Should You Always Aim For The Pin In Golf? - Clarkes Golf

Should You Always Aim For The Pin In Golf?

Everyone knows the aim of golf is to drop the ball as close to the flag as possible.

Or drop it in the hole as soon as possible.

But aiming straight for the pin isn’t always the best policy.

There are certain scenarios where you may miss badly if you aim at the pin.

Why aiming for the pin isn't always the right move

No two holes on a golf course are the same.

Each pin presents its own challenges and conditions.

Your job as the golfer when you approach shots is to read the ground in front of you and make the best shot based on what you can see.

Whether you're playing off the tee, the fairway, or out of the rough.

Sure, if all other elements of the game seem straightforward, it might not be a bad idea to aim at the pin.

But if you feel shooting for the flag comes with some risks you’d rather avoid, here are a few golf tips on how to prevent yourself from landing in a tricky spot.

What to do instead

Aim a few yards short to avoid over-shooting

How many times have you misjudged the distance you can hit the ball?

And how many times have you hit your shot over the flag?

Probably quite a few. Every golfer does it.

If you’re struggling to gauge the distance of the pin, focus on aiming twenty or thirty yards short. Also known as an ‘approach shot.’

This should leave you with an easy chip onto the green.

This is equally true if you haven’t gotten to grips with the distances of your clubs yet.

The last thing you need is to break out a 3-wood and miss when a 9-iron would do the job.

Big green? Aim to the side of the pin.

Small greens can be a golfing nightmare.

They make it feel like we have no room for error.

But the beauty of larger greens is the amount of surface area they provide.

This works even better if the pin is situated on a specific side of the green, rather than in the middle.

For example, if the pin is on the left side of the green, you've got good reason to focus on the right side.

If it's a front pin, aim for the back of the green.

Or if you’re not confident in the accuracy of your shots, you have plenty of space to aim for that will still result in a good golf shot.

However, if you still decide to aim at the pin, you’re seriously increasing the chances that your golf ball will miss the green entirely.

So play it safe and take advantage of the space the green gives you.

Beginner golfers should aim for the fairway.

Shouldn’t we all be aiming for the fairway?

Of course. But the closer we get to the hole, the more tempting it is to go for the pin.

This isn’t always a good idea if you’re a beginner golfer.

One reason is that your power isn’t fully developed yet. You won't be able to reach the same distance as a more experienced golfer.

If you think you can reach the green with a powerful shot or the right golf club, but you’re still over a hundred yards away, you could end up over-exerting yourself.

This usually leads to messing up your golf swing.

The same can be said for accuracy. Beginner golfers are still trying to hit the ball straight.

One long shot in the wrong direction can be a thousand times worse than three shots with the correct aim. 

Even if you're an average golfer, following these tips can be a good way to keep your score down if your game is suffering.

Don’t risk falling into a trap if the pin is far away

Doglegs are designed to be difficult.

Any hole where you’re expected to take the long route is always challenging.

But it can be tempting to try and aim at the pin as the crow flies.

The problem is this area is usually filled with long grass, trees or a water hazard.

And a lot of golfers who take the risk don’t get rewarded for their bravery.

If you’re not confident you can hit the fairway or the green on the other side, forget about it.

Even if you can see the pin.

Follow the fairway to the pin and don’t risk dropping strokes.

Then again, if you’re the adventurous type and you can afford to lose a few balls, you don't need to worry so much.


However you prefer to reach the pin, at Clarkes Golf we’ve got a massive range of exceptional golf clubs, golf balls, accessories and more to keep you at the top of your golf game.

Plus, with our 27-bay driving range in Rainford, we’ve got plenty of space for you to get some good practice before playing even better golf on your next course.