One of the most common mistakes that golfers make is to sacrifice the accuracy of a tee shot for distance. On par four and five holes, many players will typically try to drive the ball as far as they can so that their approach shot to the green is shorter. However, without accounting for whatever hazards may be out on the fairway, they get in trouble when their ball slices out of bounds, rolls into a stream or lands squarely in a sand trap. Rather than attempt to power the golf ball over trouble, it is advisable to hit with a lower club and put the ball where it not only avoids a hazard but also gives you a good shot at the green. Being accurate is far more important than hitting the ball far.
Having a target on every shot is important. Too often a golfer will simply step up to a shot and try to hit it in the general direction of the green. The player who tries to hit each shot to a specific spot does so because he has a plan for the hole. He attempts to minimize his chances of finding his ball unplayable by trying to hit it to an area where no hazards are. This makes it so that the percentages are with the player and not the golf course.
Also, it can be a mistake to hit the ball right at the flagstick because the hole may be set up so that anything less than a perfectly struck shot will find a bunker or body of water. Golfers also want to hit shots onto a green so they have an uphill putt versus a downhill putt or one that has a lot of break to it.
The mental aspect of golf figures heavily into managing the course. A player needs to concentrate on the shot she has in front of her rather than be thinking about the next shot after that. Another important mental part of course management is staying calm when a mistake is made and not compounding it by trying to hit a shot that is beyond the player's ability. If a bad shot is made, the player needs to focus on not making things worse. Now is the time to avoid trying to fix a mistake by attempting to hit a shot that would tax even a professional's abilities.