Course management: Why so important?

Course management is not only pulling the 3 wood out on a few short par-4’s, it’s being able to make responsible decisions throughout the entire round in order to help you shoot the lowest score possible.

 Many golfers look too far for ways to improve their score while the decisions they make on the course could be a big part of this improvement. Here are a few mistakes that most golfers tend to do and that affects their score:

    1) Going for a Par-5 in two:

 Some par-5’s can be attacked without too much risk, they are wide and don’t include many obstacles. However, most of them are designed specially to trick golfers into going for them in two. They often have bunkers or a hazard placed exactly within the carry range of most golfer (20-30 yards short of the green all the way to the front of the green). Think you can carry it all the way there? Chances are you can’t. Course designers are very good at making the hazard or bunker deceptive and make you believe you can actually get it there.

 What’s the smart play?

 If we had you play the hole 100 times within which you had to lay up 50 times and go for it 50 times, which option would have you shoot the lowest score? No doubt laying up. First of all, you take the big number out of play by hitting a 4-7 iron to a 30-yard wide fairway and leaving yourself a comfortable yardage into the green. How often are you going to completely miss the green or even lose a ball on a 100-yard shot? Not often. On top of that, by laying-up to a perfect number, you give yourself a chance to attack the flag and actually have very good odds of making birdie.

    2)  Going for that gap through the trees:

 How many times have you gone for the little window through the trees because you thought you could pull the shot off? This decision is totally a question of percentages. What are the odds of you pulling off this shot? You know you can do it, but you also know you can put yourself in big trouble if you end up missing your line but just a few inches.

 What’s the smart play?

 Just chip it out. Again, you take the big number out of play by getting the ball back into position. Instead of hitting 3 from even deeper in the woods, you actually give yourself a chance to save par or at worse make sure you get your bogie. The important thing is to put the fact that you missed your tee shot behind you and focus on how to recover from it.

      3)  Always pull out the Driver:

This is probably the most common mistake made by golfers around the world. You see par-4 or par-5 on the scorecard and consequently your mind tells you to grab the big stick. Often, you do need to pull the driver but there are plenty of holes out there that demand precision over distance and you need to be able to notice when that’s the case.

 What’s the smart play?

 Take the time to evaluate where you need to hit it based on many details; hole location, obstacles near the fairway, distance to the green. Once you’ve put the finger on what distance and direction you need to hit, it’s a lot easier to figure out what club to pull out. If you can hit a driver, hit it. If you need to hit the ball a certain distance, train yourself to leave the head cover on that 460 cc head and grab the club that’s the most likely to help you play the hole in fewer strokes. You’ll be glad you did.

 The takeaway

 Course management is developed overtime. It requires incredible discipline and concentration but once you’ve mastered it, you’ll notice impressive confidence and improvement in every aspect of your game.