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What Is An Approach Shot? Here's What You Need to Know

Chip shot. Short game. Approach shot.

Do you know the jargon? As you golf more and more, it's likely that you'll learn it as you try to improve various aspects of your technique.

One of the most important golf shots to nail: your approach shot. Unsure what that means, or how to improve your golf approach shot?

Keep reading.

What Is a Golf Approach Shot?

First, let's talk about the layout of the course. The fairway is the short grass that makes up the majority of the hole. The rough is the tall grass around the edges of the course. The green is that small circle of light green grass surrounding the hole.

Your approach shot is when you hit the ball with the intention of landing it into the green, usually on shot 3 or 4.

This terminology is only used on courses with a par more than 3, though. This is because on par 3 courses, it's likely that you'll make it into the green on your tee shot. At least, let's hope you do!

Finding Your Approach Shot

The key to finding your approach shot is to note how strong you plan to hit the ball. Approach shots, unlike your putt, are taken with a full swing of your club.

Typically, they're from about 100 yards away. Chip shots from 20 to 30 yards away aren't usually referred to as approach shots in modern golf terminology.

That hasn't always been the case, however. Until the early 1900's, your approach shot was literally any shot that put you onto the green, regardless of distance or stroke. Today, though, golfers are more discerning when it comes to shot lingo.

How to Nail Your Approach

There are two big ways to nail your approach every time: perfecting your drive and knowing the hole.

Perfect Your Drive

In order to nail your approach, you need to put yourself in the game. You should be approaching your second shot on a par 4 hole and by your third shot on a par 5 hole.

In order to set yourself up to stay under par, your drive needs to carry you most of the way. Don't concern yourself with getting far on your drive; just try to stay straight. The last thing you want is to take your approach shot from the rough.

Good drives make for good approaches.

Know the Hole

The best golfers study the holes before they play them. That's because each hole is designed differently, of course. And with different holes come different approaches.

It's not uncommon to hear a golfer refer to a hole's approach as being narrow or wide. Knowing this ahead of time gives you a big advantage. When you know what's coming up, you can plan your drive and fairway shots accordingly.

Take a minute or two to check out the hole's approach before you start playing.

Find Your Dream Golf Club at Stone Creek

The best place to work on your golf approach shot? On the course, of course. Sure, you can practice at home, but nothing improves a skill like practice in the field. Contact Stone Creek to schedule a tee time today or get one-on-one lessons with one of our golf pros!

Related: How to Drive a Golf Ball