While not everyone can hit the golf ball as well as tour players on a regular basis there are still some parts of your game you can control to play more like the pros and lower our scores. Knowing how to plot your way around the golf course and manage your strengths and
weaknesses will help you lower your scores.
Even the pros can make course management mistakes; case in point the Masters a few years ago. Francesco Molinari had one hand on the green jacket till he fired at the pin on 12, hitting it in the water, and making double. Where the “more experienced” Tiger Woods played the more conservative shot to the middle of the green, 2 putts later he was tied for the lead. Here’s a few ways to learn from how Tiger approached his round at the Masters eventually leading to his fifth
Off the Tee - The tee box is the only place you are actually able to control where you hit from, use that to your advantage. For example, those of you that fade the ball, tee the ball up on the right side of the tee box, this will allow you to play your typical shot shape with more room for the ball to work. This will also be the case if there is trouble on one side of the hole. Tee up on the side of trouble and aim away from it. Also on par-3’s, be sure to tee the ball up. This is one of the rare opportunities where you can give yourself a perfect lie, so do so.
Hitting into the green - Know which pins you should attack and which ones you should error
on the side of caution. The biggest mistake I see amateurs make is trying to hit the ball at a tucked or “sucker” pin. Even professionals chose which flags they go after and which ones they play safe to. A 20-30 foot putt from the middle of the green will always be easier than a short
sided chip shot.
Chipping & Putting - The biggest problem I see amateurs make on and around the green is
trying to force the ball into the hole. It’s easy to get greedy and have the mindset that you can make it, when in reality it’s more logical to get the ball in a 3 foot circle. When you get a little greedier than we should the tendency will always be to run the chip or putt by and leave ourselves with a much longer putt. Your goal around the greens is turning 3 shots
Hopefully these course management tips will help all of you lower your scores just by thinking a little differently around the golf course.
Assistant Golf Professional, Country Hills Golf Club
BA Psychology/Sociology University of Calgary