Our Tactical Considerations

Our Tactical Considerations

Our Tactical Considerations

Golfers in general terms are going to play most of their golf over one or two courses, their home club. This often leads to playing the course out of habit; our tactical thinking very rarely comes under scrutiny. An easy example of this is at the par 3’s where the same club automatically comes out regardless of pin position or other factors that should influence your thinking. Even after the hole or round is completed, poor results will nearly always be put down to just a bad swing or a bad shot but in some cases this poor swing may have been a direct result of a poor tactical choice. Sometimes a bad shot doesn’t always have to cost you if your decisions have been made been tactically savvy.


This automated thinking of course is very understandable and I’m not suggesting for a minute it doesn’t have any benefits or that we play all our golf this way but I have noticed in certain situations like team matches or when golfers go for practise rounds to other courses that tactical awareness may not be a factor that has been exercised. Like all departments of our game it takes practise and consideration to let our planning and course management work to its best. Below are a few pointers of things that can be considered, it may worth taking the time to reflect on your game and how you approach your course.

  • Knowing how far we hit each club in our bag is fundamental to good game management and if this is not in place it will always hamper your game plan.
  • Having some kind of distance reference and green mapping understanding (e.g. quality yardage book). This is important for away courses.
  • Work out your game plan locating GREEN & RED zones always focus on the green zones.(identify your miss zones).
  • The ability to match up shots to situations. Understand the most appropriate ball flight into certain areas. E.g. Small raised tiered green = not having too much spin but perhaps a lower trajectory. Small length green = high flight soft landing shot.
  • Work back from the hole to the tee not from tee to hole.
  • Identify the “GO holes”.
  • Work out the direction lines for driving or the actual specific areas you need to put the ball in off the tee, this may be more relevant on some holes than others.
  • When shots do not go according to plan, the ability to readjust your strategy and not to make up for your mistakes in one shot.
  • Play to areas that encourage your strengths and do not exploit our weaknesses

Paul Thompson has been the Fellow PGA Professional at Powerscourt Golf Club in Wicklow since 1995. In addition to providing coaching on-site he also is a coach with The Golfing Union of Ireland. Appointments with Paul can be booked via Powerscourt Golf Club Reception: Tel (01) 204 6033 or the Golf Shop Tel (01) 204 6031. Read more about lessons from Paul Thompson by visiting the Powerscourt Golf Club Website.

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