Aiming for the back of the green

Jon, when you recommend using the back yardage of a green for club selection on approaches, are you basing it on carry or total distance?

I make my club selection based on where I want the ball to land (i.e., based on carry), and I usually use the middle yardage for this figuring that if I hit the ball well, it’ll land in the middle and roll towards the back, and if I don’t hit it well, it will land on the front and roll towards the middle, or at least hopefully land short and roll to the front.

Is this basically the same strategy, or are you actually recommending choosing a club based on landing at the back of the green?


My thought is always total distance should be to the back of the green.

I think the overall strategy and reasoning behind the “back of the green” yardage is most people will hit a 7 iron 180 yards once and then say “well, I hit my 7 iron 180 yards!” and then will hit a 7 iron to a front pin that’s 180 yards away and be surprised when it comes up short…

The “aim to the back of the green” is just a shortcut around knowing your actual dispersion patterns and where you are likely to hit a golf ball… most peoples default for distance is the farthest they CAN hit the club, not what they usually hit the club… the best thing to do is know you hit a 7 iron 165-180 yards and if it’s a front pin at 165, hit a 7 iron and try to flush it. Worst case, you are 15 yards past the pin, but most likely you are 5 yards away…


Kudos to you Craigers. (I have always wanted to say that) I agree that your “back of the green” strategy is aimed if you don’t know your yardages. I played this one time and then modified it. I try to aim to the fat part of the green and add 5-10 yards. This number is totally dependent on how large the green is.


That’s why I chose the name!

I was clubbing for the back of the green for a while and then started hitting everything to the back of the green. So now I feel like I’m hitting my clubs true distances and no longer aim for the back of the green all the time.


Do you guys think your on course swing is same as your simulator swing? If not, How do you know carry distances?

How do you make adjustments, if any, for rough or wind or uneven stances?

This season i have been trying carry to middle of green no matter how front the pin location is. Despite this, i am short a surprising number of times. I have checked my laser with gps and I’m pretty sure of what measured distance to flag is. I have been on simulators figuring distance pretty regularly.

So now i think my on course swing isn’t same as my simulator swing, which is how I determined carry distances.

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Q, could it be hitting off mats & perfect conditions? The no pressure of a “real” round? 0 influence from weather?


Spud’s got a point. What’s your lie when you’re making simulator hits? IME, mats lie. A lot. (Which is where this new Divot Board comes in…)

Also, what sim are you using? Again IME, with my SC200, the only number I give great credence to, is the ball speed. The clubhead speed is sort of on, but the carry is totally inferred from the prior two measured quantities. Which, if you hit the ball really friggin’ high like I do, can introduce some artifacts to the data. Of course, if you’re hitting in front of a GC Quad or Trackman, ignore all that…

As far as wind goes, the rule of thumb I’ve been told is, Headwinds take 1% off carry distance per 1 MPH of wind speed. Tailwinds, add 0.75% per MPH. And do trig for off-angle wind, LOL. So, you carry your 5I 180 yds, let’s say. But you’re playing into a 10 MPH wind. (Which you know from observations in nature like the following:

You now carry that 5I 90% of 180, or 162.


Forgot where I read this, golfers tend to remember the "better " shots than their true average.
Hence, total yardage to the back of the green will leave more room for error.