Although proper mechanics are extremely important to any golfer's success, a player's strategy is just as important to lowering his or her score.
Improving how to play is one of the quickest fixes to achieve immediate results in golf. Adding confidence results in a snowball effect to a player's all-around game.
Doctor Bob Rotella put it best when he said, "golf is about how well you accept, respond to, and score with your misses much more so than it is a game of your perfect shots."
One of the reasons the top Tour players are above the rest is the way they manage each hole they play. Every player, however, should play to their strengths.
Many are thinking, "I can't even break 100! I don't have any strengths!"
They're wrong. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, no matter the level. It's a player's role to understand what they do best and take that into account when playing.
The first thing every golfer should do is play the hole backwards in their mind, starting from the green and moving back to the tee shot.
Think about the best, or safest, part of the green to try and place your ball from the approach. This will either give you the best chance at a birdie or allow the greatest chance of two-putting.
When weighing this option, also think about the best place to miss, if you indeed don't hit the shot as planned. You want to give yourself the best chance of getting up and down.
Make sure you have plenty of green between you and the hole. If you short side yourself, the percentage for par declines and, conversely, leads to a bigger number.
Move further back to the approach shot. Where is the best spot on the hole to hit your approach shot from? Ideally, you would like to play from the flattest area with the best angle to the pin.
Do you have a favorite club or yardage that would improve your ability to hit the shot you are attempting? Do you work the golf ball one way or another? How would your ball flight effect the shot? These are the questions you must ask yourself.
Finally, the proper tee shot sets everything up for the player. On every par-4 and par-5, don't necessarily hit driver off the tee. Allow the hole's design to dictate your course of action.
If it's a tighter hole and you don't feel comfortable with the driver (or even the 3-wood), there is no shame in hitting an iron off the tee for placement.
Remember, you are trying to place the ball in the best position possible. If an iron does that for you, hit it! Give yourself the best chance to hit the green.
To give yourself the best chance of hitting the fairway or green, you must aim at a small target. I prefer my players pick something in the backdrop, a tree for example. The smaller the object, the narrower your focus will be. This will help you pull off the shot.
Much of this sounds relatively easy, but I find that most players never develop any type of game plan before a round.
Most of the time when I ask players, "What's your target?" I get the response, "the fairway" or "the green" or sometimes the dreaded, "not too sure!"
None of those answers will lead to success. You must narrow your focus, create a game plan, and stick to it.
Getting stronger mentally leads to more confidence and lower scores.