Course Management

Develop a Game Plan On Every Hole You Play

By Chris Wallace, The Golf Channel Swing Fix

One of the best ways to improve your golf scores is to develop a game plan before you tee off on every hole you play.

Too many golfers just instinctively grab their driver, take a rip at it and then go figure it out from there, which is the wrong approach.
Before you make a swing on each of the 18 tee boxes you’ll visit during any given round, decide exactly what you want to accomplish on that hole based on various factors, including course conditions, weather conditions, pin locations and possibly even how you’re playing that day.
Maybe even more crucial, and often overlooked, is that mapping out your strategy on each hole should actually start at the green and then work back to the tee.
For example, if the hole location on the par-4 you’re playing is back left, you’re going to want to try to position your tee ball down the right side of the fairway to set up a good angle for your approach shot.
If you’re playing a short par-4, even if the hole isn’t all that tight, and the pin is on the front of the green and tucked over a bunker, you might not want to hit a driver and end up too close to the green, leaving yourself a half-swing wedge shot that you can’t spin. Instead, maybe take a 3-wood off the tee and leave yourself a full shot into the flag, one you can get close with more regularity.
If you’re playing a long par-5, the wind is into your face and you’re not going to be able to get home in two, don’t automatically hit driver if that club might bring trouble (bunkers, water, trees, etc.) into play. Take less club, safely get the ball in the fairway, execute a sound second shot and leave yourself with a scoring club and a good angle into the green.
Shooting good scores and stringing together several good holes is all about not only keeping your ball in play but also positioning it in proper spots on the course.
If you get in the habit of committing to a game plan on each hole, the added focus is also likely to help you execute better shots more often. Try this approach the next time you play and more success will be the likely result.