Most golfers don’t realize that the main secret to a good golf game is not to be just a big hitter off the tee, a great chipper around the green, or a great putter. These are obvious stealths to any low handicap golfer. The true secret to a predictable lower score is the tricks to golf management. Power seems to be the big attraction in golf, but pros like Tiger Woods, Phil Michelson, and Sergio Garcia rely on their golf management skills to truly shoot lower, more predictable scores. Here are the top ten golf management rules you should put in your bag before the very first swing.
1) Find a club that you can consistently hit in your bag, regardless of lean, if it’s a 7 iron or a 5 wood or a 4 iron it doesn’t matter. For the beginning golfer these clubs are necessary because they will always allow you to advance the ball with predictability. Golfers often try to use too much club or use clubs they can’t hit to try to make shots that will only turn out with more negative results than positive. So when you’re in doubt of the club to use, pull out your most predictable club and advance the ball.
2) Don’t try to make the miracle shot! If you possess the skills of a Tiger Woods than take a rip. Sure, once in a while it works but most of the time it will end up costing you many more strokes than it’s worth. So do the smart thing and take an easy shot of punching out or dropping the ball for relief. You will find that at the end of the round your scores will be lower by staying disciplined and getting back into play first.
3) When you finally reach the green there are several tricks that will help save you strokes. One is to always try to miss putts to what is called the high side of the hole. If the putt is breaking from the right to the left the ball never has a chance of going in if it misses on the low side low side of the cup. If you concentrate on making your putts, miss on the high side of the hole the ball has the highest probability of going in.
4) Ever hear the saying “never up never in”? If, when putting, the ball doesn’t reach the hole it has a 100% chance of not going in. Concentrate on making sure your putt reaches or goes past the hole on every putt. A two foot putt coming back is the same as a two foot putt being short, except that the putt that was long had a chance to go in!
5) Reading greens is a must in golf management. Not spending a few minutes to understand how the greens will move is a novice mistake. “Does the putt go right to left, left to right, uphill, or downhill?” are the first things to determine before addressing the ball. Not concentrating on that basic fundamental will surly add up to more three putts and needless higher scores.
6) Chipping around the greens can be as important as putting if you’re not the Phil Michelson or Tiger Woods types that can use a variety of clubs around the green from lob wedges to hybrids. The first thing to do is find the one club that is predictable and comfortable in your hands. Try a 9, 8, 7 iron or a wedge but find the club that gives you the loft and the trajectory of the club that you can control. The more you play with a predictable club the faster you will learn to hit other shots with other clubs.
7) If you’re in the fairway, make sure to understand the ball positioning in relationship to your feet. Is the ball above my feet or below my feet? Is it uphill or downhill from my feet? These differences will determine which way the ball will want to go naturally and help you to understand properly lining up your shot. Ball below your feet, as an example, naturally will go right. By understanding this, the correct thing to do is to aim to the left to compensate.
8) Know your distances with both how far each of your clubs goes and how far you are on every shot. Not knowing exactly how far each club goes or how far away from the hole you are will cause you unnecessary shots and raise your scores.
9) Stay below the hole. The easiest putt to make on any green is the straight uphill putt, but chipping and putting to remain below the hole will dramatically increase you success.
10) Know the rules. Not knowing the rules of golf will create automatic strokes in your game unnecessarily and in some cases may cost you the game.
Golf is a difficult game to become good at, but if you want to get an edge and lower your scores without even changing your game apply these basic rules and you should see your average score drop on its own.