Are you planning to try out a new golf course? Perhaps you will be playing with a bunch of people who are familiar with the course—which may put you at a disadvantage. But even if you haven’t played a course before, you can still do well by considering the following five points. These pertain to the distance of the course, the challenges it possesses and the areas in which you should practice before taking it on.
Beginners usually don’t want to play a course that is longer than nine holes. But even nine-hole courses can drag on, depending on the par. Taking your skill level into consideration, always gauge more or less how long a game will take. Factor in how much time you have, how much stamina you have and how many players you are playing with. Approaching a game with mental preparation will do wonders for your game.
Every course is different. In fact, golfers agree that each golf course has its own character. With that character comes a special kind of challenge. It may be a particular hole that is infamous for its complexity. Or it may be strategically placed bunkers that trip you up on every turn. Whatever it is, make sure you know what your course has in store for you before you play it for the first time. If you are prepared for a course’s challenges, you will have a massive advantage over your opponents.
Most courses test one particular golf skill. Some have large greens which demand meticulous putting. Others have many bunkers and will force you to play at least somewhat in the sand. Others still require excellent approach shots or pitching skills. By analyzing the course you are about to play, you will be able to estimate which shot will be tested the most. Once you know that, you can practice it to the death before taking on the challenge. That way, when you come to the course, you will be technically prepared for the course—perhaps even more so than your opponents who have already played it.
The layout of a golf course will affect your strategy—or at least it should. Again in this respect you should be analyzing a map of the course. This will tell you where tricky parts lie and how you should accommodate these difficulties. A good memory is essential in this, so before you play a difficult opponent, do your homework and study the course thoroughly.
Some courses have very strict rules about etiquette and dress code. It’s important to take the time to find out what these rules are before playing. Many players have been turned away—even after paying—because they do not have the correct attire. Others have conducted themselves in a way that is not conducive with the club’s ethical code.
Considering all aspects of a golf course you’ve never played before takes a bit of time. But you will reap the rewards of that effort during play. Your final score will surprise your opponents who thought they had one up on you because of their familiarity with the course. So take the time and do your homework. Making a habit of doing so will improve your game immensely. Golf is, after all, as much about strategy as it is about skill.