Saving Par in Paradise

In Play, Puerto Vallarta by Suzanne Koch

Handling golf’s toughest challenges in Mexico.

Golf in Mexico has never been better; the country’s mountains, seaside beauty and foliage provide for some unforgettable vistas. However, when teeing up you must put the visuals aside and focus on conquering its unique challenges. Here, Tom Stickney, Director of Instruction at The Golf Academy at Punta Mita and Golf Magazine’s Top 100 Instructor since 2005, shares his best tips and tricks for mastering Mexico’s most difficult shots.

Long Par 3 Over Water

Nothing is worse for the average player than a long, forced carry over water, but with the proper course management, you can easily make par.

  • Take enough club to carry the ball to the middle portion of the green since the trouble is usually in the front
  • Tee the ball up slightly more than normal for a longer carry
  • Focus on transitional tempo so you can hit the ball more solidly

Tee Shot With Water Down One Side

We all know that water attracts golf balls so adjust your tee box strategy for less penalty shots off the tee.

  • Tee the ball up on the side of the trouble you are trying to avoid and aim away from it
  • Focus on your ball’s starting direction by picking a spot just in front of the ball and making sure you begin the ball over that spot for success
  • Make your last look where you want the ball to end up, not where you don’t want it to go

Mastering Long Sloping Putts

Mexico’s topography makes putting even tougher by giving us big breaking putts, however altering your aim will stop those dreaded three putts.

  • Understand the correlation between line and speed. The softer you hit the ball, the more the ball will be affected by the slope
  • Always play more break than you need. You want putts dying towards the hole, not rolling away from it
  • Let your shoulders drive your arms and club, allowing impact alignment to remain solid post-impact

Photo: Pacifico course, 18th hole

This article originally appeared in the 2019 Spring/Summer season issue of InMexico Magazine.

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