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BuckeyeNut

bad course strategy.......it destroys so many rounds for high handicappers....

178 posts in this topic

I've seen it a million times...It amazes me how many weak golfers have no concept of proper club selection.   IE...it may be a short par4.....the easiest damn par 4 on the course!!!.......IE..if they lay short of 100yds the fairway is wide as hell...then wedge on......definite birdie chance.

but no......they try to drive into a narrow neck.....the result is always in trouble.  I just don't get it...........it's like self mutilation on the golf course....

Some people are meant to shoot big numbers.................

Lets say you?...

Penny for your thoughts.....

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I completely agree! I was playing with two guys I joined up with on the course the other day and they were hitting their drivers on every hole.  They were actually very good players with their irons but a lot of their drives would go astray.  They were pulling out the driver on a 310 yard par 4 with trees on both sides and they both ended up in trouble.

Meanwhile I was hitting 5 irons and 3 hybrids off the tee the whole round and even though I did not have near the distance they did I usually ended up with a better score for the hole.

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It always amazes me...my hc is lower than 98% of golfers, but I never offer advice unless asked.

I know my course......and bite my tongue unless asked.  When they do, they don't follow it.  LOL......they'll pull a bonehead club from the tee trying to reach a tiny gap.....crazy stuff......They will ask advice, and I'll tell them what the shot requires.....and they never pull that club.

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Originally Posted by BuckeyeNut

It always amazes me...my hc is lower than 98% of golfers, but I never offer advice unless asked.

I know my course......and bite my tongue unless asked.  When they do, they don't follow it.  LOL......they'll pull a bonehead club from the tee and try to reach a tiny gap.....crazy stuff......



I hate that too! I was playing with a guy and he kept asking me for advice because I am a member at the course and it was his first time there...several times I recommended a shorter club and he decided to pull the driver out anyway.  It was pretty hard not to laugh when he hooked 3 drives in a row into the pond on a 370 yard par 4 that plays even shorter than that.

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LOL..it may be something as easy as a par 5 layup....I'll give them a target yardage........and they blow it past into a hazard!!!!

I'm thinkin to myself'....I told you to hit it only 150yds to lay short of that creek.....and you hit a wood?????

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Course strategy is something I've only been working on a short while. My current "goal" for a hole I play will be to lay it up 100y from the green knowing a nice easy 50 wedge will get me on with birdie chance. Even at my high handicap I don't understand people who take dumb shots, e.g. on the first hole at my local course:

286y Par 4 dogleg left.

The fairway starts off at 25 yards wide and reaches 40 yards wide at it's widest point with OOB all down the left and thick thick rough all down the right.
You have a tee shot choice to lay up at the top of a hill @ 200 yards on the widest part of the fairway or go for it.

If you go for it you have the second cut for 25 yards down the hill to a stream which is 5 yards wide and then a 35y deep second cut landing area. Any drive between the 200 layup and 230 and you're in the stream. Any drive more than 265 you're OOB.

I STILL see people grab their driver and wallop a shot that either slices way off to the right or goes to long or drops too short or even if it's a perfect shot it still sits in the second cut leaving a more difficult shot than just sitting stop the hill. For me it's always a simple 4h off the tee leaving a nice easy view downward to the green and an easy wedge into the green.

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As a high handicap player... I find myself struggling with things like this all the time.  Not the obvious, like you guys are pointing out, but some more subtle things.  For example:

A course I've played dozens of times... and I reach the 7th hole playing really well.  It's a not-too-long Par 5 that gives the player a shot at reaching in 2 with a good drive.  Well... I proceeded to lose 2 balls in the woods on the left before trudging back to the tee and blasting a ball way out right. I followed that by making what would have been a par, but instead, was a quadruple bogey.

Afterwards, I looked back at the hole and realized that if I'd just hit hybrid, 5 iron, 8 iron... I could have played the hole SAFELY instead of being ultra-aggressive, and it probably would have resulted in a par.  That hole started a string of poor holes throughout the rest of the tournament that cost me any shot at the title.

I struggle with wrapping my head around the safe play.  I haven't figured out WHY I struggle with it, but... I just can't talk myself out of hitting driver off the tee on a Par 5, regardless of if I can reach in 2 or not.  It's something that, if I worked on, I could shave probably 3-5 strokes a round off my game, but I just don't think about it at that time.

CY

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One tip that helped me a lot is play the course the way it's meant to be played. Lay up when the course lets you, attack the middle of the green instead of gunning for flags, etc. Holes usually let you play it safe away from water, fairway bunkers, and hazards, you just have to recognise it and play for it.

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I can agree with what everyone is saying.

However for me, I do change my course management depending on what I am playing. If I am playing by myself and just practicing, or playing a casual round with a buddy, I will sometimes play shots that I know are too risky just for the opportunity to see what happens. Hitting risky shots is exciting, and more fun that fairway, green, fairway, green, etc. It gives me a good idea of just where my limits are and gives me a chance to hit some of those crazy "save the hole" shots. I usually get excited when I get a chance to hit some crazy low punch  hook, a 190 yard high slice back to the green, or a super high flop shot over trees and onto a fast green. It's fun to be inventive and try things.

However, if I have money on the line, am in a serious round, or a tournament I won't even think of taking those chances. I play to my strengths, don't hit nearly as many drivers, don't go for nearly as many pins, etc.

For me at least, it can be fun to let loose and try to push my boundaries. It does help me out when I am in a serious round and really get stuck somewhere because I have the experience with those shots.

It's all about balance reallly. There are certain risks that are just silly.

For example, #2 on my home course is a short par 4 (354 yds). It is tightly lined with trees on both sides. I always hit a 3 iron off of the tee so I can then hit a full PW into the green. It's not negotiable. Even when testing my limits, it doesn't make sense. So I hit a driver and have 50-60 yards left... great now I'm in the stupid range of half swings with wedges.

Another example. #10 on my home course is a short par 4 (343 yds) with a dogleg right and a creek running through the dogleg. Due to elevations it plays shorter than that. The creek is 100yds from the green. There are huge trees at the dogleg. I "can" hit a driver over those trees and to the fairway on the other side. However it is super tight (the fairway narrows and is sloped to the rough there giving you an uneven lie even in the fairway). Do I go over the creek? Never. I hit a 4 iron and stay short of the creek every time, hit a PW or SW into the green. Have I taken a driver over the creek? Yes, in practice a handful of times. After I saw what happened, experienced it, I quit doing it. I haven't done it in probably 3-4 years, but when I get grouped up with people I see people trying to clear that creek all the time...  just to put it in the water or put themselves in an even worse position.

As an example of a risk that I think is fine to take in casual play, I will usually go after every single pin when I am really just practicing. Cut it into this hole, draw it into that one... etc. If I miss the green and short side myself, it gives me an opportunity to try the saving shot and see how it goes. It can help me gauge what pins I can and can't go for in serious or tournament play.

Just my thoughts...

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I used to struggle with this when I was a bit younger. I can think of one hole in particular that I used to struggle with. The first hole of my home course is a long par 5 that has a creek running across the fairway somewhere about 260-265 yards out. When I was in high school, I was a pretty long hitter and used to try to carry that creek every time. It was a high risk, low reward thing, really. I could carry it about 1 out of every 5 times, but even if I did that, I didn't have a realistic chance of making the green in 2 as I was still a very well struck 3 wood from the green. I say well struck because it was still a good distance away and the fairway was very narrow in front of the green which is protected by bunkers on the right and left. Once I finally learned that I could take a wood or even an iron off the tee and go 3W-3i-PW or 3i-3i-8i my scores went from 9-10 on that hole to 5-6.

I learned from that strategy and improved my scores everywhere. Course strategy is one of the most important tools a golfer can have.

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As a higer handicap player, I feel as though being able to sucessfuly manage yourself around the golf course is an easy way to knock off a significant amount of strokes to your score with out changing swing mechanics. The opening hole at my home course is an incredibly short Par 4. At just a mere 289 yards I rarely and I mean RARELY hit anything more than my 2hybrid off the tee. It's an extremely easy hole where the only trouble is the right side where there's heavy rough and many trees. This trouble is located about 260 yards from the tee. I hit my 2hybrid about 210 and this puts me in absolutly perfect position with about a gap wedge. I see too many times players try to drive this hole and fail miserabley and find themselves taking a 6 or 7 on this easy opening hole when a 4 or 5 or even 3 is extremely easy to obtain with some safe play.

The second hole here is also an awfully easy Par 4 if you play it safe. It's another shorter par 4, about 355. It's a dog leg LEFT. On the right about 4 paces off the fairway plus the cart path is a rather large lake. To be at the 150 marker and have a look at the green you have to hit about a 200yd Tball. I usually take 2Hybrid off the and that leaves me with about 150 or so to the center of the green-a smooth 7iron. I see many players try to cut the corner and fail and either slice into the lake or land among the trees that line the left side of the dogleg. SMH at this kind of play.

This entire course is actually rather short, it's only about 5800 yards. I rarely take, or even need, driver off any tee here. I dont even take driver off the par 5's, with how short I am It's close to impossible to reach any of them into, so I just lay up to 90-100yds.

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I found that reading the book Elements of Scoring by Raymond Floyd really helped my course management.

One tip alone, while an obvious point,  has saved me a huge number of strokes: The first rule of being in trouble is to make sure you are NOT in trouble after your next stroke.

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The point of golf is to have fun. If you shoot a 110 or a 105, it doesn't matter most of the time. Talking about that eagle putt you missed by a foot might be worth the risk of getting a ten.

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I have been trying to teach my 14 year old daugther this, but it just goes in one ear and out the other.  She refuses to listen to anthing I say with regard to course mgmt, and as a result post big numbers on a couple of holes each nine.  I try to remind her that the hole she is playing is just as difficult for the rest of the field also, and that sometimes posting a bogey or at worse dbl bogey willl beat most of the field.

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Originally Posted by x129

The point of golf is to have fun. If you shoot a 110 or a 105, it doesn't matter most of the time. Talking about that eagle putt you missed by a foot might be worth the risk of getting a ten.



I agree the point of golf is to have fun but it is a lot harder to have fun when you are hitting it into the woods and scoring 10's.  I don't think thats worth the risk at all if your chances of actually getting to the green in two are 1/20.

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When I first started golfing I could shank an iron just as often as I could a driver.  So driver was an obvious choice off the tee for most distance.  It doesn't matter how you get there just as long as you get there.

I don't think its the strokes that get you into trouble that hurt golfers, but the strokes that they hit after they are in trouble.  If you drive it into trees, just chip out, and attack the green on your 3rd shot.

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I have figured that out from personal experience. For example, I often play with my dad and their is this one hole on the course we go to is a hole where its a narrow fairway with trees on both sides. He would always drive where as I would use a 3 wood. I would always go straight and he would end up in the trees. Finnaly, after me telling him time after time to try his 3 wood, he did. What do you know he wen't straight and knocked 5 strokes off his score that day.

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Originally Posted by parbreaker

...So I hit a driver and have 50-60 yards left... great now I'm in the stupid range of half swings with wedges...



Couldn't agree with you more.  When I stopped doing that I put the ball closer to the pin and eliminated the risk.

Of late I have been taking a lot of risks trying to find what holes are okay to be aggressive with and which must be played in a "boring" fashion.  This has me playing from many more bunkers and attempting shots I wouldnt normally have to take.  It can be frustrating because I am scoring anywhere from 5-8 strokes (penalties and punch outs add up quickly haha) higher per round, but I try to just keep myself focused on developing some feel in my game.

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