Golf Strategy Advice For Juniors

TaylorMade ambassador Nick Dougherty shares his strategy advice for aspiring juniors

Nick Dougherty talking to Golf Monthly reader and aspiring junior Josh Jackson
(Image credit: Tom Miles)

Adopting a better strategy is something most amateurs could benefit from, and juniors are no exception. Ingraining good habits from the get-go is the easiest way to improve and get the best out of yourself even when not firing on all cylinders. In the video and article below, TeeTimeTips (opens in new tab) founder Nick Dougherty explains how junior golfers and kids starting out in the game can make better decisions on the course...

Sometimes the 'right' shot isn't the one that is going to be as fun to play, and that's important to remember for juniors in particular. It can be easy to develop a tendency to make bad decisions through an irresistible temptation to take the high-tariff option. It's something Nick was able to identify in Josh's game, especially around the greens.

Keep it simple

"When you get to a level where you start to spin the golf ball it becomes something that is very addictive," Dougherty says. "It feels good and it’s a testament to quality of strike and Josh has that. But sometimes it will lead him to play a more challenging shot than the one he needs to. 

Nick Dougherty and aspiring junior Josh Jackson hitting chip shots at Wentworth

Josh working on his shot selection around the greens under the watchful eye of Nick Dougherty 

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

"The name of the game is how many shots does it take, not how pretty do they look, albeit when we watch the greats of the game, it’s very pretty. Rory McIlroy hits some amazing shots; Shane Lowry is a wizard around the greens.

"I think one of the things with Josh that I wanted to instil was to pick the most simple shot, something that can be reproduced more regularly. For that, we used the concept of landing the ball on the same part of the green barring something weird going on like the Elephant’s Graveyard at St Andrews which might influence the shot.

"With a normal green in front of you, try and land it a couple of yards on every time and use that landing spot to tell you what sort of shot you need to play and with what club. So wherever that flag is in relation to the landing spot will tell you. Is it tight to it? In that case, it might be the 60-degree, or in Josh’s case the 58."

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To demonstrate, Nick leaned on the same principles he discusses in the TeeTimeTip above on the 11th at Wentworth, where Josh had loads of green to work with but his instinct was telling him to reach for loft. 

"It might mean using a 9-iron but that keeps the action nice and simple. When Josh started picking the shot that was much more basic for him, it was so easy for him to get the ball close more consistently. And adding that challenge aspect of hitting the landing spot will help make practice fun for him this winter.

"If he can do that time and time again he’s going to have an electric short game and I would hazard a guess that Josh will shave loads of shots off his handicap by just becoming really, really effective at the simple stuff around the greens."

Andrew Wright
Staff Writer

A lifelong golf fan, Andy graduated in 2019 with a degree in Sports Journalism and got his first role in the industry as the Instruction Editor for National Club Golfer. From there, he went on to enjoy a spell freelancing for Stats Perform producing football reports, and then for RacingNews365 covering Formula 1. However, he couldn't turn down the opportunity to get back into the sport he grew up watching and playing and now covers a mixture of equipment, instruction and news for Golf Monthly's website and print title.


Andy took up the game at the age of seven and even harboured ambitions of a career in the professional ranks for a spell. That didn’t pan out, but he still enjoys his weekend golf at Royal Troon and holds a scratch handicap. As a side note, he's made five holes-in-one and could quite possibly be Retief Goosen’s biggest fan.


As well as the above, some of Andy's work has featured on websites such as goal.com, dailyrecord.co.uk, and theopen.com.


What's in Andy's bag?

Driver: Callaway Mavrik Sub-Zero (9°)

3-wood: TaylorMade M1 (15°)

Driving iron: Titleist U500 (17°)

Irons: Callaway Apex Pro '19 (4-PW)

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM9 (50°, 54° and 58°)

Putter: Titleist Scotty Cameron Newport 2.5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1