The one word I think best describes the faults of the average golfer is over extending. If there is a secret to golf, it is to know one's capabilities. My advice is never to overextend even if a particular hole or situation seems completely hopeless. Play within yourself, and you will be surprised how often the cup seems to come to you.
Let us say you have a fairly long approach shot. Nine times out of 10, you are much better off playing for the middle of the green instead of for the flag. Whenever you sit down after a round and review it hole by hole, you will find that when you went for the flag, you usually missed the green entirely or ended up in a sand trap. How much wiser it is to give yourself a larger target to hit: the whole green. And really, even on that exceptional occasion when you play a fairly long approach right on the line to the pin, what do you gain? Generally, you still end up just about as many feet from the cup as you do when you succeed in hitting the area around the center of the green. Concentrate on hitting the green. The cup will come to you.
from CARY MIDDLECOFF, Kiamesha Lake, N.Y.
A 20-foot putt is a 20-foot putt. It is no longer from the center of the green than from a point on the line of the "perfect approach." It is no harder to hole
NEXT WEEK: JOHN BATTINI ON WRIST PUTTING