Golf Course Management Strategies For A Better Game

By Ben Jarratt •  Updated: 07/14/23 •  5 min read

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Do you want to score better on the course? Want to raise your handicap? Lower it? Well increasing course management skills are one of the best ways to accomplish these goals.

Course management is critical for course success and low scores. It is also much more than just course strategy! Course management includes course strategy, course planning, course knowledge, and even some tips and tricks from us here at Twin Golfer!

This is course management 101 and covers course strategy. So read on to learn course management strategies!

What is course management?

Course Management is the art of making the right decisions during a round for course success. Course Management also means course strategy (see next section). Examples of course management include choosing which clubs to hit, where to lay up to your favorite yardage, and more!

Course Management 101 course strategy

The course strategy you will use will depend on the course and your game plan. For example, if you are playing a course for the first time, course management is course planning. Course planning includes choosing which tees to play from (if different tee boxes exist), where you want to lay up during each hole, and lastly what is your long term game strategy for the course.

Hit the long shot!

Longer shots always equal shorter scores! Hit the long shots for two different reasons. One is because they will give you a much better chance of hitting par or birdie, and second is because course management strategies can lead to those great scores. For example, if you play a course fairly frequently, it makes sense to hit your driver off the tee box regardless of distance from the hole.

Have a “go-to” longer club!

Having one longer club that you are comfortable playing with is  a great course management strategy. This will help you in situations where you are faced with a yardage that is further than your driver but still shorter than your 3 iron and not more than say 215 yards from the hole. The “go-to” club for me is my 4 or 5 wood, either of which I can hit 300+ yards.

Layup to your favorite yardage:

Layup to your favorite yardage is another fantastic course management strategy. You can  layup to your favorite yardage and save a stroke by not hitting a longer club in situations that call for it. You can read course layouts and determine preferred landing zones, or landing areas for various clubs quickly.

Tips: When laying up be sure to remember where the drivers land on the course because they tend to come up short of their actual destination.

Play the percentages into the green:

Playing the percentages into the green is exactly what it sounds like. This course management strategy involves hitting a club for your distance to the pin, not over. While playing this course management strategy you are taking less risk by hitting shorter clubs and your favorite shots rather than going for it with long irons or drivers and having to make up distance on approach.

Respect the downhill:

Another famous course management strategy is called respect the downhill. What this strategy entails is hitting your approach shots from high to low. For example, if the course has a downward slope on your second shot you hit downhill and not across putting more spin on the ball.

Learn to hit knockdowns:

Hitting knockdowns out of the bunker is a course management strategy that provides course management while golfing. A knockdown shot is when you hit the sand and send it above your feet towards the front of the green to give yourself an easy pitch onto the green or to make more putts.

Make a game plan:

While playing course management strategies in golf you always want to come up with a solid game plan. This usually includes the knowledge of things like  course conditions, course layout and course difficulty.

After you make your course management strategy game plan there are a couple things you should do. You want to figure out the course and distances typically needed at this course so you can choose clubs that will give you the distances for each shot. Next look for an easy green or small target that you can reach in one shot, but that is far enough away to make you hit a great shot.

Find your course management strategy around the greens:

The course management strategy around the green will be determined mostly by course difficulty and course lay out. If it’s a difficult course with tough greens, find an easier way to approach the green than others. This often includes  going up and over a hill or using an extra club because you are going uphill.

Easy course, hard green: 

This course management strategy should be about choosing where to land on the green. If you have a good shot you can draw it in towards the pin and if you are short of the green hit an approach that will give you a better opportunity.

There are many different course management strategies that can be worked while playing golf. It takes the game of golf to a whole new level of intricacies and precision play. You can accept the fact that most of the professional golfers that you watch on TV, have worked hard with course management strategies and equally as hard on their playing abilities.

If you are interested in course management strategies you should start by just choosing one or two that you can focus on throughout your round of golf. Once you get the hang of using one or two add in another and additionally after that until you have a large tool bag of course management strategies and tips that you can use to assist your game the next time you’re out on the course for a round!