Playing shots over water can be one on the most nerve racking shots in golf. There are many par-3, par-4 and par-5 holes around the world which require a shot over water, without an option to play to either side.
Today, we are looking at par-3 holes with shots that carry over water and these can be very frustrating and result in several lost balls if not played in the correct manner.
Whether the water is a lake or the ocean, playing a shot across water to a green can be very daunting and you may be tempted to try and hit the ball in the direction which carries it over the least amount of water.
However, this usually means the ball will end up off the green and in some other kind of trouble, such as a bunker or rough. The key to playing a shot over water is to commit to playing the shot which will take the ball to the green when hit straight.
If you aim where a straight shot cannot end up in trouble, and you do not catch the ball perfectly and it swings right to left for example, you will still clear the water unless it is a complete mishit.
If you think the hole needs a draw and you usually fade the ball, do not attempt to play the shot. Stick with your usual ball flight and do not try something new. However, as mentioned above, never aim in the direction which will see a straight ball flight get you in trouble. You may usually swing the ball from left right for example but you can guarantee you will hit it straight when water is involved.
When making your swing, you will be tempted to hit the ball as hard as you can as a way of making sure it clears the water and lands safely on the other side. Do not be tempted to do this.
Instead, swing nice and easy and even think about playing the shot at 80% if it will help you to keep a smooth, relaxed swing. The key here is to take an extra club and to swing safe in the knowledge you still have the distance even though you are taking a little off the shot.
When selecting your target, think about the green like a dart or archery board and aim for the bullseye. The more you can narrow down your target area, the better chance you have of making a successful shot and sending the ball over the water and on to the green.
It does not matter if the target point is the dead centre of the green or the flag, have a precise target in mind and aim for it because by doing this, anything which drifts slightly away is still going to carry the water and land on the putting surface.
If you play the shot hoping just to get on the green, thinking anywhere will do, you are more likely to see the shot drift away from the green completely and into danger.