The story starts last week when I played the Siam Country Club, Plantation Course. Opened only 2 weeks earlier, this fabulous Schmidt-Curley design will set everyone who plays there back about 10 stokes off their handicap. It is easily the most difficult Pattaya golf course, surpassing both St. Andrews Golf Club and Pattana Golf Club for top honors.
After fumbling around for the front nine I realized Lee Schmidt had only one design trick up his sleeve when he laid out this course; namely elevated crowned fast greens with shaved fringes. This design feature can be very frustrating when you hit an otherwise excellent approach shot into the green and wind up some 20 yards below the bole in a deep catchment area.
On the back nine I wised up and called into action my trusted Texas Wedge on every hole; even as far as 40 feet off the greens. This shot was popularized by Ben Hogan when Texas golf courses had a reputation for very hard fairways, and I used the same principle. When my approach shots stopped short of the greens, my putter was the better choice for the next shot because of shortness of the grass on the collar.
If anyone watches the pros play links golf you will see them using their putters from just off the green. I copied them and hit my Texas Wedge whenever I could. It is a simple, no risk shot that often lands closer than a chip. The old adage of a bad putt being better than a bad chip held true, and my score on the back nine being six shots better than the front nine proved the point!
The next time you are golfing in Thailand and having difficulty chipping or playing on a very challenging course, try the Texas Wedge, you will be amazed at the benefits!
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