Gerina Piller - Tee Shot Over Water on Par 3

Gerina Piller shares her strategy when hitting a tee shot over water on a par 3.


We have made it down to the 16th hole at Shady Oaks. Is a par three. And I brought you out here specifically to walk us through what you go through when you go over water.

Well, first off, you got to ignore the water because you want to tell your mind where you want to go. From a caddy player's perspective, we get up here, we want to know about four or five things. You want to know the wind, where it's blowing from.

So we got wind right to left, maybe a little in.

Maybe a little in. What it is the front of the green.

We're guessing--

Or a carry, if that's a carry number.

So 128 to the front, 134 to the pin--

Pin number.

150 to the back edge.

And the back edge. And the reason why we want to know that is because you're not always going to have the perfect number for your perfect club. I have an eight iron here. This is my 145 club. And we're hitting it-- the pin's 134 with a little bit of in. So I might have to take something off or I might have to really crush a nine.

We don't want to crush the nine here, do we?

Being short, you really don't want to be short. So that is why we want to know those numbers, not because, you know, it's not for my own good. It's just because golf is a game of misses.

So I think what you're saying is we've created a picture now where you know what you're going to do here. You're not going to be short.


What's acceptable? Past the flag 20 feet?

Probably a little past it. Obviously, we don't really want to be short. A little wind off the right. So with my kind of shot shape, I want to start a little right of the target, maybe finish add it or a little left. You know, when you don't have the perfect number, this is the kind of things that make the great players great as you're just trying to figure out how to get it as close as possible with still being aggressive but being smart aggressive.

With the off wrench, like a wrench that's not perfectly fitted.

Yes. And so, as I'm talking to my caddie, you know, we'll come up with-- we'll agree on a number it's playing. It's a little off into off the right. We always want to pick a number, we want to land it. So we probably want to land it at it, 134. Little hurt. Probably playing closer to 140. I hit my eight iron 145, so as we talked about on the range, I'm going to grip it a little bit and maybe open the face a tad so it doesn't ride the wind because I have a right to left--

And all these things, they happen really quick for you.

Very quickly.

For you, right? I mean, it all happens. When you get up here, you've already maybe half decided what you're going to hit anyway.

Yes, I have an idea. And I think this is just confirming it, especially when you have a certain number to carry and you have to keep it short of a certain number. So this is kind of all that we consider when choosing a club and hitting on a par 3. And the good thing is, you don't always have a perfect number, so you have to have to compromise. So this is what we're going with.

So walk us through the routine here. Give us an audible on the routine like all the way up to you're going to hit it.

So right now, I'm just really trying to get a good rhythm and really see the shot. Start a little right, and I'm going to try to hold it up just a tad. As I'm standing back here, I want to aim where I want the ball to start and finish. It doesn't matter if it pushes, draws it, pull cuts it. You want to aim where you want the ball to finish.

So I'm going to aim a tad right of it and grip down on it, and just trust it and be aggressive through the ball.

So you gripped down and you landed, it looks like, it was a good shot one. You probably landed at 140, 142. Something like that? That's acceptable, isn't it?

Very acceptable. Especially with the wind, you know, it kind of died down. It's kind of swirling. But that's where you got to miss it. You got to miss it long. You can't afford to miss that short.

Do you want to hit one-- do you want to hit the crazy nine iron to see what happens.


It's a new ball. Pressure's on.

I love it when it's a new ball.


That means I'm going to hit it great because it hasn't been hit before.

That's right.

Will you aim it--

That's another thing--

Now, will you aim it a bit further right to ride?

For sure.


And I'll close the face a little bit to kind of get a little extra distance.

So this is maybe one behind, two behind with three holes to go, you might shoot at that flag.

For sure.

Yeah. If I have to make a run.


So aim a little right. Close the club face a little.

Yeah, that's there, too. So you know, that was more dangerous in your thought, but they probably about as close to one another--


One was more risky, but as it turns out, you probably didn't even need to risk it. The eight worked just as good.


I think there's something to learn there.

A little stress free. You know, this one, there's a lot more pressure because I have to hit it solid. I have to turn it over. And if a gust comes up, you know, I'm in the water.

And it was starting to swirl around a little bit there.

Right. With an eight iron, I know it might be a little long. But if there is a gust, it's going to be perfect. And so that's kind of how you've got to play golf. You've got to play to your misses.

Let's go make a birdie.