The steady increase in the number of challenging holes in the
Lakes area in recent years has added many new elements of risk and reward to
every round of golf. Good course management skills are often not implemented
by the recreational golfer as they instead hit the latest Titanium drivers and
extra-long golf balls deep into the wetlands and woods around Brainerd. With
the high density of trees that are common along the fairways, many people
could lower their scores by making better decisions while still on the tee
Good course management skills are the cornerstone
of every successful round of golf. Why is it that even a great player like
Tiger Woods hits an iron or 3-wood off of holes with narrow landing areas? The
reason is that he is applying good course management concepts to his rounds.
While not everyone plays for the same stakes as the touring professionals,
fewer balls being lost would be a welcome change for many area golfers.
The decision on what club to hit off the tee is something we
are faced with on every hole. As we watch many players at Legacy Courses
we often see people swinging driver off of every Par 4 and Par 5-regardless of
the length of the hole. We also witness people getting into a lot of trouble
with this decision to always hit a wood. This is where better course
management can help lower scores. Especially on shorter Par 4's, or on Par 5's
that you are not going to reach in two shots, try hitting a club that will be
easier to keep in the fairway. On a hole that is only 320-350 yards long a
player does not need a 225-yard tee ball in order to have a chance at getting
the ball on the green in regulation. The premium on these holes is placed on
the accuracy of the tee shot, not just overall distance from the tee. I
recommend taking a 4 or 5 iron and taking most of the risk out of the tee shot
on holes of this nature. Having an iron in your hand should allow you to make
a smooth swing without the fear of hitting the ball wildly into the woods or
marsh. Better club selection off the tee will help you to hit more fairways
and a well-hit iron will still leave you inside of 150 yards to the green.
Although you may be a little further from the green for your second shot with
this approach, the lie you will find in the fairway will help you to get more
shots on the green in regulation.
Remember, if you are looking to lower your scores apply some
better course management decisions to your club selection on short Par 4's and
make sure to "Put the driver away and keep the ball in play!!"