Par fives offer golfers a big opportunity to succeed

By Sean Anderson

The par five is one of the most high-risk, high-reward holes in golf. These are holes that can either add or subtract to your scorecard in a big way.

Junior Jenny Niemiec of women’s golf and sophomore Nick Huggins of men’s golf both have different mindsets and approach par fives differently.

Niemiec said even though par fives are the longest holes on the course, you don’t always have to use your driver and try to hit it as hard as you can.

“It depends on the hole,” Niemiec said. “If it is reachable in two I will use my driver, but if there are hazards that are reachable, I might not use my driver. If it is harder to reach the green in two then I usually don’t go for it, like if there is water surrounding the hole or if the coach tells me to lay it up. Most of the time, I do end up going for par fives in two because those are the holes I usually end up making a lot of strokes on.”

Huggins said amateurs need to be fearless on those holes rather than just laying up all the time. They should be more like professionals when it comes to being aggressive.

“I feel the biggest mistake I see in amateurs is that they are not being aggressive enough on par 5s,” Huggins said. “I feel a lot of people are not being aggressive with them, they are three-shot holes. Tiger Woods’ success is on par 5s; that’s where he wins the golf tournaments and where a lot of tournaments are won.”

The problem women have on the long hole is going for the green when they don’t have the distance to make it, said Niemiec.

“I would say the biggest mistake for girls on par 5s is going for the green in two when there is more risk than reward,” Niemiec said. “I would say for a lot of girls it is hard for them to reach the green in two. Also, sometimes girls don’t go for greens in two when they should be going for it.”

Huggins said he always remains aggressive with the holes; he rarely wants to ever lay up or not hit his driver on the tee.

“I always want to hit my driver on par 5s,” Huggins said. “[The] only time I would not want to hit my driver is when there is wind in my face or [if] there is a lot of danger off the tee. There I would hit a club I am accurate with. I like being aggressive off the tee and going for the green in two. They are three shot holes and where you can gain strokes on the field.”