5 Key Strategy Decisions… Every Golfer Needs To Make!

Game-changing tips on 5 key strategy decisions

5 key strategy decisions
(Image credit: Howard Boylan)

Golf Monthly created this content as part of a paid partnership with Motocaddy. The contents of this article are entirely independent and solely reflect the editorial opinion of Golf Monthly. 

In the video below, Tour caddie Billy Foster talks through 5 key strategy decisions and how to get them right more often!

5 Key Strategy Decisions… Every Golfer Needs To Make!

Shooting lower scores when it matters is all about how well you manage your game. Do you always play to your strengths and make smart decisions or do silly mistakes leave you frustrated that your handicap isn’t moving in the right direction?

To help, we teamed up with Motocaddy and legendary European Tour bagman Billy Foster. In this video and article, he explains how to manage your game in five key areas from recovery shots to greenside shot selection.

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1. Club selection

You need to know how far you want to carry the ball and you should take elevation change and weather conditions into consideration. A shot will play a little longer uphill and a bit shorter downhill, and wind, rain and the temperature will all affect how far the ball travels through the air. In soft conditions, you want to land it closer to the flag, whereas you need to allow for some release in firmer conditions. Once you’ve decided the yardage you need to hit, select the appropriate club based on how far you really carry each club on average. If in doubt, take one club more and swing smoothly.

Recovery shots

(Image credit: Howard Boylan)

2. Recovery shots

It’s all about assessing your options and making a sensible decision between the safe chip out and the riskier and more aggressive shot. Only take it on if you think you can pull it off seven or eight times out of 10. If you are trying the thread the needle between trees, pick a specific spot on the ground a foot or two in front of the ball that you want to start the ball over. Align your clubface over that point and you’ll give yourself the best chance of starting it on-line.

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3. Pitching keys

It’s really important to know how to hit your numbers when it isn’t a full shot – and you should spend about half your practice time on your wedges to get really dialled in. A lot of amateurs get too aggressive from this range and always aim straight at the pin, but you still want to favour the safe side when the flag is near the edge of the green, especially when there’s a bunker or water in play. Your lie makes a huge difference. The ball will spin more from a fairway lie, thick rough will make it come out dead and play longer, and wispy grass behind the ball can make the ball come out like a bullet and go much further.

When to attack

4. When to attack

Leave your ego out of your decision-making. You’ve got to know your limitations and make life easy for yourself. Always favour going for the widest part of the fairway, especially when you can hit a much easier tee shot and still leave yourself with a short approach shot and a good chance to make birdie or a simple par. Like the recovery shot, only go for the higher risk option if you think you’ll get it right seven or eight times out of 10. Play to your strengths and eliminate your mistakes.

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5. Greenside shot selection

greenside shot selection

(Image credit: Howard Boylan)

This has changed a lot over the last 20 or 30 years. More players now go for the lob wedge or sand wedge, but I’d always encourage you to use as little loft as possible around the greens. You’ll be far more consistent by trying to land it on the green as soon as you can and letting it run to the hole like a putt.