Course Strategy For Golf

Does your course strategy fit your golf game?

What if there was a way to knock shots off your game without touching your swing at all? What if you could shoot consistently better scores and have a game plan for competitions which fills you with confidence for golf?

Golf is chaotic – we never know which golfer is going to turn up on the day. However, there are ways in which we can make sense of the chaos and find patterns which give us a statistical advantage. We can use simple statistics to A/B test our game and create our best golf ever.

Try a new course strategy for golf

Next time you are playing a practice round of golf, make it count. Use it as a form of information gathering in order to help you further your game for competition.

One of the ways you can do this is to play either an aggressive or a conservative strategy for the hole. An aggressive strategy might be

  • Taking a driver off the tee
  • Firing at the pin
  • Going for the green in two

A conservative strategy might include

  • Laying up short of the bunkers on a tee shot
  • Going for the middle of the green or safest part of the green
  • Playing every par five as a 3 shotter



Do you go aggressive (red) or conservative (blue)?

Try alternating each hole, doing one as aggressively as you can, and the next with a more conservative strategy. If the course is quiet, why not play 2 balls on each hole with the alternate strategies.

Now the clever part…

Rather than just going on gut instinct, keep your scores on each hole with each strategy. Log them into a file somewhere, and keep building the database of scores up over the course of a season.

When you have enough scores logged, you may start to see that you have a lower average score on each hole with different course strategies. For example, you may play the 8th hole 0.2 shots better on average when you play it conservatively.

While this doesn’t sound like a lot, if you get that amount of benefit on each hole, you may score up to 4 shots better per round with a better course strategy for golf.

A/B test your whole game

This is just one area in which you can test your golf in order to squeeze every last shot off your handicap. I have had players make crazy leaps in performance by doing this philosophy in lots of areas, such as where they place their attention over a shot, or what shape of shot to play into a certain hole scenario.

Adam wrote more about these ideas in his blog Adam Young Golf

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David MacKenzie

is a mental golf coach and lives in Washington DC. He is the founder of Golf State of Mind, a teaching program designed to help golfers condition their minds to overcome fear and play with confidence.

This Post Has One Comment

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    The DIY Golfer

    The “a/b” testing idea is a great idea, but I feel that you could take the exercise even further! What about creating simple rules for yourself while on the course? For example, if your dominant shot shape is a draw (right handed golfer), you might make a rule that for all pins on the left quadrant of the green, you will aim at the middle of the green and let the ball draw in, and for all pins on the right quadrant of the green, you go right at the flag. If you overdraw in each scenario, you will be completely fine.

    Also, it might be important to take into account the amount of trouble around the flag, and the green speed and firmness. If you’ve got hard and fast greens, it would be absolutely deadly to fire at every flag, because some short sided shots would be nearly impossible to get close. On the other hand, if you have slow and soft greens, it might payoff to fire at more flags, because regardless of where you end up, you’ll always have a chance to get a chip/pitch shot close.

    Just some thoughts…

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