Struggling with three strikes? Here’s what you should do


Treating your penchant for playing three strokes is more straightforward than you think.

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There is perhaps no affliction more frustrating for golfers than golfers Three mode.

Putting yourself on the green takes a lot of work, and turning a gaze on a bird or equal into a ghost or worse is incredibly frustrating.

Fix your situation is a quick way to improve your overall game – not to mention your sanity. And at a Top 100 Teachers’ Retreat this week at Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona, I asked Coach Jeff Smith, who splits his time between Eagle Springs Golf Club in Colorado and Timbergate Golf Course in Indiana, for his advice.

“The first thing you need to do is find out why you are a three-ranker,” he said. “Is it the fact that you’re missing the shortest, or are you just not letting yourself get an initial position short enough that really helps? Is it the first strike that’s the problem, or the second?”

First strike fix

Smith says players who struggle first may find that they repeatedly hit the ball too hard or too soft, leaving themselves with a long second shot with a higher error rate.

If this sounds like you, says Smith, there are a few things you can look at, including wrist and arm movement, that can have a big impact on your stroke.


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Milton exhaled

Then Smith recommends spending some time putting green targets in targets that aren’t a hole. It is important to choose targets that require different distances and speeds, so it is clear where the lack of distance control lies. Once you have a handle on distance control, the next step is to do it under pressure.

Smith suggests trying to land 10 times in a row within a foot of the designated target. Once you nail that down, you’ll be well on your way to getting rid of these three for good.

Second strike fix

But what if the remote control is generally on point and secondly Bot is causing you grief? Smith has a remedy for that, too.

“The first thing I want to look at: Is the cruise control the right amount? And then, can they Start the ball on the line? Smith said.

Smith suggests that if this is the case for you, the problem may be your reading. Or maybe you didn’t aim right from the start.

Aim and speed control These are essential, especially with shorter putts, and once you’ve isolated your problem, you’ll be ready to start scoring fewer putts and fewer hits.

Need some help honing your aim and aligning the green? Check out the training tool below.

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Jessica Marksbury photographer

As a four-year member of the inaugural class of Columbia golfers, Jessica can beat everyone at the head of the mast. She can outperform them in the office, too, primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, like GOLF’s inaugural Style Issue, which debuted in February 2018. Her original interview series, “A Round With” debuted in November 2015, and has appeared both in the magazine and in video form on

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