Best Techniques for Playing the Position Game

If you have ever played billiards, you will know that it is necessary to think about more than the current shot if you are going to have success. Sure, you have to make the shot you are on in order to keep going, but you also need to think about where you want to position the cue ball in order to make the next shot manageable. In fact, professional billiards players are frequently thinking several shots ahead, visualizing how the rest of the table is going to play out before they make it happen.

Golf works in much the same way. On each hole, you have to string your shots together to make it successfully from tee to green. Each shot directly influences the next, as you have to play from the spot where your previous shot came to rest. Some golfers fail to think about this aspect of the game, instead just playing each shot as its own individual challenge. Unfortunately, if you play that way, you may be making the game harder than it needs to be.

One of the best ways to deal with bunkers is actually to think well in advance about how you are going to position your golf ball. For example, let’s picture an average-length par four with a deep bunker guarding the front of the green. On this day, the hole is cut only a few steps onto the green, meaning it is relatively close to the trap. If you hit your drive down the middle of the fairway, which is generally what most players try to do, you’ll need to play your approach shot right over the bunker if you hope to get close to the green.

But what if you played down one side of the fairway instead? Rather than aiming for the middle of the fairway, you could pick out the right or left side – depending on which side looked more accessible from the tee – and give yourself a better angle for the approach. With an accurate tee shot, you’ll now be playing in slightly from the side, meaning you might not need to go over the bunker at all. Or, if you do have to hit over the bunker, you’ll only be playing over a corner instead of the whole thing. This type of strategy doesn’t totally take the bunker out of play, of course, but it does improve your odds of success.

It is always a good idea to take a moment on the tee of any par four or par five hole to identify the best path from tee to green. Sometimes, that path is obvious. On other occasions, however, you’ll need to think for a moment and consider how your strengths and weaknesses match up with what the hole is presenting. Whether you are trying to find angles around bunkers or other types of hazards, planning your shots in advance is a great way to avoid trouble and keep your score on track.