Junior Golf: Winning Course Strategy

imageIn today’s Monday Mulligan we will take a look a winning course strategy that you and your son can use during every round of golf he plays. The pros dissect golf courses in great detail so they can have a strategic plan to effectively work their way around the course. (photo jennleforge.com)

Knowing what shot to hit and where you want it to end up is very important in order to win golf tournaments. The pros study their next tournament course in great detail and I don’t know exactly what they do or how they do it. What I do know is some elementary basic things that you and your son can start doing at virtually any skill level that can help him learn how to have a plan to attack a golf course and can help build his confidence during a round.

The ultimate goal is to shoot the lowest score possible. Part of the plan to do that is to study the course ahead of time and figure out what club to hit on every tee box and where you want the ball to end up in order to be in a good position to hit an effective next shot. Many courses have yardage books that give yardages between, from and to various points on each hole. This can include tee boxes, greens, bunkers, hazards, etc. A yardage book can be a valuable asset. Buy 1 if available, they are usually $5-$10. A practice round and range finder along with a yardage book are more than sufficient for any junior golfer to be able to “plan out” each hole.

Another benefit of having a strategy for playing a course is that it will give confidence to your son. Confidence can fluctuate during the 18 holes and every small thing to help build confidence ahead of the round is important.

Here are 2 things you can do with a junior golfer of any skill level, even a 6 or 7 year old. Look at the very first shot they will hit. If it is a progressive start-read tee times, ask if your son is starting on #1 or #10. The 2 of you decide what club he should hit based on what the 2nd shot on the hole requires. Have your son hit that 1st shot on the range before he tees off. If it is a shotgun start, find out what hole he starts on and take the same approach as above. The 2nd thing your son can do is find the 1st par 3 he will play. Determine what club he will hit and where he would like the ball to end up. Practice this shot on the range as well. Just practicing these 2 shots can do wonders for your son ‘s confidence during his round. Even the pros will tell you they are a bit nervous on #1 tee and while they would love to hit a great shot, they will be pleased with a decent shot, in play, with an OK leave for their next shot. Proper preparation is a big deal. (photo tomkitedesign.com)

imageReal-life example: S3 and I played a practice round at the beautiful Comanche Trace Golf Club in Kerrville, Texas, to prepare for a US Amateur Qualifier. There was a short par 3 that had the potential to be particularly deceptive. Prevailing winds would be helping from tee to green, but you could only tell if the wind was blowing by looking at the balconies of condos behind the green. The green itself was way downhill in a hole and was shaped running from about 11:00o’clock to 5:00 o’clock. However the back left ⅓ of the green sloped downhill into a water hazard. So the miss on this green was center to right and mercifully the pin placement was front right instead of back left. Understand how easy it could be to hit too much club, or pull a shot to the back left or have a strong wind blowing behind you that you could not feel or be aware of and suddenly you have an easy-looking tee shot over the green in a water hazard. Dad and Mom, this stuff happens to the pros and it can and will happen to your junior golfer or a member of his group. Yes, it’s golf.

See you on #1 tee looking confident… Sam

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