Game Plan

, GolfLink Editor
Updated August 29, 2023
Woman studying the scorecard from her golf cart

Woman strategizing from her golf cart

    Woman studying the scorecard from her golf cart
    Gety Image license

Knowing the ins and outs of your game and the course you're playing can help you develop a sound game plan and stack the odds a satisfying score in your favor before you even hit the opening tee shot.

Here are eight great ways to head to the course with a winning game plan.

An Easy Way to Figure Out Your Average Yardage for Each Club

What I would like for you to do is after it rains and the ground is fairly damp at your club slip out, put one ball down and hit that ball. If you catch it solid you only need one swing, if you miss it try another one.

  • Start with your pitching wedge, hit that solid, and I want you to walk that yardage off and write that yardage down. When I hit a pitching wedge solid you are going to tell yourself I hit it 115 yards carry, not carry and roll because when we are hitting those irons we are usually hitting them into a green where we want to get the carry distance.
  • Try to do that for your entire set so you really begin to get an idea of how far you each club goes. If you will do that you will start to save strokes left and right on the golf course because instead of under clubbing or over clubbing yourself, or saying you know what I once hit a pitching wedge 125 yards so I think I am 125 yards and over water so I think I will hit a pitching wedge.
  • What you end up doing, you didn't quite catch it and it plopped in the water and you cost yourself a penalty stroke. Try to get a handle on how far you really hit it. It is going to make a difference on how you score when you are playing the game.

Know the Golf Course Design to Improve Your Score

The architects job title is protector of par. Well, here we are number six at Pebble Beach, what a wonderful example of that. The fairway is a downhill sloping fairway, that is both downhill and sidehill.

Use "The Box" Scoring Zone to Avoid Difficult Shots

One of the keys to good scoring is good distance control. When I play a shot from the fairway to the green, I am trying to play into what I call the box.

For my game the box is a six yard deep area. I came from back here so the box is running the width of the green from left to right but it is only six yards deep. I am trying to land my ball in this six yard deep area.

The advantage of this is two fold. A, good distance control and then B, when you are inside the box you are always putting from the sides of the hole, not uphill and downhill where speed is effected so much by the slope.


Create a Game Plan Before Playing a Hole

before we go play I need to create a plan. As we look at the scorecard we see that from the gold markers it is 532 yards. So what am I going to do?

If we can hit a tee shot of 230 yards, now we have 300 yards and we have four shot to finish. Let's say we hit our next shot 200 yards, now we are in our red zone of 100 yards left. That is going to be a wedge for most players and you have a chance to really break up the hole.

Manage the whole process as you go along, and it will really help you develop a plan and stay committed to that plan on the golf course. Try this on all the holes, especially the longer ones.

Manage Your Tendencies for More Success

Golf is a wonderful game that really helps you to focus and recognize emotional balance on the golf course. What happened is that golf is a game of emotion and adjustment, you really need to be aware of that. If you can realize that if you have a chance to shoot your lowest score on a particular golf hole the chances are that some emotional stuff is going to come up there. Golf helps you to recognize that and it gives you the opportunity to catch yourself in the moment so that you can do something positively about it.


Mindset Trick to Avoid Hazards on the Golf Course

On a well designed golf course every hole has trouble either right or left. One of the psychological tasks of a golfer is to find a way to ignore these psychological hazards and go ahead and hit the ball straight down the middle or keep it in the fairway one way or another. 

  1. What we do is put the shaft about 10 yards out in front of the ball that we are teeing off to the side where the trouble is.
  2. We then create an imaginary wall going from the tee box, down through the shaft and out to the fairway that covers the side where the trouble is.
  3. Then you hit the ball imagining the wall about shoulder height from the tee box through the side of the fairway where the trouble is. Your only task is to keep the ball on the correct side of the wall.

Play Golf from Shorter Tees for Club Selection Like the Pros

Play like the pros so that you are hitting nine irons, maybe eight irons, seven irons. Giving yourself the chance to knock the ball on the green, maybe make a birdie and mostly pars and occasionally a bogie. That is a lot more fun, it will take less time. Try it.

Learn a Pre-Game Golf Routine to Improve Your Game

What is your pre game routine? Have you specifically blocked out distractions? Do you have a normal routine and do you respect the amount of time that it takes to prepare yourself for a five hour battle?