Playing Smart Golf: Strategy Tips

Want to make the most of your next golf game? Follow these tips for a controlled and creative approach to a winning score.

If you ever play two-man best ball, you may be able to improve the way you play your normal game of golf. You cannot take as many chances, because you cannot bogey too many holes and think you still can win. Whoever can birdie the most holes will win the match.

Many players try to get their first tee shot in the fairway, and the next guy will attempt to get a three-hundred-and-fifty-yard drive. But if the second player misses the fairway or goes out of bounds, then you only have one chance at making a birdie. The same goes for holes with water next to the green, with the pin behind the water. Go for the pin if your first man is on the green close enough to birdie the hole, because if your playing partner is more than thirty-five feet away, there are no sure two-putts from beyond that distance unless your playing partner is a great putter.

Try to remember that if you can't hit the ball straight with your driver, keep the ball in the fairway, then use a three wood, or maybe an iron. When a shot comes up where a tree limb is in your way and you don't have a clear shot at the green, make sure your playing partner can par the hole, because you might need to chip out if your partner is in trouble. If you hit one real high score on a hole, you and your playing partner may have killed your chances of winning.

When it comes to putting, both players should help read each other's putt. And if you are forty feet or more away from the hole, lag your putt because if you are too aggressive you might end up with a long putt coming back. Don't try a shot that you haven't practiced many times before. The driving range is where you learn to hit a range of shots; don't try them in the middle of a golf match.

But there is a time where you might need to change the way you're playing. That is after the first nine and you're down at least four shots. Then it is time to start going for the par fives in two shots and taking all the chances you need if you want back in the match. But only take these risks if you are way behind and this is the only way to catch the leaders.

Just remember, the more you practice the better you will become. So go to the driving range as much as possible and spend as much time as you can on the practice green as it takes to see improvement in your swing and drive. Even in the winter the driving ranges are open. Gift cards from a driving range or a golf course make terrific year-round gifts. And golf balls are always thoughtful presents to receive.

A smart golfer is one who thinks ahead. Don't wait to see how the game plays out on the green. Plan your strategy before arriving at the course, with several strokes and clubs in mind to suit a variety of angles and situations. This will help to prevent your getting caught off-guard and responding with emotion rather than logic.

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