What is your strategy for playing golf?
Strategy begins long before you reach the 1st tee. And it doesn’t end until after the final putt is holed.
Do you have a strategy for how you are going to play the golf course? By strategy, we mean have you ever actually sat down and thought about the best way for you to shoot your best, stress-free score?
Or, do you do what most golfers do and hit driver as hard as you can on every par-4 and 5 and see what happens after that?
If you do have a strategy, where and when does it start? Does your strategy include how you are going to prepare both mentally and physically or do you generally just wait until you get to the 1st tee?
What you do before you head to the 1st tee can and will influence your attitude and performance on the golf course.
A bad attitude is like a flat tyre: You can’t go anywhere until you change it.
How many times have you gone out on the course without hitting any shots on the range to warm up beforehand only to play terribly for the first few holes before you find your game?
Essentially, you are using the first few holes as warm-up holes, by which time you have run up a couple of double bogies, duffed a couple of chips and three-putted twice. Score ruined. We’ve all been there but this scenario can be avoided if you prepare properly.
Club golfers the world over spend a disproportionate amount of time focussing on how they are going to hit their ball compared to where they are going to hit it. Perhaps more importantly, they spend even less time thinking about why they are going to try to hit it to a certain spot on the fairway or green.
Successful tournament professionals, on the other hand, pay a lot of attention to where and why they are going to hit their shots, not just how.
If you look at the yardage books that these guys use, you will see there is an incredible amount of detail. Distances to and over certain fairway bunkers and water hazards.
How far it is before they run out of fairway? How long is the green from front to back? Where are the slopes are on the greens?
No laser or GPS device, as good as they are, can yet tell you how much green you have behind the flag or where the slopes on the greens are.
Tour yardage books are incredibly detailed and enable players to make informed decisions. No guesswork here.
“What you do before you head to the 1st tee can and will influence your attitude and performance on the golf course.”
We understand that not everywhere you play will have an amazing course guide or planner.
If they don’t, why not make one of your own? It is an incredibly insightful experience and something you may want to consider. You will discover some subtle nuances about your home course that you were previously unaware of.
You may think because you have played a certain course dozens of times that you know every blade of grass and grain of sand like the back of your hand. The chances are that there are many aspects you have never even noticed.
If you are walking around with your head down, cursing your luck about that bad break you had on the previous hole when your ball bounced into the greenside bunker, you will see very little other than the fact your shoes could probably do with a clean.
Excerpt from The Lost Art of Playing Golf, which is available now at thelostartofgolf.com in hardback and Kindle formats.