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The Most Important Shot In Golf

Every morning, Monday to Friday, I buckle myself into the driver`s seat of my car and plug in my XM Radio in order to listen to Peter Kessler on PureGolf on XM 146. Kessler`s guests include a number of golf writers and commentators, some storied (and not so storied players), sports psychologists and a myriad of golf instructors. So may golf teachers, so little time.

Each week, upwards of 8 of the Top 100 teachers as determined by Golf Digest or Golf Magazine get on the phone with Peter and share their personal philosophies on the full swing, the half swing, the swing arc, the putting arc, follow-through, taking the club back, ball position and rhythm. Occasionally he`ll have two teachers on back to back who contradict one another. Regardless of the teacher, or the philosophy though, Kessler has some anecdote about his own game to relate to any given tip. He moans about his game and it`s no wonder since he has probably received more instruction than and other single golfer in history and has too many mechanics going through his head.

This brings me to the best piece of advice I heard all season long. I don`t remember who said it but, simply stated, the most important shot in golf is the third shot. On a well played par four, the third shot could be a putt for birdie. On a par five, the third shot can put you in a prime position for a birdie opportunity or, at least, set you up for an easy par. When hitting wayward shots, your third stroke can help you save par or at least put you in a position for nothing worse than a bogie. Concentrate on that third shot and you might have the round of the season.

I suggest trying to play a round where most of your weight is on the third shot. It will take pressure off your tee shot and help you relax. Does that make sense to you? It makes a boatload of sense to me.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

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