How to Survive an Island Green: Your Ticket to a Birdie Paradise

Friday May 13th, 2016
Darren Robinson

​It can play as short as a wedge, but the par-3 17th on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass will have pros shaking in their FootJoys at the Players Championship this month. Here's how you can stay high and dry the next time you confront an island green.

1. KNOW YOUR NUMBER

AND NOT JUST THE ONE TO THE FLAGSTICK

Picking the distance to the hole isn't enough—you need to know the number to the back and front edges if you want to pull the correct club. Take an iron that lets you hit the green even if you don't pure it, but that won't overshoot the green if you hit it flush.—Anne Cain

2. PICTURE A CLEAR PATH

WATER? WHAT WATER?

Worrying too much about the agua is a source of tension on island holes. To relax, imagine that all that blue stuff is merely short rough. And focus on the wind's strength and direction. With such a small target (and such a huge penalty if you miss), gusts will impact your ball flight. Choose a landing spot wisely.—Shawn Humphries

MORE: 9 Numbers to Know About the Island Green at TPC Sawgrass

3. FORGET THE FLAG

IT'S A SUCKER PIN

According to stats wiz Mark Broadie, bogey golfers can expect to hit an island green just 53 percent of the time. To up your odds, aim at the center of the green, which provides the most cushion if you push or pull your shot. The flag is bait. Don't take it!—Todd Sones

FINE TUNING

Move the ball slightly back in your stance and add some swing juice. More backspin will keep your ball from rolling off the back.

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