Con­sider the setup and con­di­tions on ev­ery hole.

Golf World (UK) - - CONTENTS -

The de­sign of a hole is im­por­tant, but a lot de­pends on the course set-up as well, such as how heavy the rough is, how soft or firm the course is play­ing and the pin po­si­tion on the green. These fac­tors will change from day to day and around the year so your strat­egy must also change to suit the set-up and con­di­tions on that day, as well as the style of the hole. A smart strat­egy will use these con­di­tions to your ad­van­tage, whether that’s be­ing more ag­gres­sive when the rough is light or us­ing shorter clubs off the tee when the fair­ways are firm.

Know your yardages to take haz­ards out of play

When you have lots of fair­way bunkers in play and they are stag­gered on ei­ther side of the fair­way, you have to know how far you carry each club and how far it will run out so you can pick the cor­rect op­tion off the tee. In this in­stance, you ide­ally want to use a club that will carry the fair­way bunker on the left so you can favour that side of the hole and open up your sec­ond shot.

Bal­ance risk and re­ward for your ap­proach

If the rough is thick, greens are firm and fast, or the pin is tucked then aim for the mid­dle of the green to avoid short-sid­ing your­self. If it’s lighter rough, softer and an eas­ier pin you can be more ag­gres­sive be­cause you’ll still have a de­cent chance of sav­ing your par if you miss the green.

Tai­lor strat­egy to the rough and firm­ness

If the rough is heavy and the greens are firm then it’s more im­por­tant to hit the fair­way, so I might take a safer club off the tee. But if the rough isn’t too thick or the greens are softer you can af­ford to be more ag­gres­sive off the tee be­cause you can still hit and hold the green even if you miss the fair­way. Firmer fair­ways will run more so you can usu­ally hit a shorter club off the tee to help you find the short grass while find­ing the yardage you need.

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