Spend just 5 minutes to prep for your next round to drop 5 strokes
Let’s talk about course management. You’ve probably heard the term before but what does it mean? Course management in a nutshell is about giving yourself the best chance to shoot low scores while not overthinking on the course. And the best place to get started is before a round. That’s why at 18Birdies we built a Course Preview feature for every course worldwide.
When you preview a course in 18Birdies the first thing you’re going to want to do on each hole is ask yourself ‘do I need to hit driver off the tee? Or can I hit something shorter to give me a better chance of hitting fairways and attacking the green.’
When choosing a club off the tee, ask yourself what distance do you want to have left into the hole and what side of the fairway provides the best angle to attack the pin. Is there a bunker on the right side of the green? Is the pin tucked on the back right or is it in the middle of the green? If the flag is tucked on the right side you’ll have a bigger target to hit if you approach the green from the left side of the fairway. If you’re on the right side of the fairway the target will become smaller if you have to hit over a bunker to a tucked pin on the right. Give yourself the biggest target zone to hit and your chances of hitting the green will increase and you’ll start to see your scores drop.
It’s also wise to figure out which holes you can get aggressive on and which holes to play more cautiously. If you normally hit a bit of a slice, are there any holes that have trouble on the right side of the fairway? For the holes with trouble on the right you may want to figure out a better club to hit off the tee to give you a better chance of coming up short of the trouble or possibly blasting a shot long over the trouble if that’s an option. Whenever possible, find the wide parts of the fairway to help you steer clear of trouble.
Don't forget to factor in local conditions
Every course has conditions to consider when preparing for a round, that’s where Plays Like has your back. Plays Like will give you adjustments for each shot based on elevation change, wind, rain and more which will make club selection much more realistic to the conditions you’ll see at the course. If you’re just using the regular distance marker of say 200 yards away, most often that shot won’t play 200 yards and could play anywhere between 180-220 yards based on local conditions so make sure to use Plays Like to make your club selection as accurate as possible.
Do you know what distance you score best from? Maybe you love a shot from 115 yards but feel awkward on shots under 80 yards, if that’s the case, make sure to hit a club off the tee that’ll leave you with a shot of approximately 115 yards.
When scanning the course hole by hole layout do you notice any holes that have a hazard or bunker in the fairway that requires you to carry or layup? If so, take note of what club will give you the best chance of hitting your target.
And the important thing here. After you pick what club to hit before your round, as long as conditions aren’t dramatically different when you get to the course, stick with your plan. The main thing about course management is that it is meant to reduce thinking on the course and help you play with confidence and be more athletic rather than analytical. Remind yourself that this is the best plan to help you shoot low scores and stick to the plan even if other members of your group are taking a different approach on the course.
Try some of our favorite features to help you prep for your next round
18Birdies has a couple tools that are perfect for helping you decide what club to hit while previewing a course. Tee Shot Planner will let you know which side of the fairway is the safest to miss on. And Hole Insights will give you a breakdown of how other players in your skill level have averaged on each hole. What you’ll find is that hole insights will give you a sense for what holes may be trickier than others, and from there you should really think through the smartest way to play those tricky holes. Tee Shot Planner and Hole Insights data is based on previous rounds played by players in your skill level at that particular course so it’s the most relevant to your game.
Try it for yourself at any course in 18Birdies by previewing a course either in the Play tab or in the Courses tab!