Golf Madness Blog

5 golf strategy tips for high handicappers

5 golf strategy tips for high handicappers

golf course management golf strategy Apr 02, 2022

Have you ever thought you can lower your score without changing the way you swing and the way you putt, even if you're a high handicapper? We will cover 5 golf strategy tips for high handicappers which you can start using immediately.

 

You learn to play golf without golf strategy (wrong!)

When you start to play golf everything is so overwhelming. Most of the times you are dealing with your swing and other related stuff so you don't have time and energy to deal with golf strategy and golf course management. The pros mostly don't teach you that because it would be too much information at once.

But the truth is we should all be taking extra lessons about golf strategy because it's the fundamental of playing the golf course correctly. All the golf courses are build with golfer in mind - every hole has so called "safe zone" or landing zone and some obstacles (water, bunker, our of bounds...), so why would you just swing the club and aim for the center of the fairway if the bunker is just 10 yards away?

Everything is even more complicated when you're a high handicapper. When you think you have everything to score below 100, or below 90, the golf course screws with you. Sometimes feels like almost every shot is in the wrong position, right? This is where golf strategy and course management comes in play. You don't have to be in the wrong part of the hole, you just need to know how to plan your play. Let's dive in...

 

1. First rule for every high handicapper - Don't aim for the pin

Most common mistake in recreative golf is aiming for the pin. This is the most common mistake in the golf strategy of high handicappers.

I feel you, you would like to score bogey or better, but the truth is there's plenty of space on the green and you need to have one goal in mind - hitting the green! 

When you hit the green everything is easier. If you're not inside of 30 yards, don't aim for the pin, unless you're very good with your approach shots and you're at least 80% sure you will hit within 5 yards (I guess there's not a lot of high handicappers who can do that 😊)

Aim for the center of the green! This is your safe spot because even if you miss 5-10 yards there's a big possibility you will still be on the green putting with your next shot. This is also the smartest way of playing golf and achieving a bogey golf game or better.

In rare cases when you have hazards in play that's not the truth. In this case the correct strategy would be to avoid the hazard, especially water hazard and out of bounds even thought that would mean aiming for the pin. It's better to avoid those almost for any cost because you can still make an up and down bogey from the green side bunker, but you can't from OB.

 

2. Always avoid three-putts, they're a score killer

I can still remember how many 3-putts I made when I was a high handicapper. It was unreal!😁 Even now they are no exception although I'm a scratch golfer. So don't worry if you have 3 or even 4 or 5 putts on a single hole, just focus for the next one.

The main goal for every high handicapper putting strategy would be the distance control of the first putt. The first put will put you in a position where you can just tap in the second one, or if you will have a challenge sinking the second or even a third one.

Distance, distance, distance. Why I'm keep saying this? Imagine, if you take the correct break and the putt is on a great line but it finishes 4 yards longer of the hole you will have tough second putt. But if you miss the ideal line for a yard (that's quite much) and nail the distance, you will have a short 1 yard second putt which you will probably score.

 

3. Know where to aim with your tee shots

Tee shots are very important although it doesn't always seem like it. Many golfers just take the club and hit the ball towards the middle of the fairway. Mishits many times land in the rough or fairway bunker (not to mention the water hazard) which mostly adds at least one shot to your score.

Before you hit your tee shot - take a look at the hazards and bunkers and plan your shot accordingly. For example if you have a water hazard on the right of the fairway, aim at the left side of the fairway. Or if you have a fairway bunker on the left, aim for the right side of the fairway.

In case you have a bunker on the left and trees on the right, then just go for the middle. 😉

 

4. Learn to lay up

Lay up is sometimes better than risking it all with a long iron or wood from the fairway. If you're not confident with the longer clubs yet find a good spot for a lay up and try to make an up and down from there. 

It doesn't have to be just on par 5, you can also lay up on longer par 4, especially if there's a water or any other hazard beside the green. Maybe some colleagues will laugh at you, but you will be the last one laughing when you will make the up & down for a bogey and they will walk off with a triple 😁

 

5. For advanced high handicappers - know the yardage

Did you know that more than 70% of the average golfer approach shots land short of the green? Not to mention that only 80% of PGA Tour pros hit the green from 115 yards. This means 1 in 5 miss the green, so don't expect too much from yourself.

The yardage is extremely important for the approach shots. Even though you're a high handicapper sooner or later you'll need to focus on the yardage because it can cost you a par or a bogey without even knowing it. Even the best struck shot can land in a bunker in front of the green if the club choice was incorrect.

Common mistake!!! - I see many golfers take the yardage to the green, not to the pin. Always try to figure out the yardage to the pin and to the point you're aiming. If the pin is at the end of the green aim a few yards shorter so that you won't be overhitting the green to the other side.

 

Conclusion

I hope the tips above for golf strategy for high handicappers will help you with your game and that soon you will drop me an email saying you dropped 3-5 shots per rounds without any bigger effort. Joke aside, follow the tips and you will most definitely find yourself in less complicated positions during the game and enjoy the game more and more.

 

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