Golf Course Management Tips to Remember

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Want to shoot lower on the golf course and improve your handicap score? Then, follow this guide’s golf course management tips to control your game and make fewer mistakes. With some better course management, you’ll get less frustrated out on the course.

What is the Best Golf Course Management Tip?

The best tip I’ve learned after golfing for over 30 years is to keep yourself out of trouble. To do this effectively, you need to follow four simple rules – one for each part of your golf game:

  1. On your drive, make sure that you do everything you can to find the fairway. This means putting away your driver and playing a safer shot where necessary.

  2. On your approach shots, practice fine-turning your distances. It is okay to miss the green left or right, as long as you are pin-high. With experience, you will be able to straight out your irons.

  3. For your short game, learn the typical roll distance for each of your wedges and short irons. You will hit it closer to the pin if you know the exact spot on the green you need to aim for.

  4. On the green, never putt more than twice per hole. This means optimizing your speed and angles on longer putts and consistently cleaning up your putts from five feet or less.

Learn more course management tips below!

Identify Potential Hazards

Knowing where potential hazards lie on the golf course can help you significantly lower your scores during a golf round.

Plan your shots more effectively by identifying hazards such as bunkers, water bodies, or dense rough. Understanding the hazards’ location allows you to choose your targets and clubs more wisely to avoid obstacles and improve your chances of making a successful shot.

By steering clear of hazards, you can reduce the likelihood of errant shots, penalty strokes, or lost balls, leading to a more consistent round. If you know there is water in front of the green, it is a good idea to club up to ensure you can get there.

Being over the green with a chip on is better than dropping because you came up short in the hazard.

Work Backwards

Working backward on a hole is a great golf course management tip that involves strategizing your play by starting from the green and working your way back to the tee.

If you know you are good from 100 yards out, there is no point in hitting your driver as far as possible, leaving you 50 yards or closer. You are better off hitting an 80% driver or even a 3-wood to put you in a better position off the tee on your approach shots.

Working backward also helps you identify potential hazards on that hole and enables you to make more strategic decisions when teeing off. You can tailor your tee shot to set up the best approach angles and distances for your subsequent shots.

This tip allows you to think strategically about each shot and consider each hole as part of your decision-making process. This will help lead to a more controlled and consistent golf round.

Aim for the Middle of the Greens

Most amateur golfers are barely good enough to hit the green in regulation. Weekend golfers have even less of a chance. One of the best golf course management tips I like to remember is always aiming towards the middle of the green.

Aiming for the middle of the greens gives you a more significant margin for error. This means that even if the shot is not executed perfectly, the ball will likely end up on the green and avoid hazards around the green.

Aiming for the middle of the greensalso influences club selection, encouraging you to choose clubs that suit the yardage to the center of the green. This approach promotes smart decision-making and helps you avoid aggressive plays that could lead to unnecessary risks.

Next time you are out on the course, remember to aim for the center of the green on your approach shots and see how your score reflects that.

Don’t Follow a Bad Shot With Another Bad Shot

Golf course management is all about minimizing errors that balloon your scorecard.

Sometimes, you may hit a bad tee shot and leave yourself with a terrible lie. Bad shots happen to all golfers, even professionals. It is how you play your remaining shots that will determine your score.

After a bad shot, accept it and move on. Don’t try to be the hero and end up compounding your problem.

If you are not confident in your shot, take the easy road. This is one of the better golf course management tips, especially for beginners.

Trying to hit hero shots may work out occasionally, but it usually balloons your score and keeps you aggravated for the remainder of the round.

Boring Golf is Good Golf

Boring golf refers to a strategic and conservative approach to playing golf. By avoiding unnecessary risks, you can focus on consistent play, and this is a great golf course management tip to remember.

Boring golf involves minimizing risks and preventing aggressive plays that could lead to costly mistakes. By choosing safer shot options and aiming for the center of the greens, you reduce the likelihood of errant shots and penalty strokes.

Boring golf encourages you to approach each hole strategically and can reduce the stress and pressure associated with attempting heroic shots. This allows you to play within their capabilities and maintain a more composed and focused mindset.

Playing boring golf will improve scoring opportunities as you make smarter club selections on your shots.

Know Your Miss

Knowing your miss is a valuable golf course management tip that can significantly benefit your overall performance. Understanding your typical miss allows you to assess the risks of different shots more effectively.

By knowing your tendencies, you can make informed decisions about shot selection, considering the potential consequences of each shot and opting for the safest and most strategic play.

Awareness of your typical miss also influences your club selection. You can choose a club that considers your miss, such as selecting a club that allows you to reach the center of the green rather than aiming for the pin directly.

If you have a specific miss due to your golf swing, shifting your feet on the tee box is a good idea to find a better landing area. If you have a specific miss area on the golf course, knowing your miss also allows you to pre-plan a recovery strategy.

Driving Range vs Golf Course Mentality

Your mentality on the driving range compared to the golf course is completely different. On the range, you don’t have to worry about the shots you take affecting your score.

During a golf round, you fear different shots because each shot you take counts. One of the best golf course management tips we can give is combining the two.

When you are on the driving range, I recommend that you stop and envision each swing you take. Try to swing the exact same as if you are on the golf course. Pick different targets on the range and try to hit the ball to those spots specifically.

Do the same thing when you are out on the golf course by envisioning each shot. Swing with the same tempo every single time will show consistent results in the course. This is a great golf course management strategy to remember and will help make you a more consistent golfer.

Learn Your Favorite Club

One of the best golf course management tips is to learn your favorite golf club and use it to your advantage. Every golfer has a club they hit most consistently, whether it’s a 7-iron, a pitching wedge, or a hybrid. By identifying your favorite club, you can optimize your game plan to give yourself more opportunities to use it.

For example, if your 8-iron is your most reliable club, try to leave yourself in positions where you can use it for your approach shots. On par 4s and 5s, plan your tee shots and lay-ups to end up at distances that allow you to use your 8-iron. This approach can lead to more consistent and confident shots, helping you avoid mistakes and lower your scores.

Here’s how to apply this tip on the course:

  1. Plan Your Tee Shots: Choose a club off the tee that leaves you with your favorite club distance for your approach shot.

  2. Lay Up Wisely: On par 5s, lay up to a distance that sets you up for your favorite club rather than trying to reach the green in two.

  3. Approach Shots: Aim to leave yourself within the range of your favorite club, even if it means playing a safer shot.

Use the Wind to Your Advantage

Understanding how to play in windy conditions is crucial for effective golf course management. Wind can significantly affect the flight and distance of your shots, so learning to adjust your game to take advantage of it can help you lower your scores.

You may need to choose a different club depending on the wind direction. When hitting into the wind, use a club with more loft to keep the ball lower and minimize its exposure to the wind. With the wind at your back, a higher lofted club can help you take advantage of the added distance.

Crosswinds can push your ball off course. Aim slightly into the wind to counteract its effect. For example, if the wind is blowing from right to left, aim slightly to the right of your target to let the wind bring the ball back to the intended line.

Practice will help you develop a feel for how the wind affects your ball and improve your ability to make adjustments on the course.

Learn to Lay Up

Sometimes, going for the green isn’t the best option. Knowing when to lay up and leave yourself a more manageable next shot can save strokes and keep you out of trouble.

Select a club that will put you in an ideal position for your next shot. For example, if you’re 220 yards from the green with water in front, choose a club that leaves you with a comfortable distance for your next shot, such as 100 yards.

Identify a specific target for your lay-up shot. This target should be in a safe area with a good angle to the green. Commit fully to the shot once you’ve decided to lay up. Trust your decision and execute the shot with confidence.

Use GPS and Rangefinders

Modern technology like GPS devices and rangefinders can provide valuable information about distances and course layout, helping you make more informed decisions on the course.

GPS devices and rangefinders give you precise yardages to various targets, such as the flag, hazards, and lay-up spots. This information helps you choose the right club and plan your shots more effectively.

Knowing exact distances allows you to choose the right club for each shot. This precision can lead to better shot execution and more consistent results.

GPS and rangefinders can also speed up play by reducing the time spent estimating distances. With accurate yardages at your fingertips, you can make quicker decisions and keep your round moving smoothly.

Develop a Post-Round Analysis Routine

After each round, take some time to analyze your performance. This post-round analysis can help you identify areas for improvement and refine your course management strategies.

Look at your scorecard to identify patterns and trends. Note where you made mistakes and where you played well. Pay attention to specific holes or shot types that gave you trouble.

Track key statistics such as fairways hit, greens in regulation, and putts per hole. These metrics can highlight strengths and weaknesses in your game. I personally use the Arccos sensors and app to help me track where I need to improve.

Based on your analysis, set specific goals for your practice sessions. Focus on areas that need improvement, such as driving accuracy, short game, or putting. Having clear goals can make your practice more effective.


Mastering golf course management tips can significantly improve your game and lower your scores. By focusing on strategic play, understanding your strengths, and making informed decisions, you’ll navigate the course with greater confidence and consistency.

Remember to adapt to conditions like wind, use technology to your advantage, and learn from each round through post-game analysis. These golf course management tips will help you avoid unnecessary risks, minimize errors, and ultimately, enjoy your time on the course more.

Embrace these strategies, and watch your handicap drop.

Ryan William
Ryan William

With over 25 years hands-on experience in the golfing world, Ryan is not just an avid golfer but a topical authority. His journey has had him delve deep into the nuances of the sport, from mastering the swing to understanding new golf technology. As an entrepreneur, Ryan is at the forefront of the latest golf trends, reviewing all new clubs, accessories, and training aids. His insights and expertise are backed by a prolific writing career, with over 1000 articles published across various platforms. Ryan's commitment is clear: to guide and inform the golf community with unparalleled knowledge and passion.

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