February 2019 Newsletter

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

Course Management Tips

For those of you that regularly watch golf on TV you will no doubt have noticed that even touring Professionals get themselves in some precarious positions on the course, what you may not have noticed is they don’t make those mistakes very often and how they escape with safety in mind.

One of my favourite golfers of all time is the great Jack Nicklaus and he had this piece of advice for every golfer,

“A big part of managing a golf course is managing your swing on the course. A lot of guys can go out and hit a golf ball, but they have no idea how to manage what they do with the ball. I’ve won as many golf tournaments hitting the ball badly as I have hitting the ball well.” 

Now if one of the greatest golfers of all time is telling you how to think about your game I suggest you sit up and listen to him.

There are many ways to improve one’s golf score, but course management is something that may at times fall by the wayside.  There are several tried and tested techniques that will work and if you apply these correctly, you will lower your score.

Be Honest About Your Game:

As silly as it may sound one of the most important course management techniques is to know yourself, know your game, your strengths and your weaknesses.
I found this quote by Golficity, “Before you decide where the weaknesses in the golf course are, you need to understand fully the strengths and weaknesses in your own game.”  Being honest with yourself is a never ending struggle for most amateur golfers, especially when all the mental side of golf is always bleating on about only remembering the good shots and forget the bad ones.

This mental approach can thwart your ability to reduce your score via course management. For example we all know that “Par 5” where, if you were in control of your game, you would take your medicine and use 3 shots to get to the green instead of trying to blast 2 shots and getting in trouble. As a result, while a golfer should still preserve self-confidence and optimism, he must also be realistic about his capabilities.

Do you know your Clubs?

In addition to knowing one’s golf game, more specifically, every golfer must be well acquainted with their clubs and how far they normally hit them. Another quote from golflink is, “In order to make proper club selections, you must first spend time hitting your clubs on a driving range and becoming familiar with the distance each club gives you.”

As with the above tip, this also requires self-control. It is easy to burn through a bucket of golf balls on the range without ever really learning anything. One’s time would be much better spent taking time between each shot, simulating the real golf experience, and measuring how far one realistically hits each club.

Each golfer should take into consideration the slope of the range, as many are not perfectly flat, in order to get accurate distance measurements. By spending time on the range and taking the time to learn how far one can hit there golf clubs, one’s ability to manage the golf course increases significantly.

Luke Donald in the trees

Play Each Hole with a Plan

Another important course management technique is to take some time to plan out one’s approach to each hole. A golfer may not know every hole he plays like the back of his hand, but that doesn’t mean he can’t try to gather as much information as possible prior to making his first shot. This means paying attention to the wind, the location of any hazards, and the slope and shape of the green. This means anticipating how one’s normal shots will interact with this terrain, and then planning accordingly. : “Remember that each hole is a chess game vs. the architect’s design, and you must know how to position your strength against the golf course limitations.”

Know Your Stock Shot

Jack Nicklaus said it above: he’s won many tournaments when he was not playing his best golf. Why? Mainly, like most top performing professionals, they have a “go to” shot, a shot where even on a bad day they can hit that shot. It may not be the best shot for that hole but if it keeps them in play then so be it.

My friends over at Golf Works say, “You should develop a shot you can trust to keep in play. It doesn’t matter what the shot looks like as long as it produces the result. Smart players acknowledge when things aren’t quite right and have a ‘go-to’ shot when things get uncomfortable.”

Again, this does not mean being a negative person. But it does mean being able to accurately assess the situation. By having a shot that a golfer knows he/she can hit every time, many of the disastrous round-killing shots can be eliminated.

In conclusion, another word from Jack: “Success depends almost entirely on how effectively you learn to manage the game’s two ultimate adversaries: the course and yourself.”  Think about ways in which you can play the game smarter and the lower scores will come. If you need any help or would like to discuss this then please feel free to pop in the shop and ask.

As usual thanks to everyone for the support they show.

Martin Rathbone PGA