Playing Golf Strategically
There are always going to be golfers with different abilities. Some players are good enough to play professionally on the PGA and European Tour whereas the majority play for their local club. However, regardless of ability, every golfer can have a great strategy in place.
Talent is not required to have a solid golf strategy and there are several things you can do to ensure you are giving yourself the best chance to score low.
Much of a successful golf strategy comes from course management and this is mostly a case of simple planning.
Most good golf clubs have a course map on their website, so you can sit down at home and look at each hole. Many beginner and amateur golfers will arrive at a golf course and assume they must get out the driver on every par-4 and par-5 hole.
However, if you take 30 minutes at home to look at the course, you can look for the trouble on each hole and plan how to avoid it. In many cases, this will mean using as shorter club than the driver, which you can control better and get the ball on the largest section of the fairway.
In addition, studying the course beforehand allows you to plan where you can leave the ball and use your favourite club. Every player has a club they enjoy using more than any other, so why not try and use it as often as possible?
If that club is a 7-iron for example, think about where you can leave the ball on the fairway of the par-4 and par-5 holes so you can use the 7-iron. There is no need to try and get the ball as close to the green as possible, as quickly as possible, if it means you are left with a shot you are uncomfortable playing.
When playing approach shots to greens, it is not compulsory to aim for the flag every time. This is especially true on short par-3 holes. The temptation with a par-3 is to place the ball anywhere in the tee box and aim straight for the flag.
However, short par-3 holes tend to have tough pin positions, and the hole could be in one corner of the green, with water and a bunker next to it. Only the top players will get the ball close to the hole on a regular basis. Think about the safest route to the green and how you can get your ball on the putting surface while giving yourself a good margin for error.
It may seem a little defeatist to approach a par-3 in this way but if the flag is in a difficult spot, you will save more shots playing this way than attacking the hole.
The same also applies to awkward pin positions on par-4 and par-5 holes. You will save more shots and hit more greens in regulation if you aim for the largest and safest part of the green. Greens in regulation is one of the most important statistics in golf and by adopting this strategy, your numbers will improve.