How to play a long golf course

There is no reason to play a golf course that is too long for you. Just move up a set of tees. If you are ever in a situation where you have to play from tees that are too long, here is how to do it.

First, realize that you will shoot a score that is higher than you usually do. Accept it and do not concern yourself with your score as you play. Just play golf. Add it up when the round is over.

Second, control the ball. You must get the ball in the fairway off the tee, and keep it there. If a long par four will be a three-shotter for you anyway, make them three easy shots. Let’s say that you don’t want to, or can’t, hit a 437-yard par 4 in two. Back way off and make them three easy shots. You can get there with two 5-irons and a pitching wedge. Leaving your driver home might not be a bad idea.

Third, avoid trouble around the green. Know which is the longest club you feel sure that you can hit the green with. Now add three clubs. If you have to hit that club or more to get the ball on the green, lay up if there is lots of trouble around the green you could hit into.

Fourth, if you know you’re going to use up an extra stroke to get to the green, hit that third stroke from a distance you’re very good at. Let’s say you own the 75-yard pitch. Plan your attack so your second shot ends up 75 yards from the pin.

Fifth, your short game goal is to get the ball on the green. From inside 100 yards, you dare not take two shots to get the ball on the green. Forget the pin; aim for the center of the green. The longest approach putt you might have is 40 feet, and they will likely be much shorter than that.

Finally, since you’re using up extra shots to get the ball on the green, you just have to get down in two putts once you’re there. There are no shortcuts here. You’re giving away strokes in the fairway, you can’t give up any more on the green.

Uppermost, never let the added length lure you into trying to hit the ball farther than you can. Stick to playing your game and be happy with the result.

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