You hit the golf ball well. Your short game is solid. What is preventing you from becoming an elite golfer? The answer may be your golf course strategy.
Have you ever heard the golf term “range player”? It refers to a golfer that can hit “all of the shots” during practice but doesn’t get the same results on the golf course.
This could happen because of golf nerves or because of poor course management. Improving your golf course strategy will make sure you are never called a “range player”.
We want to help you take your game to the next level. It is not about changing your golf swing, but instead, altering how you approach your next round.
We can help you save strokes and break 80 or even break par! Let’s get started.
Who Is This Advanced Golf Course Strategy For?
Before we dive in, let’s define the type of golfer this golf course strategy will help. This is intended for an advanced player.
You are a skilled golfer but are struggling to consistently shoot in the 70s or play well in tournaments. You practice every week but aren’t seeing the improvement you want.
If this sounds like you, our advanced golf course strategy can help you take the next step!
On the other hand, if you are still striving to break 100, check out our article on golf strategy for beginners.
There is no doubt that your approach to the game of golf needs to change as your golf handicap starts to drop!
7 Advanced Golf Course Strategy Tips
If you are currently shooting 80, these tips can get you down to 75. Already shooting 75? This advice can get you under par!
1. Stay Away From The Big Numbers
Nothing shocking here. It is hard to make birdies and if you want to shoot a low score you need to avoid making a double bogey or higher.
Bogey’s don’t kill your scorecard. You can recover from them, but doubles and triples are tough.
First things first, keep your golf ball in play. Going out of bounds or losing your golf ball is the quickest way to make a big number.
When you are having a bad hole, try to make it an “easy” bogey. If you have a 30-foot putt for par, make sure you lag it close to the hole.
If you find yourself in a tricky spot around the green, make sure your chip finds the putting surface.
You may not be happy when you make a bogey, but a great “bogey save” can prevent your round from flying off the rails.
2. Understand Your Miss
Dr. Bob Rotella is a sports psychologist that works with PGA tour professionals on their mental game and he wrote one of golf’s great books (Golf Is Not A Game Of Perfect).
We love his quote about the game – “Golf is about how well you accept, respond to, and score with your misses much more so than it is a game of your perfect shots”.
Playing elite golf is not about your perfect shots. It’s about your ability to play your poor ones.
How well do you understand your miss? When you hit a bad shot what typically happens to the ball?
Is your miss a pull or a push? Does it hook or does it slice? If you know what your bad shots will do, you can incorporate this into your golf course strategy.
For example, if 7 out of 10 drives go down the middle, but the other 3 tend to a bit to the right, you can simply aim down the left side of the fairway.
Your straight drives will find the left side of the fairway and your misses will be on the right side of the fairway.
Golf professionals will often call this golf course strategy “eliminating one side of the course”.
In other words, if you know you will never miss to the left, you can aim left and let the ball curve back to the right.
3. Play Easy Holes
In order to shoot in the 70s you must make a lot of pars. To do this consistently, you need to play a bunch of easy holes.
Our definition of an easy hole. You hit the fairway. You hit the green with your approach. You two-putt and head to the next tee.
This type of low-stress hole is critical to your golf course strategy. If every hole is hard and you are scrambling, you will make mistakes late in your round.
A round of golf takes 4-5 hours and staying focused for that entire time is a challenge. Easy holes give you a chance to relax.
Every round of golf includes hard/risky shots, but do your best to limit stress and you will notice your scores start to drop.
4. Save Strokes With Your Short Game
Your golf course strategy cannot be to hit every green in regulation. This simply isn’t possible.
This means that there will be times in every round when you must rely on your short game. Save par from the bunker or get up and down from the rough.
There are two ways to get up and down. You can hit a great chip or you can make a great putt. You typically don’t need both.
The key is to consider your options and pick the correct type of chip shot to give yourself the best possible chance at making the par.
Do you need to try a risky shot like a flop or can you save par with a bump-n-run or “texas wedge”(putter from off the green)?
When it comes to your short-game golf course strategy it is part execution and part selecting the correct shot to play.
To be an elite player you must have an elite short game.
5. Risk vs. Reward: Pick Your Spots To Be Aggressive
Advanced golf course strategy is not always about playing conservatively. You do need to make some birdies and at times, be aggressive.
The key is to pick the right spots. Ask yourself these questions.
If you execute the aggressive shot does it impact your score? Does it significantly increase your chances of making a birdie?
You should do a quick “risk vs. reward” analysis prior to most golf shots, but there are some that are more important than others.
For example, when you are trying to reach a par 5 in two shots. Let’s walk through this specific scenario.
Reward: If you hit the green in two, you have a putt for eagle and a simple two-putt will give you birdie. That is a nice reward!
Risk: what trouble is around the green? Is there a lake (hazard) or out-of-bounds?
Your decision is simple. Is the risk associated with the shot not worth the potential reward?
We love the idea of playing with confidence and aggression, but your golf course strategy should be based on how you feel about the shot.
Do you feel confident you can execute it or are you worried about the trouble? Be honest with yourself.
If you are worried about the shot, you should probably lay up. You can always hit your 3rd shot close and still make a birdie.
The key – be aggressive when the shot “suits your eye” and you have confidence in executing your golf swing.
6. Recognize Nerves & Manage Them
It happens to all of us. A tricky shot or an important putt get the butterflies flying in your stomach. Golf nerves can come out of nowhere.
Nerves aren’t a bad thing. It means you care about your round and want to play well.
Your golf course strategy needs to include a plan to handle your nerves. You can be nervous and still execute great golf shots.
Step one is to acknowledge them. Recognize that you are feeling unsure about the next shot. There are several techniques for being successful when you feel pressure.
First, make sure you have a consistent pre-shot routine. Focus on your routine and execute the shot.
Second, take a deep breath and relax. Shake out the nerves. Don’t hit the shot until you calm your mind.
Finally, practice makes perfect. If you get nervous in golf tournaments, the best thing you can do is play more competitive golf. You will get used to it by doing it more.
7. Grind, Grind, Grind
This is our last advanced golf course strategy tip and it is the most important. To be an elite player you must learn to grind.
Every stroke you save helps. Don’t get frustrated with a bad start and give up on your round. Grind out the best possible score every time you play.
No one is better at this than Tiger Woods. In his prime, he almost never missed a cut on the PGA Tour. He never quit on a round. He fought until the bitter end of every event.
This golf course strategy takes great mental strength. It is human nature to lose focus and concentration when things aren’t going well.
Golf is a lonely sport. It is just you and a little white ball. Only you can hold yourself accountable. Only you know if you truly gave every shot 100%.
You can grind your way to being a better golfer. You can grind your way to your best round ever.
We hope our advanced golf course strategy will help you become the player you want to be! Good luck and play well.