Out of the Bunker: It pays off to know your golf course

Photo courtesy of PGA Tour
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I grew up playing on a desert golf course in southern New Mexico.

It wasn’t the manicured desert that is commonly found around golf courses in Palm Springs. The desert I grew up in was full of rocks, bushes, prickly cactus and the occasional rattlesnake!

At first glance, the scenery can be quite intimidating. I quickly learned to take advantage of what the desert had to offer my golf game.

The golf course I grew up on had areas we referred to as “the brown bonus.”

What is that, you might ask?

The brown bonus were areas in the desert that were particularly firmly packed and could provide extra distance to any ball that might land within its area. Aiming at these areas had risks, but the reward was worth the risk.

At least in the mind of a young golfer!

The point here is that I understood the subtle nuances of my home golf course, and I took advantage of what I knew. Many of you should learn to do the same. That’s the advantage of playing a golf course you are familiar with.

Taking advantage of a familiar golf course involves much more than aiming for “the brown bonus.”

Perhaps there are certain sides to the fairways that provide an easier approach shot, or maybe you realize that your best opportunity is to always have an uphill putt.

These are merely a couple of examples of understanding how to take advantage of a golf course you are familiar with.

The greatest reward for taking advantage of this familiarity is that your focus is sharpened. It’s easy to become lazy with your thoughts around the golf course.

This laziness leads to poor results. By learning to plan for a particular course you are playing, your focus will become much sharper and your results will become much greater!

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