How to Manage a Golf Course – 5 Tips for Beginners
No matter what level of golf you play, course management is something you should think about. When you start golfing all you are focusing on is hitting the ball down the fairway. That is understandable and there is nothing wrong with it. However, it would help if you started learning how to manage a golf course sooner rather than later.
You might be asking yourself what golf course management actually is. That is a fair question.
It is basically knowing how to approach and play a certain golf course. As you already know, each course is different. Because each golf course is different there are different ways to play them.
First of all, there are different types of golf courses. There is a huge difference if you play a links course versus a park golf course. Then there are the weather conditions as a major influence on the gameplay. Without further explanation, check these tips below that could help you with course management.
1. Know Your Club Distances
I honestly do not know many more important things than knowing how far you hit the ball with each golf club. It should be a straightforward thing for every golfer. But there are cases when recreational golfers do not have that info. In that case, it is really hard to golf, since you might be struggling to find the right club.
Ideally, there are two key numbers you know. One is how long each club carries the ball and two is the total distance for each club. Now, not everyone has access to launch monitors to know those distances. Even knowing the ballpark numbers based on the driving range sessions would be helpful already.
In a perfect world, you have a distance chart for each type and strength of your swing with each club. It does require time to get the numbers, but it can improve your game a lot. You can at least get a GPS application for your phone to track your distances when playing. That will give you some numbers which you can rely upon when golfing.
2. Learn Your Misses
We all know not all of our golf shots are going to be good. In fact, there is a greater chance most of them are not good. Even professional golfers often do not land the ball exactly where they want. That happens more than you would think. Nonetheless, there is a big difference between recreational and professional golfers when it comes to that.
Professional golfers know their misses. What that means is they are aware of where the ball could end after a bad shot and they play to that info. They choose an area to target according to their tendencies. For example, if a golfer tends to miss to the left, they will make sure to leave enough room for that ball to miss to the left.
This is really beneficial for approach shots. In the end, it can make a difference in the number of putts you take and give you low score chances. We all have tendencies when hitting the ball. Learn yours and make your rounds less painful.
3. Stay Away From Hero Shots
We have all been there. The temptation is ever present every time our ball ends up in a tricky lie. If we just choose the right club and hit that ball perfectly it is going to end up exactly where we want. The reality is, we are going to make a mess out of the hole. We’ll go for it and the ball is going to end up in the tree, in the water, or just a few yards ahead of us.
When you find yourself in a non-promising situation like in the deep rough, in the woods, or anything that does not look nice, you should just get the ball back into play. If you sacrifice a stroke, you can still come out with a bogey or even a par. That is great compared to what will most likely happen if you go for the hero shot.
4. Know the Hole Layout
If you play the course regularly, you probably have an idea of what each hole looks like. In case you find yourself playing a course for the first time, check each hole layout before you play it. You can do it either on the sign at the tee box (if there are signs), on your GPS device or app, or on the scorecard.
This is important for knowing where to aim at each shot. It will help you stay away from hazards and eventually help your score. Do not just hit the ball anywhere and hope for the best. As long as you know what to avoid when you are playing you are in good shape. The more you play a course, the more familiar you will be with all the holes which will lead to better rounds.
5. Think One Shot Ahead
When it comes to strategy, golf can sometimes be compared to a chess game. Ideally, you are choosing where to land the ball thinking about the next shot already. This goes hand in hand with the previous point of knowing the course layout. If you think about one shot ahead, you can position your ball in the best spot to execute the next one.
It will be especially helpful with approach shots. Make sure you position your ball at the distance you are comfortable hitting from into the green. Not just the distance, but also aim to the side of the fairway from where it is easier to land on the green. Try to avoid going over bunkers or any other types of hazards.
Another important thing related to this. A lot of flag positions can be inviting to aim right at them. Nevertheless, that can often lead to trouble. If the flag is in a nice position with a lot of green to work with and no big hazards, that is fine. Otherwise, it is better to aim for the middle of the green. That way you will most likely have a two-putt instead of a bogey or worse.
Be Prepared for Lower Scores and More Fun
At the end of the day, we are all looking to play our best and have a good time. Golf course management can help you with both. If you want to get better, this is one thing you can work on to help you with that. Like everything related to golf, it will require time and experience. There is no question you will be having more fun combined with lower scores as you go further.
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