These course notes were provided by WGT user Kilbraur. Select her name and thank her on the profile page.
These notes are for my clubs and balls. English not my first language I have use Google Translate and check by friend who speak English. If you not agree with some things here that is ok, you play your way, I play my way. Good luck, Kilbraur.
These are the 6 things that changed my game, maybe they is help to you.
Learn and map clubs/balls
For first year on WGT I was an average pro. In ALT shot or match play people call me par machine. I never get better than that. Always 36 for 9 holes. Then I learn to map out my clubs and go quick up to tour master. Example be WGT say that my 3 iron go 225 yards, I learn that with the ball I use it actually go 234.!!! Yes I know!! but it took me long time to realise this!! Now I learn my 3 iron go 213 at 95% power with full back spin all way to 240 with full forward spin. Then I map all other clubs, this big game changer for me. Does you know how far your pitch wedge go with punch with 50% back spin? How far in air and how far roll on green?
You knows the correct answer? OK you is stop read now, nothing here you not know already, this are for people who still learns the game.
For all other people I has another question to you. It about the left hand pin on Bethpage hole 10. What you think give the best birdie chance, an 8 foot putt from in front of pin or play 6 more yards and have 10 foot putt from behind that pin? Yes I agree with your answer. If you has clubs mapped out proper then you be in front of pin and not go behind it.
Drive for accuracy not distance (or full wedge shot easiest in the game)
Not long time ago I play in ALT shot game against a level 96 PRO ( yes I have big laugh too ) Every drive he go 80-100 yards more down fairway than I. 10th hole St. Andrew’s he 30 yards long over pin and his partner tell him “wow nice drive” ( the 90 foot putt ar not so good ) Hole 12, again he hit way over back of green into rough. His opponent tells him “wow nice drive” then tries to hit wedge from rough from back of that hole. He and partner lose of course. He ask me if I can give him any tips and I say he must play driver 100% backspin and 95% power and he say “will that make it go further!!!!!” I say no but it give you good position and keep you out of rough. He say it not any fun not to hit long drives!!
Another one are the looooooonnnnggg discussions on forums about drivers. This one go 5 yards more, no this go 7 yards more. No one are say about forgiveness or accuracy.
So your driver go 8 more yards than me, you win the driving competition, I happy for you. Now it 2nd shot, we see who go more close to pin on elevated green with slope, 182 yards for me but 174 yards for you and with 18mph 30 degree cross wind, and we see who make the birdie putt. Did you win?
Big game changer for me was to sacrifice driver distance for accuracy. Three reasons.
If you roll to rough and play 2nd shot from rough you lose spin on shot.
Second, straight shots easier than angled shots, hit against wind more easy than hit with wind, now which part of fairway gives you the easy 2nd shot to green? That where you aim drive.
Third, the most easy shot in game is a full wedge. I watch opponents drive so long they have to play tricky, less than full power, wedge shots. Here good example are Kiawah 3 (also it Best Of Famous 3) I see the 96 level Pro (yes I still laughing) show off his long drive and go for hole. If it do reach the sloping, raised green, it bounce right off into rough, or plug short in steep face of green (if it Alt shot game their partner say “wow nice drive,”) My easy, full wedge, shot sitting beside pin for full 2 minutes while the boy is do the sum for 23 yard wedge from 30/40 rough to pin 6 foot above on a slope with a 10 mph 33% wind, then adjust for rollout for shot from rough. That sum make my brain go sore. Remember a full wedge shot is easiest in game. Players who learn that score well.
On tee think to youself where best position to play second shot from, then drive to that position. Maybe you not hit as long as opponent but you have more easy 2nd shot. Long drive, with full forward spin for extra distance, trickle into rough at St Andrew’s 17 or Bethpage 15 and you not just lose birdie chance but par chance also. Drive clever and manage the course. Drive for show, putt for bogey.
Change from flop to pitch
Flop shot was always my best shot. Anything edge of green from 29 yards down to 8 yards I would flop. I drop ball right by hole every time. How many go in? Maybe 1 out of every 15. Then I learn that ball that rolling towards a hole has better chance to drop. Flop shot it drop and stop, pitch rolls. Now I learn pitch shot with my wedges and more shots drop in than with flops. I still play flop sometimes but rolling ball to hole is getting me better scores. Remember to take out pin before you hit!! Also good shot from 15/20 sand bunkers. I map out these bunker shots on holes where I play a lot of ALT shot games. My partner put me to bunker on Bethpage hole 5 then pitch with sand wedge full backspin 90% power roll up close enough to take out pin before hitting.
Putt to the high side
Putting my games weakness spot. One thing I has learn are that on sloping putt ball played to low side never go in, ball played to high side many times go in. If you any doubt about read, a putt better go high than low. I all way go to Tour Legend before I worked that one out! It only playing champ speed greens that made me learn it. Now my putting average go better, it a real game changer.
You manage course, not course manage you.
I use the par 5 Bethpage 14 as example. You has put drive to fairway, now you has 2nd shot. Course designer have put pin close to edge of green right behind a bunker on a slope. Before you hit 2nd shot you has to ask youself a question. Where you want 3rd shot to be from? You want to play from bunker in front of green, or rough beside green, maybe 18 foot putt down steep slope, maybe you choose 20 foot putt on steep left to right slope, could be 29 yard pitch to pin left to right slope. Also consider, if you have calculations little bit wrong or miss ding, where you be? Now what shot you choose? What it be?
What I choose are I put blue marker exact 45 yards in front of bunker (I not say to left side I say front of, bang slap in middle) Now for that position do calculations for wind to get me to that position. If my calculations little wrong or miss ding I still safe, not in trouble. My 3rd shot are full wedge to pin.
Here another hole, it are the St. Andrew’s 17th. You has put you drive to rough on left of fairway, good news it only 25/30 rough. Now how you get the par score?
Suppose you calculate distance to far right edge of green and punch to that spot. With bunker now out of play and long stretch of green in front of you to the pin, do you think you could put a wedge close enough to have a chance with one putt for save the par? Or do you think it be better to play a high percentage shot. That the one many players go for. It is to hit from 25/30 rough to a pin on a slope right behind a bunker. I say it high percentage shot because it a high percentage chance you go in bunker or road behind green (very high percentage)
Big difference between below average players and above average players is the above average players manages the course. They think and they plan one shot ahead. The below average players just think how far they can hit, or how close can they can hit the shot they got now.
Why you think course designers put so many pins at edge of green? You need to manage that and ask youself, this question. Do I have a better chance of birdie from be on putting part or be off the edge? What give better percentage chance, 20 foot putt or 20 foot chip from 25/30 rough.
When you land on a green do you think your putt for birdie will be easier up slope or downslope? Now before you hit to green you look to see which side of pin to go so you not have tricky putt.
Last examples of course management are the Royal St. George. It have lumpy fairways. Many of these fairways slope down at edges to thick rough. If you not careful your drives hit into humps and lose distance or they bounce on humps into the rough. On that course it are most essential you use all camera angles and plan drives very carefully. On flat fairways like Bethpage you pick your ideal spot to play 2nd shot from and hit to it and you be close to it. Royal St. George you pick spot but before you hit to it you has to examine it from all camera angles to see what ball do when it hit there.
When you start thinking and planning one shot ahead then you managing the course PLUS you managing to better your score.
Keep the calm and carry on
Below average players go to the sands or rough they panic and think they can still reach pin. Above average players just be calm and think of a new plan to get to the hole. Many times it still possible to get out of trouble and save par, then if you opponent miss the birdie putt you get a half hole.
I have see players try to hit 3 wood out of 70/80 mulch. I see players try to hit long iron out of the steep bunker on the ST. Andrew’s par 5 5th hole. I watched players on Bethpage 2 and 7 in the woods, ball sit at bottom of tree, they aim straight at a tree and think they can hit ball right through it.
If you has follow the first tip here you is know how far you wedges go from 20/25, 25/30, 30/40, 50/60 rough with both the full and the punch shots. So you in rough you know how far you can hit. Now you look at the different camera angles and think where are best place to be when I get out, where best place for next shot. Now you play to there. That what the clever player do, he keep calm, re think and he carry on. Player who not think good, start the big panic, just hit forward as far as he can go …………….. and he can usually go as far as the next piece of rough.
It are same in the sand bunker. If you know your wedges you know where you can hit to and forward not always a good place. I give example the St. Andrews 13th hole, right hand pin. Many players go to bunker just front right of hole. What they do? They panic and hit from sand straight to hole. Where ball go when it hit the slope between bunker and pin? Way far across green, need the bus to come back. The player who keep calm look at different cameras he see that if instead of hit to 12 o’clock to hole but hit to side at 3 o’clock he land away from slope in better place and not so hard putt.
Last example are the St.Andrews hole 12 . two bunker in front of the green one are in front of other. You must see just like I see, players hit from one go in the next. Why are they not look, think and use the different plan? They drive to bunker, ok 2nd shot they hit out to the sideways, 3rd shot are now closer to hole so it a flop or pitch, that leave putt to be save the par. Your opponent was on green in two but if he has miss the birdie putt it are a half.
I say the truth, when I a beginner I has make all mistakes same as the other peoples, but after little time I learn to re think when I in trouble in rough or sand, then my scores go better.
This why I is say, in trouble keep calm, many times it most possible to save the par, that been big game changer for me.