By TONY BENNETT
To pit your weaknesses against the golf course strengths is a recipe for disaster, and yet, everyday, I see people do just that and expect to be successful. Let me explain further… . I suggest that you read this article with a pen and paper handy, and then you will be able to follow along and make your own game plan.
Like any sport, the tactics you adopt can make or break your game and, if you can get yours correct, then you will be more likely to win those important games.
Many readers are likely to play new courses over the next few days or weeks, and there are some key points that need to be remembered.
Perhaps the most important part of tactical awareness is to clearly identify the strengths and weaknesses of your game and the strengths and weaknesses of the course. Once this has been done properly, you can match your strength against the course’s weakness.
If you are a good driver of the ball, then give yourself an A, an average driver a B and a poor driver a C. Do the same for fairway woods, long, middle and short irons, wedge shots, sand play, chipping and putting. You will then have a chart that looks like the one below.
Skill Driver Fairway Long Middle Short Wedge Sand Chipping Putting
woods irons irons irons Play Play
Grade C B B B A A C B A
Now, do a similar chart for the golf course. If the fairways are very wide then grade them as a C, if they are very narrow then they should be an A, and so on: short holes a C and long holes an A. I’m sure you can understand that undulating greens are more difficult than flat greens, and deep bunkers are also harder to play from than shallow ones. Greens with water nearby are probably an A, while large greens are probably a C.
Fairway Green Length Bunker Trees Water Rough Green Green width size of hole Depth proximity length slope speed
Grade A A B C B C C B B
With these two charts of information you can make your plan.
Low risk = A Game against C Course
High risk = C Game against A Course
In the case above, I would advise you to use either fairway woods or long irons from the tee, to keep the ball on the fairway. Even if you cannot reach the greens with your approach, it is OK, as your wedge and short iron play is good. Likewise, you normally putt well and, on greens that are only a B, you should hole quite a lot of putts.
Unless you have no alternative, never employ your weakness against a golf course’s strength.
Next article: How to use your handicap
“GOLF” is written by Tony Bennett the head coach of Bennett’s Golf Learning Centres (BGLC), with centres located in Alto Golf, Alvor, Quinta da Ria, Tavira, Montado, Palmela and Santa da Serra, Madeira. For more information, advice on a specific point or general enquiry please write to [email protected] or call 932 524 253. You can also hear Tony every month on Kiss FM’s Straight Talk with Phil Gilbert.