You might have heard the phrase "course management" thrown about in a conversation between more experienced golfers, but just can't wrap your head around what it is.
A little web search might not help much either, as you'll likely find tips about how to start running your own course, dealing with guests, players, and all the nitty gritty management functions.
Why the heck is everyone suddenly interested in running golf courses, instead of just playing?
Relax there, sport. Course management in sense of what a player means is quite different from that, but we can see why the confusion arises.
In this blog post, we discuss what course management is, and how it can even make you a better player.
What Is Course Management?
Course management is an important part of the game of golf. It involves the use of a golfer’s strengths to get the ball into the hole in the fewest amount of strokes possible.
Course management also helps golfers control their putts on fast greens and better plan their rounds by tracking their shots and analyzing their performance.
Furthermore, course management can help golfers improve their late release in the swing, allowing them to make more accurate shots and bring down scores across rounds. A comprehensive look into course management should help you include strategies, plans, and tips for making sound decisions when tackling different courses.
Strategies for Course Management
Know Your Stats
Players who get up close and personal with their own stats have a massive advantage when it comes to planning their play and selecting shot selections for different courses.
Knowing one's own stats helps you identify areas in which additional practice or improvement is needed, allowing for more informed decisions about shots.
By having a clear understanding of the yardage on each hole, you can also plan approach shots more effectively and have a better sense of how many shots should be expected.
Play Using Your Strengths
This is an all too important part of life in general that people make mistakes with. Should you utilize the skills that make you an expert, or try your hand at something in which you are new and experienced, but "want to learn"? The answer should be clear, especially when it comes to competitive play.
Playing to one's strengths means focusing on what one can do perfectly, rather than trying too hard or aiming for too much. This can include aiming shots at certain areas of the course that benefit from the golfer's particular skill set, avoiding unnecessary risks and challenges, and taking advantage of opportunities when they arise. By playing to your strengths in terms of course management, you are able to maximize your chances of success on a given hole or round by playing in a way that is tailored specifically for you.
Lay-ups are an important part of golfing that just arent utilized enough. They can help reduce doubt, and allow you to play to your yardage "sweet spot". Take, for instance, a hole that is 150 yards from the center of the fairway. Most golfers would automatically think to themselves, "I can hit a 7-iron there no problem." But what if there was a water hazard lurking just short and right of the green? A lay-up would be the much wiser choice in this case, as you could easily hit your 7-iron into the water.
It allows you to play a more conservative shot, instead of chancing a bigger hit that may land you a penalty.
Don’t Go Trying New Shots
It is important for golfers to only try shots that they have practiced because it increases their chances of hitting the target and improving their accuracy. By shooting only shots that are within their skill level, golfers can avoid taking risky shots and tacking on strokes which could lead to an unsuccessful round.
This is a key element in what we mean when we said to play to your strengths. Therefore, practicing certain shots well in advance of a tournament in order to become familiar with them will ultimately increase the golfer’s success rate, and is the recommended course of action.
Aim for the Middle Green
Aiming for the middle of the green is a key strategy for successful course management. It involves aiming your shot not at the flag but rather in the middle of the green so that if you miss, it rarely leaves you with a long putt. This strategy has been backed up by Trackman radar data, which shows that 80% of amateur golfers hit shots that end up short of their intended target.
Aiming for the middle of the green can help improve overall scores as it gives players a better chance to make a good shot and reduce missed opportunities due to poor accuracy. Although there are many different ways to play each hole, ultimately it is up to each player to decide what works best for them and use this knowledge when managing their game on any given course.
Do Lag Putt
Lagging is a course management strategy that involves giving the first putt a chance to go in, and then deciding whether it should be made or two-putted. The success of the putt relies on controlling the speed and judging the length and break of the putt accurately. Practicing lagging can help golfers drop shots and maintain momentum, which can significantly improve their overall score.
Ride Out Positive Streaks
It is important to ride out a good streak when it comes to playing your best golf because it will help you avoid bad shots and optimize your scoring. When you are playing confidently and executing confident swings, taking advantage of those good streaks can help you stay consistent with your game and minimize the risk of making mistakes.
Think of it as being on a roll at the casino!
Beware of The No-Go Zones
Golfers should avoid areas of a course that may be difficult to play, such as thick rough, or deep sand traps. You should also keep in mind areas where errant shots may end up, such as water hazards or obstacles.
By memorizing difficult spots on the course and avoiding them when possible, golfers can significantly improve their scores.
Give it a Go
If you have made a calculated risk, and believe that the odds of playing the shot is much more likely to be successful than unsuccessful, just let er' rip. Just be sure to really temper your expectations, as anything can happen in golf.
Have a ‘Trusty’ Club That You Rely On
Surely, you have a favorite club, right? We all do! Having a longer club that you can rely on is important for recreational golfers who are faced with long fairway shots, as it instills confidence in their ability to hit the shot. Using a launch monitor to determine which club works best for amateur golfers can help them have greater success in executing long-distance shots.
Better Safe, Than Sorry
Play safe and not aggressive - This is a common strategy for golfers who do not have the ball-striking capabilities to play aggressively just yet. If a golfer does not have the confidence in their ball striking to take on certain shots, then it is better for them to play safe and try to make par.
Playing it safe can help golfers maintain control of the course and avoid taking unnecessary risks that could lead to higher scores. Remember: It’s always better to play it safe and take a bogey than make a bigger mistake that could cause you to double-bogey.
Play Percentages Into The Green Too
The phrase "playing the percentages into the green" refers to a strategy used by golfers in order to reduce strokes taken on a given hole.
This strategy involves aiming for the larger part of the green, rather than attempting more difficult shots or playing out of their comfort zone. At its core, it's simply playing a shot that has the highest probability for success, and not hoping for that miracle shot (that fails badly), and ends up thrashing your score.
By using this method, golfers can increase their chances of hitting the ball close to and even onto the green, thus minimizing their stroke count for that particular hole. Course management when playing golf is incredibly important and this strategy helps players save strokes and play more efficiently overall.
Always Take Enough Clubs
We can't emphasize this enough; do not overestimate your playing ability. Taking fewer clubs out on the course isn't "cool", especially if you take for granted how difficult a couple of holes might be. Don't be lazy- ensure your bag is outfitted with all that you could possibly need.
Be Sensible Playing Recovery Shots
Recovery shots are shots that are taken when the ball is in a difficult position and it’s often difficult to make a good shot. In these situations, golfers should try to play a safe shot rather than attempting a heroic recovery shot which could result in more damage- again, referred to as playing the percentages.
Taking your time and thinking about the best course of action for a recovery shot is essential for golfers at all levels. Thinking about the situation, rather than just swinging quickly and hoping for the best will help you save strokes and maintain your composure on the course.
Relax When Putting
Putting can often be the most taxing part of a round of golf. It takes patience and practice in order to become a good putter.
A great way to reduce stress when putting is by relying on your pre-shot routine before every single putt. Before you begin, take three deep breaths and then focus on the target line and speed of the ball, as well as your body position. This can help you stay relaxed and focused throughout the entire putting process.
Lastly, don’t be discouraged if a few putts don't go in; it happens to everyone in the beginning.
Make Small Strokes On The Green
Short strokes around the green can be extremely helpful for improving your scores. Try using a pitching wedge or sand wedge, as they are easier to control compared to other clubs and can help golfers execute short-range shots with more accuracy.
The idea is to take little strokes around the green and not try to get too much out of any one shot. This technique allows golfers to remain in control of their shots and not have to worry about overshooting the hole or putting too much spin on the ball.
Make It a Learning Experience
The value of learning from one's mistakes in golf is immense. When mistakes are made, it is essential to recognize them and use them as learning opportunities. Through this process, players can become more knowledgeable about the game and improve their skills on the course.
One learning lesson that is so important is to ensure that you fuel up right the right foods before, and during the game.
Grab a Whole In One Bar for complete nutrition to fuel you through the back 9.
Additionally, tracking data can help players to identify trends and gain insight into areas that need improvement. Ultimately, by embracing mistakes as part of the learning process, golfers will be able to reach their goals and become better professionals in the sport.
You Don’t Have to Hit Driver
Did you know that hitting a driver is the most difficult club to hit correctly? Even the best golfers in the world don’t rely on it for every shot. Instead, they use a variety of clubs and strategies to get the ball where it needs to go.
But that's not what this means. It simply means that you don't need to beat yourself up toobadly if the shot doesn't go as accurately as you wanted. It will normally be 15-30 feet away from where you wanted, so taking that into consideration, you should be able to make a good stroke from there.
Work From the Hole Going Backwards
When preparing for a shot, it's important to take into account all of the variables that will affect your swing. By walking backward from the hole and taking in all of the terrain, you will be better prepared to select the right club and make a proper swing. This process helps golfers gain a better understanding of the landscape around them and can help them make better decisions on the course.
Don't Ditch The Lob Wedge
Chipping is often seen as an intimidating part of golf. However, by leaving the lob wedge in your bag and using a pitching or sand wedge for basic chipping shots, you can reduce the need to hit a difficult shot. By using less lofted wedges and taking small strokes around the green, you will be better equipped to get up and down in any situation.
Relish The Uphill Challenge
you may think that uphill shots are more difficult than downhill, but this is not necessarily true. Uphill shots give the golfer more control over their ball and can help them to easily hit accurate shots. A great way to tackle an uphill shot is by aiming for a spot about halfway up the hill, as this will allow you to put the right amount of spin on your ball and make it easier to stay on target.
Additionally, by using the ground to your advantage and taking a slightly lower stance than usual, you can get more backspin on the ball and set up for a higher trajectory shot.
Don't ever underestimate how much course management can do for you and your game. Simply taking the time to analyze the terrain, practice smart club selection, and knowing when to take risks can help you achieve your goals on the golf course. By following these tips and strategies, you can become a stronger golfer with better scores. So keep pushing yourself and use course management to your advantage! Good luck!