What is Tactical Golf?
When you hear the word tactical or hear somebody talk about tactics in sport, your mind is probably drawn to team sports such as soccer, rugby, basketball and so on. You probably don’t think golf, at least not straight away. So what is tactical golf?
What is tactical golf?
Tactical golf is playing the game of golf with the optimal approach based on your abilities and knowing your good and bad shots. You probably don’t think too much about tactics or the tactical side of things, but golf tactics are an essential part of achieving success, regardless of your playing level. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to get down to scratch or if you’re looking to break 100 for the first time. Tactics can help you get there.
Why are golf tactics important?
For many amateurs, golf is simply about teeing it up, swinging the club and seeing where it goes, and that’s great, but sooner or later, even the most casual players get tired of making mistakes and failing to improve their scores.
Naturally, lots of a golfer’s progression comes from technical work, and working on the fundamentals of the game, but there is also tactical work that can be done to promote improvement such as greater consistency and lower scores.
Tactics are important in golf because they can help us to play better. Being tactical in golf often involves adding more thought to your game. Think about what you’re doing on the course, question yourself, think about the possible or likely outcomes before you play a shot.
Thinking about each shot, thinking about the possibilities, weighing up whether it’s better to take the safe option, or take a risk, thinking about alignment, thinking about distance, factoring in conditions. All of these things are tactical, all of which, if regularly incorporated into your game, can aid improvement.
What golf tactics can I add to my game?
Different players have different tactics, but there are some relatively simple tactics that can benefit just about every amateur golfer on the planet.
Pick a target for every shot
On a golf course the obvious target is the green, but on lots of holes you can only really go for the green on the approach, which could mean that you’re hitting up to three shots before the green comes into play. Pick a target for these shots.
If you’re teeing it up with a driver on a longer hole, pick a certain part of the fairway, be very specific, focus on that target and try to hit it, do this for all of your shots, whether you’re going for the green or not and you’ll start to see the benefits.
Leave yourself an uphill putt
This is one of my personal favourites. Most golfers, myself included, don’t want to be putting downhill for the simple reason that it’s very hard. You need to hit downhill putts less hard, they break more and are harder to read. On approach or around the greens, try to hit shots that mean you’ll be putting uphill rather than downhill.
This might seem like a given, but many amateurs fail to be honest during a round of golf. OK, so what does this mean exactly? Well, if you’re teeing it up on a hole that has a narrow fairway with lots of rough to the right side and water all the way down the left side... Are you really going to try and hit the narrow fairway, knowing that if you’re off just a bit, you could very easily end up in the drink?
Being realistic in this situation would be accepting the fact that anything right is better than anything left. Factor this in and aim for the far left of the fairway, knowing that even a miss that ends up in the rough on that side is immeasurably better than incurring a penalty for making a splash!
Try to hit your favourite distance
Most golfers have a favourite distance, that is a distance from which they tend to hit their best shots on approach. For many it’s those 8/9-iron shots into the green, for others it’s a solid 160 yards with a six iron. Whatever your preferred distance is, the one that you feel most confident about hitting a solid shot over on a consistent basis, look for it as often as you can.
For example, let’s say you’re very good at hitting the green from 100 yards, but you find yourself 230 yards out. Why go for it with a longer club that you have little confidence in when you could simply go for the green in two, hitting the first shot to leave yourself with your preferred distance left to cover.
Playing tactical golf can help you improve score and enjoy in the game of golf so keep an open mind and try to implement the above tips. Also keep in mind that this is a process you can't achieve overnight so try to improve every time your on the course 😉
The tips above can help you break 90 or less, depends on how good you'll follow your tactic...