A wise man once told me that good course management on a golf course will help shave strokes off your game.  The only problem was when my father was teaching me this lesson I was still young and dumb and wanted stand over the ball and hit is as hard and as far as I could.  It wasn’t until a few years later that I remembered the lesson that he taught me on the 10th hole at Francis Byrne Golf Course.  The lesson was basically to think about the risk in the shot you are about to hit, and is the risk worth the reward.  So can good course management help out your game?  Well here are some of my thoughts on managing a round that I have learned over the course of my golfing career either through playing or a playing partner. 

Most of the time on a par 5 I leave myself about 225 to 250 yards away from the green on my drive, assuming I hit the fairway (and that’s a big assumption).  If I do leave myself 225 yards out, I may be able to hit the green with a three wood, but I would have to hit it perfectly off the fairway, which doesn’t happen too often since I don’t hit the three wood too many times in my round.  Plus I just don’t feel comfortable hitting that club in that spot.  There was once a point in my young golfing career in which I always would have went for the green I would estimate 90% of the time I would put myself in great danger because of how inconsistently I hit that club and walking away from the par 5 with a 7 or 8 on the score card.  These days I pull out iron, which when I hit it leaves me about 75-100 yards away from the green.  I feel most comfortable from that distance on the course and feel that I have the best shot from that distance to walk away with either a birdie or a par, and worst case scenario a bogey.  Thats not to say I will never go for a green in two on a par 5, I am just saying that there is a time and a place to go for it, you just have to be smart about it. 

During any given round I can be a disaster off the tee, which usually leaves me in some treacherous spots on the course.  One of the toughest lessons I have learned on the course is to take your medicine when you hit an errant shot.  I used to be the type of golfer that thought I could hit the miracle shot through the tiny break in the trees by keeping the ball low, hooking around a tree and onto the green.  Yeah the type of shot that only Tiger of Phil can pull off.  The majority of the time I would hit the tree and the ball would land behind me in an even worse spot than I was just in.  I have learned over the course of years to play it “safe” and punch out of trouble even if it means hitting it sideways in order to give yourself a decent third shot.  My thinking here is I might hit a decent third shot and give myself a decent look at par, but chances are worst case scenario I am walking away with bogey, which I will take in that spot.        

Finally, look at the danger in front of you.  There are always shots on the course that look so inviting and tempting to try.  Don’t let the course fool you, it is usually these shots that if you miss you will find yourself in some serious trouble.  There inviting for a reason.  Take a step back and think if I miss my intended shot, what type of danger can I expect to be in?  This seems like common sense, but I see it time and time again on the golf course where people attempt to take dead aim at a pin that is tucked away in the back corner and surrounded by bunkers instead of aiming for the center of the green, or trying to hit a cut shot on a dog leg left when they haven’t hit a straight drive all round.   By playing the safer shot and avoiding the trouble the course brings, I believe gives us the best shot at shooting more consistent rounds.
 
A little golf humor for all my fellow golf freaks out there, this one really made me chuckle.

 

One day an Irishman, who had been stranded on a deserted island for over 10 years, saw a speck on the horizon. He thought to himself, 'It's certainly not a ship.' And, as the speck got closer and closer, he began to rule out the possibilities of a small boat or even a raft.

Suddenly there emerged from the surf a wet-suited black clad figure. Putting aside the scuba gear and the top of the wet suit, there stood a drop-dead gorgeous blonde! The glamorous blonde strode up to the stunned Irishman and said to him, 'Tell me, how long has it been since you've had a cigarette?'


 

'Ten years,' replied the amazed Irishman. With that, she reached over and unzipped a waterproofed pocket on the left sleeve of her wet suit, and pulled out a fresh pack of cigarettes. He takes one, lights it, and takes a long drag. 'Faith and begorra,'said the man, 'that is so good I'd almost forgotten how great a smoke can be!'

'And how long has it been since you've had a drop of good Irish whiskey' asked the blonde .

Trembling, the castaway replied, 'Ten years.' Hearing that, the blonde reaches over to her right sleeve unzips a pocket there and removes a flask and hands it to him. He opened the flask and took a long drink. 'Tis nectar of the gods!' stated the Irishman. 'Tis truly
fantastic!!!'

At this point the gorgeous blonde started to slowly unzip the long front of her wet suit, right down the middle. She looked at the trembling man and asked, 'And how long has it been since you played around?'

With tears in his eyes, the Irishman fell to his knees and sobbed; 'Sweet Jesus! Don't tell me you've got golf clubs  in there too!'
 
Proper golf etiquette seems to be extremely important to all people who play the game.  I know for me it took me some time to fully understand all of them.  Sure there were some simple ones like never talk during someone’s back swing but their were others that I learned over time such as when playing a recreational round of golf you should take no longer then two minutes to look for a lost ball.  Below are some additional tips in regards to proper golf course etiquette.

 
Golf Carts

Make sure you drive you golf carts with care.  Always pay attention to the signs on the course.  If a sign states not to drive past a certain point don’t.  Also never drive into sand traps, onto tee boxes and stay at least 15 yards from the green at all times.

 
Ball Hunting:

As stated above golfers playing a recreational round should only spend two minutes searching for a lost ball.  As a courtesy golfers in the group should all keep an eye on each others tee shots to help is finding balls faster (insert joke here).  It should be noted that the official rule states that a golfer has five minutes to find a lost ball, this was meant for tournament golf only.

 The Flag:

 

Always wait for all golfers to hit their ball onto the green before removing the flag stick from the hole.  When you remove the flag stick, be sure to place it down softly to ensure that the green is not damage.  Preferably the flag should be placed on the fringe, but if placed directly on the green be sure to be gently.  Finally if a player wants the flag stick to remain in when they are putting make sure to hold the flag so that it does not blow in the wind, which could be distracting.  Also try and hold the flag in a way that your shadow does not cover the hole or the putting line for the golfer.

 

On the Green:

 

One of the most important rules is to never walk in front of someone’s putting line on the green.  So be sure to walk around a fellow golfer golf ball to ensure you do not inadvertently walk in his/her line.  Also be sure to replace all ball marks created by your approach shot when arriving at the green.

 

On the Tee:

 

As stated above you should be completely silent when others are hitting there tee-shots.  You should also try and remain out of eye sight from the golfer hitting the tee shot, which could serve as distraction.  Golfer should also remain still.  It should also be noted that the individual with the best score from the previous hole should be the first to tee-off on the next hole.

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