With another brilliant British Open completed around the amazing old Course at St Andrews I thought I would discuss some of the stand out strategies used by the best players in the world when they play tough golf courses.
The majority of the golf courses played weekly on the PGA tour require long hitting, an ability to chip out of the rough and good putting. Because the courses are soft underfoot the golf ball doesn’t bounce and roll off into nasty positions. So, ultimately ok to poor shots are not punished and the players attack the golf course most of the way around.
Golf courses used for Major Championships are a different beast all together and maybe the best example is St Andrews.
Interview after interview from the players revealed game plans around staying patient, playing smart (which is code for don’t take on too much) and sticking to my plans… no matter what! These statements are the players verbalising that they are going to defend first and attack if they hit a great shot and get a chance to attack.
St Andrews is a labyrinth of pot bunkers, swales, gorse bushes and rough. Small misses in direction and\or distance ensure you must take your medicine and a careful shot is required next.
So many times you will have seen the Pros going backwards or sideways out of bunkers or them not aiming anywhere near the flag, even with a wedge. This is because they understand the consequences and probability of not hitting a perfect shot.
It takes time and some discipline to learn when to attack and when to defend. At the end of the day all you need to do is try and make your next shot as easy as possible. That is how the best players play a course like St Andrews.