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Crucial Course Management Techniques for Every Golfer

According to Jack Nicklaus, “A big part of managing a golf course is managing your swing on the course. A lot of guys can go out and hit a golf ball, but they have no idea how to manage what they do with the ball. I’ve won as many golf tournaments hitting the ball badly as I have hitting the ball well.” Nicklaus is one of the greatest to ever play the game of golf, and his advice on golf course management is well-taken. There are many ways to improve one’s golf score, but course management is one that may at times fall by the wayside. A number of tried and true techniques exist that are sure to lower every golfer’s score when applied correctly.

Know Yourself

As commonsensical as it may sound, one of the most important course management techniques is to know yourself, your strengths, your weaknesses. As well put by Golficity, “Before you decide where the weaknesses in the golf course are, you need to understand fully the strengths and weaknesses in your own game.” This is a perpetual struggle for many golfers, especially given the regular advice to create a highlight reel of one’s best golf shots, and forget the bad ones. If this mental concept is applied without restraint, however, one’s ability to reduce his score through course management will almost always be thwarted. Indeed, every golfer knows that one par-five where, if he had the self control, he would take his medicine and play three shots to the green instead of trying to reach in two. As a result, while a golfer should still preserve self-confidence and optimism, he must also be realistic about his capabilities.

Know Your Clubs

In addition to knowing one’s golf game, more specifically, every golfer must be well acquainted with her clubs and how far she normally hits them. As per Golflink, “In order to make proper club selections, you must first spend time hitting your clubs on a driving range and becoming familiar with the distance each club gives you.” As with the above tip, this also requires self-control. It is easy to burn through a bucket of golf balls on the range without ever really learning anything. One’s time would be much better spent taking time between each shot, simulating the real golf experience, and measuring how far one realistically hits each club. Each golfer should take into consideration the slope of the range, as many are not perfectly flat, in order to get accurate distance measurements. By spending time on the range and taking the time to learn how far one can hit her golf clubs, one’s ability to manage the golf course increases significantly.

Play Each Hole with a Plan

Another important course management technique is to take some time to plan out one’s approach to each hole. A golfer may not know every hole he plays like the back of his hand, but that doesn’t mean he can’t try to gather as much information as possible prior to making his first shot. This means paying attention to the wind, the location of any hazards, and the slope and shape of the green. This means anticipating how one’s normal shots will interact with this terrain, and then planning accordingly. As well-said by the folks at GolfWRX: “Remember that each hole is a chess game vs. the architect’s design, and you must know how to position your strength against the hole’s limitations.”

Know Your Stock Shot

Jack Nicklaus said it above: he’s won many tournaments when he was not playing his best golf. Why? Surely in part because he has a go to shot. Even on his worst day he knows he can hit a certain shot, even if it’s not the ideal play. According to GolfWRX, “You should develop a shot you can trust to keep in play. It doesn’t matter what the shot looks like as long as it produces the result. Smart players acknowledge when things aren’t quite right and have a ‘go-to’ shot when things get uncomfortable.” Again, this does not mean being a pessimist. But it does mean being able to accurately assess the situation. By having a shot that a golfer knows she can hit every time, many of the disastrous, aka round-killing shots, can be eliminated.

In conclusion, another word from Jack: “Success depends almost entirely on how effectively you learn to manage the game’s two ultimate adversaries: the course and yourself.”  While many of our blog posts discuss the managing yourself part, today’s focus is on managing the course. Think about ways in which you can play the game smarter. Then, consider giving the golf professionals at Bird Golf a call to help you better manger both the golf course and your game.