Course Management often gets overlooked on the golf course. A consistent winning strategy is to play the right shot at the right time, and to be aware of your strengths and weaknesses.
- Be aware of the pin and flag
Once you get a look at the upcoming green, take a mental note to scout out the location of the hole and whether or not there are any irregularities. If you generally play at the same course, being aware of each individual layout will help you plan ahead for future games. Pay attention to flag locations and gauge prevailing wind to determine whether you need to adjust any shot plans.
- Aim for an uphill putt
Uphill putts tend to be easier than downhill due to the player’s tendency to decelerate through the ball thinking it will finish past the hole.
- Study the course map
Not only should you have a plan in place for each and every shot, make sure you have a clearly-defined game strategy based on the entire course map. Familiarize yourself with basic golf course architecture as well, to gain a better understanding of course layouts. Just as a tennis player would determine how to make a play based on the turf on the court’s surface, golf architecture can teach you how to play on variations of setups.
- Switch up your clubs where necessary
Some golfers have as many as 14+ clubs in their bag for a game. A driver may not be the best choice at every tee, so if you have more control with a 2 or 3 wood, it may be worth switching up clubs to secure the position of the ball for your next shot. A standard bag has 8 irons (3-iron through 9-iron and pitching wedge), 3 woods (driver, 3-wood and 5-wood), and 1 putter. Hybrid golf clubs have become more popular as they are a 2-in-1-style club, and can be used in place of various woods and irons.
- Maintain distance from obstacles
When facilitating your next shot, try managing your trajectory where needed. If there’s a pond, bunker or steam, play with the next shot in mind so your ball is in a safer position, even if it means you having to make an extra shot. If you go for a more perfect shot, it may make your next shot more difficult.