Course management – The key to breaking 90?

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It’s the question that most new golfers want answered, how can I break 90?

Golfing couple high fiving on the golf courseIf this is you and you are scoring in the mid 90’s now, then great, this information should be of help. The good news is that you can obviously hit a reasonable ball if you can shoot in the mid 90’s. Where we see most mid to high handicappers fall down is with their course management.

Course management is often an over-looked part of the amateurs golf game because hitting a 7 iron off the tee for safety is not as exciting as a 250 yard drive. Every golf professional on the planet will analyse the ‘risk and reward’ of each shot to see if it is worth going for. What do I get if I pull the shot off? and what happens if I don’t?

So what is course management?  We define course management as the ability to play the course as the course designer intended. Hitting a variety of different shots and avoiding the hazards.

Course management can be divided into three main categories.

  1. Tee shots
  2. Approach
  3. Putting

Tee Shots – Don’t automatically reach for the driver. When on the tee, look to see what hazards the course designer has placed in front of you and work out how best you can avoid them. For example, can you play short of a bunker with an iron instead of hitting a great tee shot with a driver only to run into the hazard?

Also, do you have a favourite distance for your second shot into the green? It would make sense to try and leave yourself this shot instead of a distance that you are less confident to reach. For example, if you were to play a 4 iron tee shot to leave you your favourite 9 iron shot then you may have more chance of reaching the green in regulation.

Approach Shots – Now you have hit the fairway and avoided any hazards you need to think about your approach to the green. The golf professional will look for a safe area, somewhere – if they were to miss the green – where they would have a better than average chance of getting ‘up and down’. So where is your safe area? Usually the middle of the green is good enough however, we still go for the flag even though a miss may leave us with a very difficult third shot and a potential 5 0r even 6 on the scorecard.

Also, with your approach shots consider how well you have been hitting your clubs on the day. If you are not striking the ball particularly cleanly then it may be advisable to club up. The worst that can happen is that you strike the ball well and finish at the back of the green.

Putting – In an average round of golf almost a third of the shots taken are with the putter. Your goal should be to two putt every green. This means an approach putt that will leave you an easy ‘tap in’. We see many amateur golfer try to hole every putt which can sometimes leave them with a difficult return and a 3 putt on the scorecard. Also, when on the practice green do spend time trying to hole the 2 – 3 feet putts. on the scorecard they count the same as every other shot you take.

Using these course management tips will undoubtedly take shots of your score. Why not give them a try?

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The Golf Talk team