El Paso Texas Golf

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Val D'Souza...Butterfield Trail Golf Club


By: Val D’Souza

Head Golf Professional, Butterfield Trail Golf Club 

Throughout my career I have listened to golfers speak to me about their problems with certain situations or holes on the golf course that seem to re-occur in all their rounds. After listening to each member explain the holes and their tendencies, I have noticed a common thought process repeating itself. Most of today’s best golf course designers set out to do one thing when designing a new and challenging course. MAKE GOLFERS THINK TOO MUCH. The more decisions we have, the more anxiety builds within us before we try to execute a shot. When we finally get over the ball to hit a shot, we have so much tension in our shoulders, arms, wrists and hands that the swing is short and quick which results in a poor shot. I hope the following discussion pertaining to a decision makers hole here at Butterfield Trail Golf Club will help you play this hole better and apply the philosophy throughout your game to become a better manager of the course.

                The hole creating the most problems for members at Butterfield Trail due to all the decisions being made is number 18. The tee shot challenges golfers to make a decision of whether to lay up or challenge the narrow part of the fairway where you can easily reach the green in two shots. With the wind in your face, play this hole by making LOW PRESSURE DECISIONS. Knowing that your best tee shot into the narrow opening of the fairway still leaves you a 200+ yard shot over the water into the same wind, what real advantage does driver off the tee give you. Most golfers never let the desert, wind or brutal sand traps to the right of the fairway ever get out of their mind long enough to produce confident swing with driver here. Simply take the desert, water and bunkers out of play with a club that you know you will hit well, as long as the best shot you will hit ends up short of the desert where the fairway turns in from the left. Furthermore, if you can’t foresee yourself hitting the second shot on the green, with no anxiety about the water short and right of the green, why hit a driver in the first place?

For those that can comfortably play driver into the fairway and go for the green in two, again make a LOW PRESSURE DECISION when hitting the approach shot. Select the club that comfortably allows you to reach the middle of the green. When you select your target, understand that the brisk winds of El Paso are going to move the ball (predominantly left to right). Setup and “LOOK” at a point left of the green. This philosophy allows a good shot to end up in the left fringe or just on the green, a pushed shot ends up on the green or pitching for eagle from the right side of the green and a pulled shot to be stood up by the wind and fall just left the of the green where you will pitch for eagle.

Those of you that lay up off the tee, must also continue to make LOW PRESSURE DECISIONS. I see too many golfers attempt to hit a layup shot way down the fairway and end up in a hazard or rough. Again remembering the normal wind conditions, setup and look at a point left of the cart path where the water cuts in front of the green. This will allow the wind to keep every kind of shot you can hit in the fairway. Remember when laying up, pick a specific target and make sure that you are not taking any risks that creates anxiety which results in muscle tension. In the case of number 18, the fairway begins to narrow approximately 100 yards from the green, therefore select a club that will not get closer to the green than 100 yards. Remember if you are nervous about executing a lay up shot, then you need to pick a new one.

I hope that all of you will be able to understand and feel how much more enjoyable playing golf will become by making LOW PRESSURE DECISIONS. Proof of this philosophy occurs during those bad rounds when you loose concern for where the ball ends up. You simply get over the ball, swing freely and surprise yourself with how simple it was to hit a good shot. Human nature is our own worst enemy in this game when we pressure ourselves into perfection with every shot by the decisions we make. In everything else we do in life, we only take risks that provide great rewards for a small price to pay if the risk fails. So why do we take risks on the course that have a far greater penalty for failure than reward for a successful shot? MAKE LOW PRESSURE DECISIONS AND SEE YOUR SCORE DROP AND YOUR ENJOYMENT OF THE GAME RISE.