I always hear people talk about course management – but I seldom see any good course management when I play with different players.
Most of the players I see are too worried about their golf swing instead of actually playing the game of golf. And, they play golf as if they’re a Tour player who needs to birdie every hole. The combination is not good.
Last week a young man came up to my office to tell me he shot 90. If you saw him at the range, you’d think he’d shoot 70. But, he was proud of his 90 – I was shocked, I figured it was a bad score for him. So we talked about course management.
I told him that I very seldom shoot at the pins when playing Deer Run – that I usually play to the safe side of the green. For example: short left on #1, short left on #5, long right on #7, short left on #10, short right on #12, long left on #14, long left on #15, and the middle of the green on #17. And on the par 5 holes, I play to the fat side of the green no matter where the pin is – even if I’m only hitting a sand wedge.
He looked at me as if I was from Mars.
The first priority to course management is to put the ball in play off of the tee. Sounds obvious, but people are too obsessed with distance. Tee shots in the woods or out-of-bounds are not conducive to good scoring. Obviously it’s better to be hitting a 7 iron approach shot than a fairway wood – but not if the longer tee shot is inconsistent.
A consistent tee shot and good chipping will beat most golfers. Then mix in smart course management and you’ve got a good player.
Tour players have to go low. They’re like a race car driver who has to keep his foot on the gas. Amateur golfers should not imitate Tour players … or they will crash and burn.
Some people would rather go for it every shot – they have fun and don’t care about their score. But, if you view golf as a game and not as a driving range … I recommend developing a consistent tee shot and a good short game combined with smart course management.
GM and Head Golf Professional