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Miscellaneous - Course Management

While recently on the golf course during a Pro-Am event, I was shocked at the lack knowledge a particular golfer I was playing with had in terms of course strategy. The gentleman in question was a good golfer (about a 12 handicap) but it took only a quick question on my part to realize that by applying some course management skills he could quickly and easily get his handicap down to single digits.

The situation arose on a par 5 of 527 yds. After hitting a good ball off the tee he was faced with an unlucky uphill and side hill lie. The ball was well above his feet. As he had about 280 yds remaining to reach the green he promptly took out his 5 wood and lined up the shot. Sitting in the cart I could not contain myself as I watched him aim the forthcoming shot down to a very narrow sliver of fairway which had water on the left and deep bunkers on the right. I interrupted him (hoping that he wouldn't mind) and plainly asked what his strategy was.

He replied that he was trying to advance the ball as far down the narrow fairway as possible in hopes of having between 70-100 yds remaining.

I suggested he might be better off hitting an iron to the 150 yard marker, which would leave a much easier shot - especially given the difficult lie he was facing.

He looked at me somewhat skeptically but at the same time intrigued. After a moments thought he went back to his bag and selected a 9 iron which he promptly placed within about 5 yards from the 150 yard marker. This put him in a position to hit directly over the water hazard with a full swing of a 7 iron. He did so and ended up with a tap in par putt to finish the hole. After finishing the hole and getting back into our carts he thanked me for getting him his par. "I guess I have some learning to do about golf strategy."

I replied, "Too may golfers want to hit the ball as far as they can regardless of the dangers and the difficult situations that result. It is always a good idea to think at least one shot ahead. When faced with a par 5 with lots of trouble, play it like a par 5. Don't always try and make birdie the hard way, more often than not you will probably make bogey or worse."

All golfers enjoy the game more when they lower their score, to do so takes more than swinging the club and hitting a long ball.



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