Aim High — by Wally Armstrong

"It's easy to give advice. The hard part is learning to take it ourselves." - Wally Armstrong

Another good tip I give to amateurs who have pretty good aim but always seem to come up short of the pin during their approach shots is to aim at the top of the flagstick. Most players aim just shy of the hole when they pitch in from around a hundred yards, hoping the ball will land on the green and roll toward the hole. They're often afraid of overshooting the pin, so their muscles tense and they come up short. Also, most players have a tendency to look at the cup when hitting toward it, and we naturally tend to aim where our eyes are focused. If players will aim at the top of the flagstick, they have a much better chance of landing one close.

I was playing in the British Senior Player's Championship in London, and I found myself consistently coming up short when pitching from sixty to seventy yards out. I was really getting frustrated with myself. Then on the fifteenth hole, which is a long par-5, I hit a poor second shot and ended up seventy yards from the pin. As I stood assessing the shot, I decided I was not going to leave it short. I thought of the advice I had given so often to my students through the years—aim for the top of the flagstick—and realized I hadn't even been heeding my own counsel. I decided it was about time I took some of my own medicine, so I aimed for the top of the flagstick. The ball flew right into the hole for an eagle!