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Course Management

  • 25-06-2019 11:14am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 352 ✭✭ GolfNut33


    This topic really gets me going.


    I would consider myself fairly decent at course management but the amount of lads I see making horrendous decisions on the course is incredible. For example; I was playing along side a 18 HC last Sunday. Playing a longish par 4 (think 410 yrds) slightly uphill with a pond in front of the green. He hit a poor enough drive and he had about 200 yrds to the green and about 180 to carry the water. He took out a 3 wood and proceeded to plonk it straight in to the drink. I would have guessed it was a 1 in 20 shot to get it on the green. He proceeded to scratch the hole. A simple lay up would have almost ensured he'd get maybe 2 points but at least 1.

    I have multiple examples of this kinda of thing, even know a low HC lad who is equally as bad at plotting his way around the course, goes for every Par 5 in two and goes for every pin no matter where it is and only to miss out on wining sometimes by a few points/strokes and wonders why he can never get over the finish line.

    Golfers spend huge money on equipment and lessons to gain a shot or two improvement but neglect possibly the easiest way to improve their score through course management.


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,051 ✭✭✭ Dbu


    Best score I ever had, was when I decided on the first tee to 'go after everything' or as my buddy would say'just hit it'
    Over thinking was my wrecking me game


  • Registered Users Posts: 352 ✭✭ GolfNut33


    Dbu wrote: »
    Best score I ever had, was when I decided on the first tee to 'go after everything' or as my buddy would say'just hit it'
    Over thinking was my wrecking me game

    You'll have the odd good score but your consistency will be poor.


  • Registered Users Posts: 14,641 ✭✭✭✭ Seve OB


    Dbu wrote: »
    Best score I ever had, was when I decided on the first tee to 'go after everything' or as my buddy would say'just hit it'
    Over thinking was my wrecking me game

    snap.
    but I do see the OP's point.
    But no point in going for shots if you aren't on your game. some days you take your medicine and sometimes you let fly. so many different factors in play

    But with regard to the low handicappers, esp the one he mentioned, they should be going for everything if it is in their remit. if it doesn't come off so what. if they were to lay up all the time they probably wouldn't be so low.


  • Registered Users Posts: 14,641 ✭✭✭✭ Seve OB


    If that shot OP described above was a 180 yard par3 it would be no different to the above scenario. does the OP always lay up somewhere safe, chip on, 2 putts and walk away happy with 2 points?

    If that's the way you think golf should be played it would get very boring very quickly


  • Registered Users Posts: 15,823 ✭✭✭✭ Mantis Toboggan


    It really does depend on the level of golfer and the risk/reward element of every shot.

    My track course management is huge, it's narrow with plenty of trouble both off the tee and around the green. I've struggled since joining as my mentality is to go for everything. I've changed my game this year to nearly always go for the safe option especially in competition.

    I like the 7/10 rule. If I'm confident of hitting the shot more often than not then I'm taking on the shot. But I agree that good course management can make a huge difference. I see plenty of players which I've been guilty of in the past fail because they're taking on the wrong shots repeatedly because they're not thinking enough about what they're trying to do.


    IRISHMEN AND IRISHWOMEN: "In the name of God and of the dead generations from which she receives her old tradition of nationhood, Ireland, through us, summons her children to her flag and strikes for her freedom"

    Irish Proclamation



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  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 16,108 Mod ✭✭✭✭ slave1


    Seve OB wrote: »
    If that shot OP described above was a 180 yard par3 it would be no different to the above scenario. does the OP always lay up somewhere safe, chip on, 2 putts and walk away happy with 2 points?

    If that's the way you think golf should be played it would get very boring very quickly

    That old blast from the past;)


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,859 ✭✭✭✭ callaway92


    I get your post, OP; but for an 18 handicapper, course management is tougher than 'going for it'.

    Going for it at least gives them a bit of freedom with the shot.. Playing for the middle-of-the-green etc suddenly starts putting thoughts/specific targets in their head and can work against them..same with laying up - There's as-much-a-chance of holding back on shot and hooking it etc.


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 16,108 Mod ✭✭✭✭ slave1


    I see this time and time again with high handicappers I play with, they hook or slice a drive (which I can do too) and instead of taking a wedge walk into the rough with a 3 wood to get it up to the green, a pro would not get it up to the green from where they are, the ball ends up ploughing through the long grass 20 or 30 yards and same shot again.....pretty soon the hole is scratched
    Bad drive, take a wedge, get back into play...


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,167 ✭✭✭ slingerz


    Played with some plus handicappers last year as they prepared for senior cup. Really interesting as they selected different clubs to me on a number of holes.

    Completely changed my approach to one hole and made the world of difference to my average score on that hole afterwards


  • Registered Users Posts: 131 ✭✭ megabomberman


    The example provided by the OP is a cast iron case of poor course management.

    Where I really find it tricky is whether to play the 5 iron/rescue off the tee on the tightish 370 yard par 4 or just roll the dice and attempt to drive it to within the wedge distance.

    Most YouTubers seem to advocate for an only use driver when absolutely necessary approach, for the high handicappers.


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  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 16,108 Mod ✭✭✭✭ slave1


    I always use driver, most forgiving club in the bag


  • Registered Users Posts: 209 ✭✭ newindublin


    slave1 wrote: »
    I always use driver, most forgiving club in the bag

    Driver is the club you hit the furthest, if you are a high handicapper (like me) it has the most potential to go the furthest in the wrong spot. For someone advocating course management I find this pretty contrary.

    One thing I am trying to work on is swallowing my pride and hitting 3 wood off the tee more. In fact, I was able to do this over the weekend and feel pretty good about it. My driving started well in the round, but later in the round started to creep into my old bad habits. When the holes got tight I pulled the 3 wood and kept it in play and scoring. Wide open holes I let the driver rip, knowing I had room.


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 16,108 Mod ✭✭✭✭ slave1


    Horses for courses, sure I cringe when I see Rory taking a “safe” iron off the tee and the ball flies straight into trouble


  • Registered Users Posts: 209 ✭✭ newindublin


    I too think I we should all base our golf off playing like the number 3 ranked player in the world, because that's clearly who this thread is aimed at.


  • Registered Users Posts: 15,823 ✭✭✭✭ Mantis Toboggan


    slave1 wrote: »
    I always use driver, most forgiving club in the bag

    Depends on the course, I used to be like that but my new course is narrow with lots of trouble, hitting the fairway is crucial, it's not a long course.


    IRISHMEN AND IRISHWOMEN: "In the name of God and of the dead generations from which she receives her old tradition of nationhood, Ireland, through us, summons her children to her flag and strikes for her freedom"

    Irish Proclamation



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,331 mike12


    I'm not sure a 18 will score much different over the year no matter what he does.

    He can still be on the green in 4 and make his point or 2.
    If he lays up no guarantee he will hit the green in 3 so has to get up and down for 2.
    He still has to get over the lake so can still go in and then it's a definite scratch.
    If he is crap wedge player then he should go for it 100% of the time.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,832 ✭✭✭ DuckSlice


    My course management is terrible and its something I need to improve on.

    An issue I have is I only hit my 3 wood 210/220 which on a long tight (440ish yards) par 4 leaves me trying to hit a hard 3 wood to get on in 2. so I usually go with the driver. My home course doesn't have any tress and is a an open enough links so I don't have to think much about course management but when I play other courses it kills me.

    I think an issue with a lot of the higher handicapped golfers I see is the don't know how far they hit there clubs. taking irons for par3's they cant reach with their driver etc.


  • Registered Users Posts: 352 ✭✭ GolfNut33


    Thanks for all the replies lads, a lot of good points made.


    It's just that I see some many bad decisions being made that i think its something that can be improved on relatively quickly and a lot of effort goes in to lessons and club fitting (correctly) and course management tends to be forgotten.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,051 ✭✭✭ Dbu


    GolfNut33 wrote: »
    Thanks for all the replies lads, a lot of good points made.


    It's just that I see some many bad decisions being made that i think its something that can be improved on relatively quickly and a lot of effort goes in to lessons and club fitting (correctly) and course management tends to be forgotten.

    All well and good if you are a low handicap golfer and can hit every iron and wood out of the centre and know how far they travel.
    If you are a high HC golfer, just go hit it and enjoy it


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,056 ✭✭✭ IK09


    Ive been back playing golf for all of 3 weeks but it seems to me that its really hard to comment on course management.

    I can see why the "safe" approach would be best for some people. I love the feel of the higher irons 7-P. So for me I would have no problem laying it up to a spot where my game is stronger.

    I can also see why someone else would try and go straight for the green, maybe theyre not comfortable chipping and maybe they are excellent with a putter.

    In my probably oversimplified and under informed opinion, its difficult to judge someones course management without taking into account their specific game.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 19,590 ✭✭✭✭ PARlance


    Try not to hit it into trouble and if you do, just make sure you get it out.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,931 ✭✭✭ spacecoyote


    PARlance wrote: »
    Try not to hit it into trouble and if you do, just make sure you get it out.

    I like that, its crude, but actually fairly sensible.

    I don't know that I agree with the comment around, if your handicap is high, just switch the brain off & swing at everything. On the 1 day in 20 when everything clicks, maybe you have a great round. But on the other 19 days, you'll just end up getting angry & frustrated. I think people enjoy golf more when they're playing & scoring well. And I think that using a bit more strategy will end up with improved scores, and as a result, more enjoyment of their golf.

    I think at the higher handicap level (18 & up), a sensible approach is to try make sure that you are on the green in one less than par. You have at least one shot of every hole, so on in 1 under par means a 2-putt is 2 points in a stableford comp. If the odd 1-putt drops, you end up with a 3-pointer.

    Before someone takes it too literally & says I'm suggesting someone doesn't go for the green on a par 3 off the tee, or not take on a green on a par 4 if they're in the middle of the fairway with a short iron in their hand, etc... I'm not suggesting that. I'm suggesting that if you can, as PARlance eloquently put it, make sure you get out of trouble, and give yourself a chance of getting on the green with your next shot, then, I think, on average, your scores will improve.

    When I took up golf I would have taken a more direct, have a lash at it, approach. Back then my handicap was higher (started at 22) and found that I when I switched my strategy I started to consistently hit buffers & pick up cuts.

    Now, I am trying to be much more conscious of my strategy when I play. Though the targets have probably shifted. If I find myself in trouble, I might still employ the target of getting on in one under par for the hole, and trying to at worst make a bogey. But that is more a reactive strategy. My strategy now is more to try reduce my chances of finding trouble hitting balls in to greens, so I tend to not take on sucker-pins, take my distance to the back-side of the green, and my line at the centre of the green. I'll play more aggressively with targets with a wedge in my hand.

    I also try to leave myself a club in to greens that I'm happy with on holes, like trying to leave a full wedge in on approach to a par 5, rather than leave a 70-80yrd pitch.

    I think I had a pro say it at a lesson something along the lines of playing with an approach that his conservatively aggressive. In essence, play your golf with conservative targets, but hit aggressive shots at those targets (I'm paraphrasing a lot there, but hopefully it makes sense as a concept)


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,167 ✭✭✭ slingerz


    etxp wrote: »
    My course management is terrible and its something I need to improve on.

    An issue I have is I only hit my 3 wood 210/220 which on a long tight (440ish yards) par 4 leaves me trying to hit a hard 3 wood to get on in 2. so I usually go with the driver. My home course doesn't have any tress and is a an open enough links so I don't have to think much about course management but when I play other courses it kills me.

    I think an issue with a lot of the higher handicapped golfers I see is the don't know how far they hit there clubs. taking irons for par3's they cant reach with their driver etc.

    What are you playing off? I would think it may be the case where you are probably not meant to be able to get on in 2 in that case.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,832 ✭✭✭ DuckSlice


    slingerz wrote: »
    What are you playing off? I would think it may be the case where you are probably not meant to be able to get on in 2 in that case.

    I play off 10. Lowest i have been is 9. I compensate for my lack of distance in a good short game.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,167 ✭✭✭ slingerz


    etxp wrote: »
    I play off 10. Lowest i have been is 9. I compensate for my lack of distance in a good short game.

    Well with a good short game a more prudent approach would be to lay up short in two and look to get up and down for par?


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,832 ✭✭✭ DuckSlice


    slingerz wrote: »
    Well with a good short game a more prudent approach would be to lay up short in two and look to get up and down for par?

    that probably would be the best approach. certainly would mean more chance of being in a decent spot for my 2nd shot on a tight long par4.


  • Registered Users Posts: 118 ✭✭ Barnseire


    I played in our club fourball a couple of years ago with a friend off 17. I was off 7 at the time. As we played he was asking advice which I freely gave. It's funny we thought about our own course in very different ways. With his game, I was always thinking about where would leave him the easiest next shots, whereas he was looking at pins and trying to get straight at them. We won the comp and his handicap came down to 14 over the course of he year :-). Course management is different for different players withe different abilities.


  • Registered Users Posts: 928 ✭✭✭ billy3sheets


    There's a lot to course management besides the go-for-the-green scenarios. There's a lot can be learned from snooker players attitude of always thinking 1 or 2 shots ahead.
    What will my next shot be?

    How does 300 yds break down - 2 x 7 irons, 6 iron & 9 iron, 5-wood/wedge? Combinations will be different for players of different abilities, even for same player on different holes/courses/competitions or how their currrent form is.

    I think the important thing is, and the point the OP is making, is think about it, consider your options, don't just grab the biggest club always.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,331 mike12


    I think a lot of golfers overestimate their ability to hit a shorter club off the tee and be on the fairway.

    Often all that will happen is they are in trouble just further from the green.

    The lay up and try and make par should be lay up and make bogie the best players in the world only get up and down 50% of the time, for a 18 handicapper he will make bogie most of the time.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 24,632 ✭✭✭✭ TitianGerm


    If I think my way around the course I do much better. There's holes I know I can give myself a birdie attempt and make par otherwise, then there's others I'll happily take a bogey.

    I'm off 18 and don't hit the ball very far. From 100-110 I can usually hit the ball fairly close.

    For example

    First Par 3 in Bunclody is a 3 wood for me off the whites so I'd usually hit short of the green and left so I don't end up in the water. Gives me a short chip up the green and a decent chance to make par. If I go at the green I'm bringing the water into play and would be unlikely to make bogey if I do end up in the drink. The risk v reward isn't worth it.

    The 6th is similar, I hit 3 wood off the tee to get to the corner and 110-120 into the green. Would be disappointed walking off unless I made par.

    On the 9th I'd hit 5 wood (iron if a strong wind helping) to leave myself 100 to the green. If I hit driver I'm risking missing the fairway as the rough tightens up around where I'd land my driver and even if I hit the fairway I'm leaving myself a distance I'm just not comfortable with.

    Saying that I'm still struggling to hit 36 points but that's more consistency as I'm not playing often enough at the moment.


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