Start shaving strokes off of your scorecard with the help of these course management tips

By Sabrina Naccarato

I’m a big fan of working smarter, not harder. But sometimes when I step out onto the golf course, that mentality flies out the window. From pulling out my driver on risky lines to going for the pin no matter what, I tend to find myself in some trouble more times than not. So how do we work smarter, not harder on the course? It’s simple with a solid course management strategy.

Go for the middle of the green

Some of the biggest numbers are caused by risky golfers always going straight for the pin, no matter what is lurking around the green. There could be sand, water, or other hazards surrounding the side of the green the pin is favoring, and with one mishit, you could end up in any of those less than desirable areas.

If you look at some of the best golfers in the world, they oftentimes completely take the risk out of play and aim for the middle of the green. This element of course strategy is so crucial because if you happen to land your ball anywhere near the middle of the green, you should be in the two-putt range. As thrilling as it might be to always aim towards the pin, the number of strokes it will cost you isn’t worth it.

Practice more proficiently

Course management doesn’t just apply to the golf course. When you’re practicing, particularly on the green, there are smarter ways to practice that can directly translate to the course. On the practice green, avoid hitting putts in the 15’-30’ range. This range is hard to sink a one-putt but almost guarantees a two-putt. By focusing your putting to under 15’ and over 30’, that can help build your putting strategy and confidence once on the course.

Aim for safety, even it means rough

When you’re faced with a hole that’s lined with trees and water on one side, maybe your first instinct is to aim straight down the middle of the fairway. Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee your ball is going to follow that path and there’s a chance you’ll find your ball among the trees and water.

As crazy as this sounds, take the trees and water completely out of play by aiming towards the opposite side of the fairway, even if that means rough. If you hit one on the screws and it flies straight as an arrow, you’ll still be able to locate your ball. I know I’d rather hit my second shot from the rough than trying to punch out from the tree or worse, have to take a drop due to the water.

Golf is hard enough on most of us, and a lot of the time, we make it much more difficult by not having a course management strategy in place once you step on the first tee. If you take these three tips with you the next time you play, there’s a good chance you’ll see your score drop by a couple of strokes

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