Master the Course
Preparing to Play a New Course
By Brendon Elliott, PGA
Last week at the KPMG Women's PGA Championship, many of the competitors tackled Congressional Country Club’s Blue Course for the first time.
What are some of the things you need to do to prepare the next time you head to a course for the very first time? Let’s dive in:
1. Do your Research
Luckily, we live in a day and age where pretty much anything we want to know can be found by stroking some keys and clicking enter. Some places to check out prior to teeing it up on a new course.
- The Courses Website: Get the skinny on the course and check out the online scorecard.
- Golf Course Review Sites: Always great to get some insight from those that have gone before you. Beware though, looking at only the good, or bad reviews could potentially give you some very slanted opinions…try to look at a variety and find that happy middle ground.
- Course Designers Website/Reviews: Getting some information on the course designer and their philosophies can give you some great intel on what you might face.
- Scorecard/GPS Websites/Apps: Go hole by hole and do a good deep-dive on what’s in store
2. Chart The Course
With all the research you did prior to the round, make a game plan, and stick to it. Remember, you haven’t seen this course in person yet, so sticking to the plan based on your pre-round reconnaissance is really your only option.
3. Play Smart
Play for the center of the fairway, 150, and 100-yard markers, and the centers of the green.
4. If Available, Caddie Up
If the course has a caddie service, regardless of cost, it’s worth the consideration. Having a forecaddie or a regular looper can be the best help you could possibly get.
5. Spend Some Extra Time on the Putting Green
The one place, above all else, where you will benefit the most from any pre-round practice you do is on the practice green. Getting a good feel for the greens and their speed will serve you well…hopefully, the speed on the practice green matches up with the course’s greens. If not, do your best to feel it out and adjust after your first few holes.
6. Enjoy the Day
Above and beyond anything else, go into your round with an open mind and look simply to have an enjoyable experience!