After writing an Article for this Months Today’s Golfer on ‘Playing Smart’ (pick up a copy HERE or by Clicking the Image) my initial intention for this Topic was to construct a fairly concise, albeit thorough piece that shone light on the key areas of Good Course Management. However, like with most things I do, the more I delved, the more comprehensive it became. So it’s now morphed into a “Comprehensive Introduction to Course Management”, delivered over a 5 Week Series (see what I did there ;)

I’m keen to admit that there are much smarter people that specialise in this field, such as Mark Broadie from ShotLink, Scott Fawcett from Decade and the Team at Shotscope. They will be able to take your interest deeper than I can - I highly recommed you check them out and give them a Social Follow. However, in order to get you to their door, I believe it’s important to provide a broad guide on what I believe are Key Concepts to good Course Management, or to the rest of the Sporting World - Tactical Awareness.

They are:

  1. Know your Game

  2. Personal Par = Course Par + Handicap

  3. The Environment

  4. Go-Zones

  5. Play Smart!

As you’ll have deduced, I’m keen that you understand things from a broader perspective initially then get into the specifics later. So “stay tuned” over the coming Weeks. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin..

1. Know Your Game


Truly understanding yourself & your tendencies is vital to great Course Management. It’s folly to implement someone else’s Game Plan - they’re not you, they see the World differently, they haven’t got your Game! Avoid a “one size fits all” approach. You need to Know Your Game and tailor your Tactics appropriately.

To start the process I recommend you implement a solid Post Round Debrief. This will help you understand the quality of each aspects of your Game on an Objective Level i.e Off the Tee, Approach Shots, Short Game and Putting (aka: your Skills).

The tool I recommend was created by Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott of VISION54 called “Good, Better How”. You can complete this in a Journal, Notebook or simply download the Template below:

Make sure to include all aspects of your Performance i.e:

  • Ball Control (Greens In Regulation, Fairways Hit, Hole out Conversion etc)

  • Performance State (Commitment and Focus Levels, Post Shot Reactions etc)

Combining these aspects provides you with “both sides of the coin” i.e. Objective Data on your specific Ball Control Skills (Off the Tee, Approach Shots, Short Game & Putting) and Subjective Analysis of the State you were in that facilitated the your Ball Control Outcomes (the Story behind your Skill if you will).


To truly understand your Ball Control Skills I recommend you accumulate Statistics (commonly known as “Stats”) on your Performance. Platforms like Shots to Hole and Golf Stat Lab are fantastic tools that help you establish Objective Data. They provide wonderful perspective and help you manage your expectations, especially when you compare your Stats (Skill Level) to the World’s Elite (see the Table).

This is particularly useful from a Tactical standpoint as you can establish your “Game Plan” using the proven assets of your Game.

This reflection tool, combined with Stats, helps you formulate a Positive Action Plan not only for highlighting aspects of your Game that need improvement, but also will guide your Tactical choices for your coming rounds.

Knowing Your Game (understanding yourself & your tendencies) can’t be understated. It’s the foundation off which you build not only great Course Management, but your entire Performance.

Stay tuned for Part 2: Personal Par = Course Par + Handicap

Thanks for reading!

Oliver C. Morton