‘Keep it in play and accept that bogey can be a good score’
Amateurs and professionals need to understand their limitations. A professional player might be able to shape a draw around the corner if he’s a good driver or take it over the corner if he’s one of the longer hitters and turn it into a birdie hole but that’s such a small percentage of the golfing population. It’s huge for all golfers to realise that sometimes par is a good score and bogey isn’t that bad. There are always holes on a course that you don’t look forward to because they don’t suit your eye but you’ve got to figure out how you can get out of there with the least damage possible. A right-to-left dog-leg like this is one that a lot of amateurs will find tough because they fade or slice the ball.
Don’t hit driver if you’re a slicer
My advice is always for amateurs to get off the tee with as little damage as possible. If you slice it, you want to take more loft – your favourite fairway wood or hybrid – so the ball doesn’t curve as much and you can hit the fairway without having to start the ball too close to the trees on the left. It might leave you further back but it will help you avoid a card-wrecking score.
Sometimes a bogey isn’t a bad thing
If a hole doesn’t suit your eye and shape then play for par, maybe make a bogey and move on. You can make par or birdie on holes that are more suited to your game. Making a simple par on every hole – or bogey on the shot holes you don’t like – then that’s when you’ll start to shoot some good scores.
Be prepared to miss greens
You have to be more accurate on your second shot because the green is so narrow. But sometimes your misses get bigger when you get too uptight about having to hit it on the green. I always tell amateurs that they’ve got to spend more time working on their short game. Be ready to miss greens because you’re probably going to miss more than half of them. A sharp short game is a big advantage.
Don’t worry about being too precise
Mid-to-high-handicappers don’t hit it well enough often enough to be really consistent with yardages. Find something you can rely on to get the ball somewhere around the green. Play more by feel and keep it simple.