Old School Course Strategy Tips

It seems virtually impossible to drop 3 strokes immediately, but you’d be surprised how easy that really is for the average golfer, and some high-level players, to drop three strokes. The best part is, you don’t even have to change your swing! How is this possible? Well, it’s all about control. “But I don’t have control!” You may exclaim.  I contend that you have a lot more than you think, it’s just about getting a little “outside the box” when you play.

Two of my ALL TIME FAVORITE course strategy tips, involve ball location on or around the green and setting limits on the clubs you choose to approach the green.

The first comes from the man who taught me to teach, Hank Johnson. Hank shared a story about someone telling Tom Watson as he was growing up: “Young man, if you learn how to hit the ball past the flag, you’ll meet a whole different caliber player.” Hank sometimes went as far as making a wager against some of his competitive players that for every time their approach shot finished past the flag, he’d pay the student $5 and for every time their approach shot finished short of the flag, they owed him $5. Without giving the long-winded, overly scientific, mathematical reason for this, you’ll realize with a little bit of thought that the majority of hazards and trouble spots on most holes are positioned short or around the front sides of the green. You might even want to make this friendly wager against your buddies (just make sure you take enough club to guarantee you’re past the flag)

The second will seem quite out of the box for many of you. When hitting an approach shot (or layup shot on a Par 5) hit the longest club that you can count on over 70% of the time off the ground.  For many people, this turns into some sort of short or mid-iron (9, 8, 7) and often involves missing greens in regulation on purpose. Most doubles and worse come from people hitting clubs that they can only hit successfully at most 50% of the time.  It may even take an extra full shot to get to the green for some of you. With this exercise, people often find that they feel “more in control” of their rounds when they do this, which keeps them in a positively competitive frame of mind.

So how do we match these two up? If the club that gets you past the flag isn’t one you can hit successfully more than 70% of the time, then the second tip trumps the first (you might have to play even less club to avoid hitting it in a hazard that’s short or near the front of the green). 

Are these a bit out of the box? Absolutely. Do they work? Definitely. Will you get made fun of, questioned, or teased by your playing partners? Possibly. But when you’re the one standing at the end of the round with that pretty scorecard and are more “mentally tough” you’ll be excited…and before long, other people will want to copy you! If they don’t…well, at least you’ll be able to win a few friendly wagers and enjoy lower scores!!

If you want to learn more about course strategy, I’d suggest you buy a copy of my first book: The Champions Playbook.

If you don’t have a club that you can count on at least 70% of the time…Well, come and take a lesson and let’s get that taken care of right away!!

Now go get uncomfortable, get outside of the box, and start lowering those scores today!!