10 Ways To Improve Your Golf Strategy

Use these simple strategy tips to start scoring better

Golf Strategy

Use these simple strategy tips to start shooting lower scores

10 Ways To Improve Your Golf Strategy

Good strategy can save you countless shots over the course of a season, so consider the following points...

1 Count the bunkers

Think about the approach shot into any of the holes at your club. Picture the bunkers – how many are there? Where are they positioned? More often than not, the majority of the traps are short of pin high. This means if you take enough club, you will take the majority of them out of play.

2 Carry distances

How far does each club in your bag go? If you are immediately thinking about your overall distances as opposed to your carry yardages, you are making a big mistake. Carry numbers are the only ones you need – the overall number depends on ground conditions that you can’t control.

3 Picture the water

If you’re struggling to read a putt, picture pouring water over your line. In which direction would it start to drain? This will give you an idea of what to expect.

Related: Green reading guide for golf

4 Water worries

When hitting an approach shot over water, be careful not to hit too much club. Amateurs, scared of finding the drink, will often take at least one club too many. One of two things will happen: they either hit it well and end up with an equally scary chip back towards the water, or they fail to commit to the shot and find it anyway.

5 Unconscious mind

After every round of golf you play, select the three best shots you hit. Now replay them in your mind. Picture them in as much detail as possible – imagine the ball flight and watch the ball land and roll out. This is a great way to harness a more confident sub-conscious mind!

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6 Danger zones

When devising a strategy for a hole, start by looking at where a double-bogey is most likely to come from. Whether it is out of bounds down the right, pot bunkers in the fairway or gorse bushes on the corner of the dogleg, identify the danger and adopt a strategy based on how best to avoid it.

7 Positive thinking

It is crucial to identify all the dangers on a hole and work out where not to miss, but this should be part one of your pre-shot process. Part two needs to involve a series of positive thoughts about how you want to swing the club and where you DO want the ball to go.

8 Favourite yardage

Pick a yardage (around the 100-yard mark) and practise to become as good from that number as possible. Every practice session, devote at least 15 minutes to hitting pitch shots from your favourite yardage – your confidence and scoring potential are guaranteed to improve.

9 Wind tactics

“When it’s breezy, swing it easy.” This is easier said than done, but it is vital. Reduce your swing speed in the wind and you’ll create less backspin, giving you a much more controllable flight.

10 Landing zones

We often talk of the importance of picking a landing zone when you chip. Identifying a spot on which to pitch your ball will help you build a positive mindset. Whether you are hitting a chip-and-run or a lofted chip, it is important to pick a spot that is flat. This makes predicting the bounce much easier.

Neil Tappin

In July 2023, Neil became just the 9th editor in Golf Monthly's 112-year history. Originally working with the best coaches in the UK to produce instruction content, he has also presented many Golf Monthly videos looking at all areas of the game from Tour player interviews to the rules of golf. 

Throughout his time with the brand he has also covered equipment launches that date back well over a decade. He clearly remembers the launch of the Callaway and Nike square drivers as well as the white TaylorMade driver families, such as the RocketBallz! If you take a look at the Golf Monthly YouTube channel, you'll see his equipment videos dating back over a decade! He has also conducted 'What's In The Bag' interviews with many of the game's best players like Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm. Over the years, Neil has tested a vast array of products in each category and at drastically different price-points. 

Neil is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade Stealth Plus Fairway Wood: Titleist TSR2 Hybrid: Titleist TS3 Irons: PING Blueprint S (4&5), PING Blueprint T (6-PW) Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 50˚, 54˚, 60˚ Putter: Odyssey Triple Track Ten Ball: Titleist Pro V1X