As I was watching the Masters, I was struck by a comment made by one of the players after concluding their first round.
As you might recall, the players were faced with very windy conditions over the first two rounds of the tournament.
The player was asked about the challenge of playing Augusta National in the wind, and his response was to leave himself as many shots into the wind as possible. This comment struck me as odd, because it is the opposite of what most players would typically have.
However, it makes perfect sense.
Augusta National is known for the severity of its greens. The combination of tremendous speed and undulation can make even those with the greatest short games quiver.
This player recognized that the greatest defense to this speed was to use the wind to his advantage. Hitting into the wind creates backspin on the ball, thus allowing the ball to stop sooner.
This is a very specific example of how course strategy can contribute to your success on the golf course.
Golf course strategy doesn’t have to be limited to only professionals on tour. Most of you can become much better players by doing a better job of thinking your way around the golf course.
This requires that you recognize the strengths and weaknesses of your golf game. For example, if you struggle with your driver, find a club you are more comfortable using and hit that instead.
If you are not comfortable chipping the golf ball, perhaps chip with a lower lofted club to keep the ball closer to the ground so that it rolls a bit more.
These are just a couple of examples on how to think your way to playing a better round of golf.
Learning to become a better golfer starts with becoming a smarter golfer. Just like the player at Augusta recognized the importance of using the wind to help stop his ball on the firm greens, you can use the knowledge of your own game to help you around the course.
Hit the type of club and shot that you have the most confidence in. Too often I notice players hitting shots they aren’t comfortable with, and they suffer as a result.
Enjoy the process of thinking your way around the golf course and you will become a better golfer.