How to Attack the Greens

I’m no dummy; I know people love the long ball.  But what if you aren’t that long?  You can still post good scores, if you know how to do it.  We’ll break it down by the different pars you’ll typically see.


Par Three’s

This one’s the most straight-forward.  The biggest “trick” is to use enough club.  Not “my career long with an 8 iron is 155 yards… so I’m gonna go with that” type of stuff.  Go to a range or simulator/launch monitor and find out EXACTLY what your carry distance with each club is.  With that knowledge, you can then go after greens.  As you improve, you can go from attacking greens to attacking flags.

Par Four’s

This one is “facepalm yourself with that ‘why didn’t I think of that?’ feeling”.  Because I love the pic:

Even in the 23rd century, people hate it when they slice it OB right.

Even in the 23rd century, people hate it when they slice it OB.

There’s actually two ways to do this:

  1. Cut the hole in half.  If it’s a 400 yard hole, that’s 200 yards a shot.  Maybe that’s two easy 3w shots, or two smooth 4h/3i/whatever shots.  Shot in the fairway, shot in the green.  Boom.
  2. Get yourself to your most comfortable distance.  If, for example, you’re comfortable with a 6 iron from 150 yards, figure out what you need to do to get yourself into that position.

No half-wedges, no stuck in-between distance… you’re in your wheelehouse, which means a comfortable attack on the green.  If you have to lay up, that’s OK… Zach Johnson won the Master’s by laying up on all par fives.


Par Fives

Similar to the Par 4 strategy, cut the hole into thirds.  If it’s a 450 yard par 5, that’s 150 yards a shot.  Maybe that’s a smooth 6… do that three times and you’re on the green, putting for birdie.

If it’s slightly longer than that, like 500 yards, it’s no that more of a PITA to figure out.  So your go-to shot is the 150 yard 6 iron… figure out the distance you need to place your tee shot that gives you 300 yards left.  Maybe that’s a 200 yard 3w shot.  Whatever it is, use your tee shot to get you to 300 yards, which can then be split in half by two smooth 6 iron shots.

Bombing drives is fun, and far be it from me to discourage people from having fun on the course.  But if you’re looking to make- or need to make- a score, using a little “golf math” can go a long ways to making that happen.


I can't stress this enough: if you want to help yourself play better golf, you HAVE to know how far, on average, you carry each club in the bag.  At the very least, your irons and wedges.

Luckily, I have my (interactive) Essential On-Course Field Guide to help you out with that!

About the Author

Justin Blair is the founder of Green Lantern Golf. When he isn't bringing his 10+ years of excellent craftsmanship experience to golf club fitting, building, and repair, he's geeking out about Star Wars (he's watched them all about 8,437 times!) and things like the MCU and LOTR, he's drinking mead and craft brews. If you wanna know more, check out my About Page!