which makers golfers nervous around an island green is obviously the water. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to remove the water from the hole but that doesn’t mean you must keep thinking about it.
Relax, breathe and visualise what you want to do with your shot. Close your eyes for a few seconds and picture what it is like to make a nice swing and see your ball land on the green. Concentrate on the process of playing the shot, rather than what could go wrong. If you are thinking about your technique and the execution of your shot, you are not thinking about the water.
Finally, make sure you take the conditions into account. It’s all very well aiming for the middle of the green but if there is a strong wind from right to left, your ball could easily be taken away from the target area and towards the edge of the green.
Think about what the wind is doing and if you need to make any adjustments to your line before stepping up to the ball.