We all have favorite courses. Generally, these courses set up well for how you play, so you probably play well on them. But you should also play tough courses when you can—courses that are real challenges. Doing so is instructive.
The key to playing tough courses is having a good game plan—one that plays to your strengths and away from your weaknesses. To conquer a tough course, you also have to execute that plan. That’s not always easy.
Keeping the six golf tips below in mind when playing tough courses can make it easier to execute your game plan.
1. Identify Your Favorite Distance
If you’re like many golfers, you have a favorite distance with a wedge. Chances are you
hit the ball well from this distance. Capitalize on this knowledge when playing tough courses. Target that distance on long approach shots whenever you can. It will save you from having shots you may not be that good at.
2. Aim For The Tall Side of the Green
Getting short sided can kill you on a tough course. How do you avoid getting short sided in these situations? Aim for what Corey Pavin calls the “tall side of the green.” The tall side is the edge away from where the pin is. Often, this side is wide open. If you aim for this side and you miss to either side, chances are good you’ll have either an easy chip shot or a medium length putt.
3. Dominate Par 3s
If you’re serious about conquering tough courses, you must dominate the par 3s. Par 3s are a great opportunity to make pars and birdies. So you can’t let these holes beat you up. You have a good lie and you know the distance, so your options are clear. We make mastering par 3s a key focus for students in our golf lessons.
4. Stay Under Control
We all have a tendency to try miracle shots when we get in trouble—shots we’ve never practiced. These shots can cost you big time. Forget hitting miracle shots. Instead, take a club you hit well, focus on hitting the sweet spot, and take a controlled swing. The key is getting back in position to hit the next shot.
5. Master Your Hybrids
If you want to break 80—and lower your golf handicap—master your hybrids. They’re invaluable on many tough courses. You can hit them anywhere from 170 to 210 yards. You can even use them in the rough. And while hybrids are easier to hit than long irons, there’s a knack for hitting them: Pinch the ball down against the grass when hitting them, the way you would if you were hitting a 7-wood.
6. Be Careful Swapping Out Clubs
Sometimes golfers “swap out” clubs before playing tough courses. They’re looking to add a club that’s better suited to the course than the one they’re replacing. It’s a good idea, but you have to be careful. You could be replacing a club you hit well for one you don’t hit well. That’s not to your advantage. Make sure you’re proficient with any club you put in your bag.
Keeping these six golf tips in mind when you play tough courses can help you execute a good game plan. They’ll help you stay under control when the going gets tough and execute your game plan. And that can help you not only break 80, but also chop strokes off your golf handicap.
Jack Moorehouse is the author of the best-selling book “How To Break 80 And Shoot Like The Pros”, executive producer and director of the “How To Break 80 DVD Series”. He is NOT a golf pro, rather a working man that has helped thousands of golfers from all seven continents lower their handicap immediately. He has a free weekly newsletter with the latest golf tips, golf lessons and golf instruction.