As we approach the new season, we start with the year discussing the ‘Psychology of Golf’ and how to prepare yourself mentally for the season ahead.
I’m not going to give a lesson in ‘winning‘ or ‘how to get in the zone‘ here (although if you would like to improve that side of your game, I can help!).
Here I am going to give you some ideas about playing smart – i.e. course management.
Golf being the frustrating, euphoric, and mind-boggling game it is, (and that’s just one hole!) you will find yourself in many different situations.
Too many to cover in this blog, but I will cover some common scenarios you may find yourself in.
This can be your friend or your foe, depending on your lie.
If the ball is sitting up and the grass around you isn’t too long, you may want to hit a wood or hybrid and get the ball as far up the hole as possible, as it is effectively sitting on a tee.
This assumes you are far enough away from the green that you need a fairway wood.
If the grass is really thick and/or long (think, The Open) and you have a bad lie, your first point of call is to look for the fairway and the shortest possible route to the fairway.
Sometimes this may be backward or even onto another fairway, an option I see few amateurs use. In terms of club selection, get some loft in your hands; use a sand wedge or pitching wedge.
If your lie is average you need to assess how much thick rough you can go over and get up the hole and still get the ball on the fairway – but DO NOT bite off more than you can chew.
Your goal here is to make sure your next shot, IS from the short grass!
Anytime you go into the trees, look up, you may find an apple to eat.
You may also see a gap in the trees to hit through! It is time to assess your situation, can you punt the ball up the fairway (or even reach the green)?
And if so, how big is the gap?
You need to be very honest with yourself in this situation, can you see yourself being able to hit the ball through the gap?
If there is any hesitation in your answer or a hint of a no, it is onto option 2.
Option 2, is to chip the ball out sideways, it is rare you cannot find a big enough gap you feel confident chipping the ball through and back onto the fairway, but there are times there isn’t.
You need to look at maybe hitting onto another fairway or going slightly backward.
Club selection in the trees is important, more than likely you want to keep the ball low under the branches (including chipping out).
So make sure you take a longer, lower lofted club to make sure your ball flies out the trees untouched.
Course designers like to play with our emotions and see our high-soaring drives take a dodgy bounce and end in a bunker.
If this happens to you, make sure you get the ball back in the fairway.
As with all these shots, it is about ensuring you do not have the same shot again. So get your sand wedge out and play it like a greenside bunker shot so you are back on the fairway, ready to hit the green.
So there you have it, thinking about the game or the ‘Psychology of Golf’ before you start the season – the mental part of the game is just as important as your swing!
By Andy Clissold – Head TSG Pro.
If you have a specific shot you struggle with contact Andy at email@example.com