By Paul Myers

Many beginning golfers have heard of the idea of golf course management, even if they don’t pay much attention to it in their own games. If you are serious about lowering your scores and reaching your goals on the course, course management is something you can’t afford to ignore. There is no requirement for how good you need to be before you can start paying attention to this concept – it applies equally to every golfer on the course. Hitting the right club off the tee, picking a smart target, avoiding hazards and subsequent shots where you are blocked out – they are all a part of the overall course management process.

A Secret Ingredient

Some times when someone tells you that there is a certain ‘secret’ relating to your golf game that you need to know, they are full of it. However, in this case, there really is a secret to course management that you need to know if you are going to be successful. Best of all, it is only one word – conviction.

Having conviction in the decisions you make as you work your way around the golf course is one of the most important parts of the picture. Why? Because, for any given shot, there are actually a number of decisions that could be acceptable ones. Sometimes it doesn’t matter if you pick the right one as much as it matters that you believe you have made the best choice.

Think about it this way – you are playing a par five and have hit a beautiful drive right down the middle of the fairway. You have 195 yards left to the green, and there is a pond just short and right of the green. Additionally, there is a bunker in the middle of the fairway about 60 yards short of the green. You can hit your three wood up to 195 yards in the air, but you have to hit it solid to do so.

What shot is the right one to hit?

Should you go for the green in two, or layup and play it safe?

In reality, any of the choices have their pros and cons. If you decide to go for the green, you could hit it in the pond – or you could knock it on the green and make an eagle or birdie. If you lay up over the bunker but short of the green, you will be bringing the bunker into play but could set up an easy pitch. If you take the easiest option and layup short of the bunker, you take almost all of the risk out of play but will be more likely to make a par than a birdie.

As you can see, any of these options could be the right one for you. It all depends on which one you believe in. Feeling confident with your swing and like the way the shot sets up for your ball flight? Go for it. Aren’t sure that you can carry it far enough to avoid the water? Don’t mess with it – play it safe and keep your ball dry. A good argument can be made for each option, so it has to come down to which one you really are convicted in.

Conviction is a power feeling on the golf course, and it can lead you to great accomplishments. When you truly believe in yourself, and in the shot you are attempting, half of the battle has been one. Trust your decisions 100%, and your course management can instantly get better.

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