“Success in golf depends less on strength of body than upon strength of mind.”
– Arnold Palmer
This is the hardest aspect of golf and course management is essentially the role of any caddy. There’s a reason why a golfer and caddy view themselves as a team and are compensated generously (except if you’re a fill in for Matt Kuchar). Obviously were not all fortunate enough to golf with one every round, so we compiled a few things you could incorporate into your game the next time you get out there. These concepts aren’t too complex, but often overlooked. The easy part is knowing what you should do, but the hard part is actually doing it.
1. Know Your Distance
This tip will immediately shave strokes off your next round. Go to the range and figure out what club and distance will give you the BEST chance to get it close to the hole. Typically, this will be a wedge but that’s for you to decide. If you’re tee shot finds you 250yds out on a Par 5, don’t choose your 3-wood that goes a little over 200yds, as tempting as it may be. This will put you in that awkward in between shot that’s difficult to master. Hit your club that brings you to that sweet distance, which will probably be a wedge or a high iron. Do you have a better chance to birdie from 100yds or 50yds? Think about it.
2. Avoid High Numbers
Obvious, right? Maybe not so much. Pars and Bogeys. If you avoid anything worse than a bogey, you’ll end up with a 90 at the very worst. Throughout the round, it’s inevitable that we’re going to find ourselves out of position, and we’ve all been guilty of blowing up a hole by going for shots we know are low percentage shots. If you find yourself out of position, advance the ball the best you can, ideally going back to that “sweet distance”. Next shot on the green, 2-putt for bogey, and you won’t be losing sleep over it. We’re all at different stages of our golf game, so adjust this mentality if needed to double or triple bogey.
3. Know Your Game
Know your strengths and weaknesses. If you struggle from the bunker, avoid them. It seems straightforward, but I don’t mean aim left or right of the bunker because we don’t always hit it where we want. Take bunkers out of play. Know your club distances and select a club that you know will clear it or end up short.
4. Know Your Miss
Does your ball typically fade, slice, draw, or hook? Yes, we want to practice and fix this as best as we can, but that takes time and we need to have a game plan for the time being. Don’t attack a flag where your miss brings in trouble. If your miss is right, play it left. If by chance it goes straight, aim to a spot where you’d be satisfied with. If it goes right as you expected, you should be set up pretty nicely.