Before you begin your round for the day, narrow your focus by familiarizing and utilizing a more conservative playing approach. Grasp that the challenges you may encounter on the course will vary day-to-day. Assess the course layout prior to teeing off by studying a course map so you have more time to strategize on the course during your round.
During a practice round, you may use tools such as a rangefinder and/or a yardage book so you can execute your shots more effectively. As a result, you must acclimate your game’s strengths and weaknesses on each hole. Examine what makes the hole’s layout unique and refine your framework so you can play each hole to your strengths. Learn how to handle different lies and situations on the course, how to cope with inclement weather conditions, how to evaluate risks and rewards, and how to manage trajectory when you need to.
Other resources you can use during your practice rounds are to use the expertise of a PGA professional and/or caddy to assist you with your course management and your assessment of your alignment, your club selection, and your routines. Play to your advantage by thinking outside of the box and note external factors that may affect your decision making such as the weather status. Three environmental variables that can affect ball flight are barometric pressure, temperature, and humidity.
Figure out which obstacles on the course may present you with a challenge and how to avoid them. Certain holes may have no room for error especially if your ball ends up in a penalty area. There may be dogleg holes with tight fairways framed by tree lines and houses. There may be holes with elevated greens so discover which approach shot you will need that will create the least amount of havoc. Your goal is to not short side yourself and end up with a bogey. Prepare yourself for fewer errors by using careful judgment on each shot. Proper club selection always plays a role in championship performance. For example, explore which club will give you the best shot that is the closest and safest to your target.
For instance, you may play more generously on wide-open par 5s and short par 4s. You will need to determine how far you need to hit your ball to present yourself with the best opportunity on your next shot. If there is trouble surrounding the flag, your best bet is to aim for the middle of the green. For example, when the flag is placed near the edge of a green, play to the wider, opposite side of the green. When your ball is stuck underneath a row of trees, punch a low stinger safely back into the fairway.
You can also improve your course management skills by researching golf course architecture. Read golf course architecture books and articles so you will have an advantage in understanding how and why a golf course reacts the way it does. Championship courses will test your patience and your endurance so, in order to maximize your scoring ability, you must utilize WISE course management skills each time you play!
Connecting with a PGA Coach to help improve your game is easy and beneficial. Visit PGA.com/Coach to search for a coach in your area and be sure to follow the PGA of America on Twitter
for tips & drills from coaches across the country.