Improving Your On Course Strategy – Aggressive or Safe Tee Shots?

Improving your course strategy can be one of the most effective and easy ways in reducing your scores on the Golf Course. An area often overlooked by many, understanding your shot patterns including carry distances and offline tendencies with each club can allow you to plot your way around the golf course in the lowest risk – highest gain manner possible.

Below I have used the 3rd hole on the championship course ‘Jocky’s Burn’ to illustrate how a defensive or aggressive shot strategy can impact your score.

In the first image you see, this player has taken a more defensive option off the tee, opting to hit a hybrid short of the fairway bunkers to ensure hitting the fairway. Based on strokes gained data, this means the player gains 0.16 shots against other players of his handicap hitting the fairway. If they were to miss the fairway using the hybrid, they would lose between .1 and .3 shots against other players off the same handicap.

For the approach shot, from 130 yards, the golfer needs to hit the green in order to gain shots again against other golfers of his handicap. However, from the distance he will be approaching the green with, his shot dispersion, as indicated by the size of the white circle, isn’t accurate enough to guarantee this meaning he is likely to lose strokes against other golfers of the same handicap.

In the second image, the player has taken a more aggressive option off the tee, opting to hit driver and aim at the fairway bunker located just short of the burn. Based on this player shot dispersion with driver, we can see they are able to aim at the bunker without fear of reaching it and their right and left dispersion is good enough to be playing from either fairway or semi rough for their approach shot.

In hitting driver and taking the more aggressive option, this player will gain at least 0.14 strokes against other players of the same handicap even though they may find the rough off the tee and at least 0.25 strokes if they hit the fairway. In addition, for the approach shot to the green, the golfer is now closer and after an aggressive tee shot leaving them a shorter club to the green. The golfer is likely to be more accurate with a shorter club as well compared to a longer club thus gaining strokes again in their approach shot.

In summary, by knowing how far and how wide you generally hit each club can allow you diversify your course strategy and decide when to play aggressively or defensively in order to gain shots on your playing partners without taking unnecessary risks. This golfer has the ability to take a more aggressive approach off the tee with confidence and in doing so gained strokes against his/her playing partners.

To make improvements in your own course strategy, we have 9-hole and 18-hole on course lessons available a various times throughout the summer season. Please click HERE to find out more and the days/times available to book.

If you have any questions or comments on this blog post please reach out to us via email – [email protected]