Strategy: Learn from Luke

Know your limits says pro at The Carrick

Strategy: Learn from Luke

Simply by thinking better on the golf course you can improve your scores, says Gavin Abson, a former European Tour caddie and now Senior PGA pro at The Carrick on Loch Lomond.

He says the best golfers are not only great ball-strikers, chippers and putters, they have terrific course strategy.

But even without the help of a caddie, every golfer, from novice to pro, can learn to play the right shot at the right time.

“Making good decisions on the golf course will certainly translate to lower scores,” says Gavin. “From the tee, there will be times during your round where more importance should be placed on accuracy to put the ball in play as opposed to achieving distance.

“So it’s is important to pick out a landing area away from any hazards using a club you feel confident will find that area. Instead of using the driver consider a fairway wood, a utility club or even a mid-iron.

Gavin, who caddied for 12 years on Tour adds that for approach shots, there will be times when it is advisable to be smart and aim away from the flag, especially if there’s a bunker, water or thick rough on the side of the green where the flag’s positioned.

“But remember, there will also be times when you can be aggressive. The shorter the yardage, the more confident you will feel and therefore the more aggressive you can be.”

Gavin rates new World No.2 Luke Donald as one of the best players on Tour when it comes to course strategy.

“His accuracy allows him to plot his way around the golf course, playing to his strengths and rarely getting into trouble.”

Here are Gavin’s quick tips for good course strategy:

*Pick a target aiming away from trouble.

*Select the right time to be aggressive.

*Think in advance about your next shot. Treat it like a game of chess; when it’s a tricky hole where’s the best place from which to play your next shot?

*When possible, check the slopes on the green to try to leave your apporach shot below the hole so you face an uphill putt.

*Don’t try shots with which you are not comfortable.

And finally...

*Know your limits and play to your strengths.

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