How to Survive an Island Green

Your goal on an island green is always to make a par. Even the best players in the world don’t try to birdie these holes. The risk is too great. Study the green and determine exactly where you can safely miss if you don’t hit a perfect shot. On the island green fifth hole at Grand Cypress, the front and left sides of the green are simply tongues of turf protruding into the water—these areas are never your target. Instead, the right side and back of the green, which are both protected by bunkers, should serve as your bailout areas.

For a left-side pin placement, aim for the right half of the green—a good shot will leave you with a makeable two-putt, a miss left will put you closer to the hole, and a miss right will put you in the bunker. For a front pin placement, aim for the center of the green and take enough club to put your ball on the back two-thirds of the green—at Grand Cypress this are a is 15 yards wider than the front.

If the wind is in your face, take at least one extra club. If the wind is at your back, stick with the club you’ve chosen for the distance For a left-to-right wind, play the shot several yards left of the target you’ve determined, and for a right-to-left wind, do the opposite. But never, ever aim at the water.

After you determine exactly where you want to aim and where you can miss, take enough club and commit to the shot. By narrowing your focus to the safe spots on the green, you prevent your mind from being overwhelmed by the potential danger. In effect, you’ve created an island green within the island green.

Isle be damned
If extreme water torture is your thing, these island greens have you covered.

Par-3 17th, PGA West, Stadium Course
56150 PGA Blvd., La Quinta, Calif. 92253
Par-5 15th, TPC of Scottsdale, Stadium Course
17020 N. Hayden Road, Scottsdale, Ariz. 85255
Par-3 14th, Coeur d’Alene Resort
900 S. Floating Green Drive, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. 83814
Par-3 17th, TPC at Sawgrass, Stadium Course
110 TPC Blvd., Ponte Vedra, Fla. 32082

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