(Editor’s Note: David Leadbetter is one of the top instructors in the world of golf, and the new virtual golf instructor on WGT, providing his personalized tips exclusively for WGT players about real world and virtual golf.)
Course Management is an often overlooked but critical aspect of golf. The key here is to think strategically and put yourself in positions where it is easy for you to score well. This is one area where I've discovered that virtual golf and real golf have a lot in common, so I'm excited to hear what WGT players think when it comes to virtual course management.
We work with thousands of professional and amateur golfers at The Leadbetter Golf Academies, and the best way we've come up with for course management is to think about each hole backwards before you hit your tee shot. Break each hole down into your ideal putt, your ideal approach shot, and your ideal tee shot.
One of my favorite parts of WGT is how easily you can use the Mini Map and the Zoom feature to check out the hole...wish we had that feature out on the real course.
Your Ideal Putt – What's the break of the green near the hole?
- Flat – if the green is relatively flat, play the approach shot you're most comfortable with
- Uphill – this is the ideal position that leads to the most birdies, but leaving an uphill putt may require hitting less club into the green
- Sidehill – play the break into the green that will leave an uphill putt
- Downhill – this putt is the most difficult and can lead to three-putts
Your Ideal Approach - Where is the hole located on the green?
- Left Hole – play from right of fairway
- Right Hole – play from left of fairway
- Front Hole – play shorter, higher shot with more spin
- Back Hole – play longer, lower shot with less spin
Your Ideal Tee Shot – What's the best tee shot given your ideal approach and ideal putt?
- Par 3 – work back from your ideal putt
- Par 4 – work back from your ideal approach, using more or less club from the tee as needed
- Par 5 – depending on the hole distance and layout, taking three safe shots to the green will most likely give you a greater chance of making a birdie
One of the professional golfers I've been fortunate to work with since 2007 is Suzann Pettersen, an amazingly talented player with incredible distance. While we obviously work on all facets of Suzann's swing and game, it's probably her focus on course management that's helping her contend and win tournaments. There's a time to use your distance, and also times to put yourself in the best position to score well. Finding that balance is the key to course management.
Please try this tip in your next virtual (or real) round of golf and let me know how it works. I am confident it will lower your score. But I would love to know what other ideas you have related to course management and strategy.