Get More Out of Your Game
We’ve all had that experience of playing against a guy who scores better than he “should.” His swing isn’t polished, the ball flight isn’t beautiful, but he piles up par after infuriating par.
You’ve probably seen his polar opposite too: the guy with a beautiful swing, hits lots of greens, and turns in scores in the 80s.
In this series on course management, I’m going to help you become more like the first guy. When your swing is on, golf is going to be easy. When your swing is off, you’ll still post respectable numbers.
This Series Is For You If:
You want to shoot lower scores with the swing you have
Trouble, Trouble, Trouble
No matter how good your swing is, no matter how conservative your targets are, you will find yourself in trouble from time to time. You’re going to fire a tee shot into the trees. You’re going to find a greenside bunker. It happens to everyone.
The difference between good course management and bad course management is how you deal with trouble. That leads us to Rule #1: When you get in trouble, get out of trouble.
Here are some real world examples of Rule#1.
If you’re in a bunker, get out of the bunker in one shot (and hopefully on the green or fringe). Don’t worry about modifying your technique to get close to a pin that’s very close or very far away. Play to the fat part of the green, get the putter in your hand, and try to make a putt.
If you’ve driven it into the trees, get out of the trees. Do not try to play through a tiny opening so that you can get closer to the green. You don’t always need to pitch out sideways, but don’t take the chance of playing two consecutive shots from the woods.
If you are in a tough situation around the green, just get on the green. Don’t take on the flag if it’s on a skinny part of the green. Don’t take a line that requires you to carry a hazard.
If you’ve hit it into the water, don’t feel that you need to attack the flag with your next shot. Yes, your score will be worse for having dunked a ball, but hitting a low percentage shot to a tucked pin is not likely to make it any better.
Easy to Say, Tough to Do
Rule #1 sounds simple, but it’s not. The reason it’s tough is that it forces you to swallow your pride and accept that you’re probably not going to make a par. But recognize this: bogeys aren’t going to kill your score. You can make seven bogeys and shoot in the 70s! It’s only when you compound mistakes and post doubles and triples that your score gets out of control.
For those low handicap players who don’t want to accept any bogeys, consider implementing the 80% Rule when in trouble.