February 2018 Newsletter

www.martinrathbone.co.uk – martin@martinrathbone.co.uk – 07958785326

Course Management

Recently I was asked “What is Course Management?”

Well course management is one of the most neglected things in an amateur’s game and even in some elite golfers, but first ……

 The majority of people that come to me for coaching all want to work on their swing and think that by hitting the ball better everything will improve. Let’s not forget that the purpose of the game of golf is to get the ball in the hole and attain the lowest possible score, not to show off that one perfect shot on a hole where you score double digits.

What I’m trying to say is that, obviously depending on the course and even what hole you are playing, it is better and, dare I say wiser, to accept you are not going to make par and play for a bogey. It’s more beneficial to do that than trying a shot that has higher odds than winning the lottery. If you have the ability to always play the right shot at the right time then you will be the most successful golfer you can be.

Perhaps another name for course management could be “Playing Positional Golf” this could be determined as trying to put your ball in positions on a hole that are ideal to play the next shot as opposed to hitting the longest club I’ve got in the bag and seeing it soar into the trees.

Thinking EmojiConsequently if you develop the skill to carefully assess everything in front of you including the course, the conditions of the day and the shot required, then you will be in the position to make that judgment call about what shot to play.

This will lead you to lowering your scores and thus improving your handicap. Course management is definitely something that should be studied along with your swing.

Good course management will help the golfer handle all sorts of situations on the course, it will help battle with weather conditions, it will encourage to you to position the ball so that the next shot is easier, it will make you think more about the “Risk and Reward” shots, it will help you with where and how far to layup when dangerous hazards are in play, and along with lots more, it will help you lower you scores.

Let’s have a look at a few ideas that can help you with course management:

If you play a regular course then take into account the length of the hole and if you can really get there in “Regulation shots,” most mid / higher handicappers can’t, reach straight for the driver and end up in trouble off the tee, say you are quite good from 70yds out, take that off the length of hole and work out how much you have left. The chances are you could hit much less club off the tee and have virtually no risk of it getting into trouble, from there its another shorter club to leave you 70yds from the hole, 2 putts and you are up and running.

Course Map

As you know the course and the greens so well, you can even aim to leave yourself the easiest putt, normally uphill.

If you think the 7iron will get you close to the water or a ditch then hit an 8iron to make absolutely sure you are short.

Another example:
One of my lessons had a favourite club that he hit 170yds and most of the time fairly straight; he was amazed on a playing lesson when I told him to hit it off the tee on a par5? “What! Are you sure” he said, just try it was my response, long story short he hit that club twice and found the fairway both times, he had a mishit on the 3rd shot but chipped on and easily 2 putted for a bogey and 3 points! Normally he would have hit his driver and ended up in the right rough or in the trees; quite often he lost a ball.

If you think of course management as an extra club in the bag then make it your most favourable club and work on it, your scores will improve and thus your handicap will improve and above all else, you will enjoy the game so much more.

Good luck with this and if you want to chat about it anytime then just pop into the shop, as always thanks for all your support.

Martin Rathbone PGA - Head Teaching Professional - Surbiton Golf Club