quick coaching

Playing with Plan

By Keith Stewart, PGA
Published on
A group walks the 10th fairway at the Oak Hill Country Club.

A group walks the 10th fairway at the Oak Hill Country Club.

It’s July and summer is in full swing. Some of us are reminded that the golf season up north is about half over. If you’re like me , you try to make every minute count on the course.
Whether your scorecard reads 105 or 75, everyone needs a plan to play with purpose during their round. Imagine a scenario where the starter comes up to you and says, “we expect you to take twenty minutes off today’s round.” Panic would immediately set in and suddenly your golf experience seems anxious and altered. Think of the same conversation and he or she said, “Why don’t you try and take one minute off each hole today. Could you do that to help our players move a little quicker.” 
The second sentiment seems easy to accommodate. That’s the mindset I want you to accept as I give you five ways to play each hole one minute faster.  
1. Be Prepared. 
Start by knowing when your turn is. Believe it or not the biggest step in being ready is having an awareness of the order of play. So much time throughout the course of a round is spent by players looking at one another wondering who’s next? This simple step will make such a huge difference you won’t believe it. 
2. Be decisive. 
Once you start anticipating your turn, come up with a plan. Even though you may not be near your ball, you can consider the next shot. Think about the conditions and approximate yardage. Start a plan in your mind and be ready to decide. Let’s face it, most indecision on the course leads to bad results. Make a decision and believe in it. If you do, the consequences will be better.
3. Just watch. 
Everyone stands together on the tee box. Use this time wisely and watch where your playing partner’s golf ball goes. Professionals and amateurs need help watching where the ball lands. By having more eyes on the drive, you will save tons of searching time. 
Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, and Jordan Spieth, prepare to tee off on the 14th tee during the first round of the 2022 PGA Championship at Southern Hills Country Club on May 19, 2022 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, and Jordan Spieth, prepare to tee off on the 14th tee during the first round of the 2022 PGA Championship at Southern Hills Country Club on May 19, 2022 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
I love this one. Instead of writing down the score, talking about the hole, or cleaning off clubs at the green – grab your things and go to the next tee. You will have plenty of time once you get there to get ready for the next hole while everyone hits their tee shot. Let’s say your first on the next tee, just hit the tee shot and then while the other three tee off, clean off that sand wedge from the last hole. 
5. Keep on putting. 
Studies have proven, continuous putting is quicker than marking and waiting. When is the last time you marked the ball at mini-golf? Never, and I guarantee you putt better when there’s a windmill in your way. The awkward dance around the hole of tap-ins takes a ton of time. If each player would just continue putting while it is their turn, the golf world would move at a much faster pace. 
These keys will reduce the stress of your round and easily allow you to keep up with the group in front on you. You’ll be amazed how such simple steps will help move you along and add so much more enjoyment to your round.
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