Master the Middle Holes Golf Tip

Golfers obsess over their performance at the beginning and end of a round. No doubt, starting and finishing strong is important. But the holes in the middle count just as much.

In fact, the mid-section often marks a turning point due to the interruption—however brief—between the ninth green and 10th tee.

A stop at the clubhouse can slow your momentum if you’re playing well, or offer a chance to hit the “reset” button if you’re struggling. Regardless of your play, beginning a new nine always carries some psychological significance.

Think of the pause between nines as equivalent to halftime in football. Assess the first half, make adjustments and, if necessary, give yourself a little pep talk. Let’s look at a few ways to improve your results at the end of the front nine and the start of the back.

  • Set a target score for finishing the front: By the time you’ve completed six holes (one-third of a round), the day’s swing quality has been established—you’re either in a good groove, or fighting your swing. Likewise, your score is trending higher or lower than normal, or it’s in line with your typical outing.
  • Whatever the case may be, you want to finish the front nine with momentum heading to the back, and you’ve got three holes in which to do it. Set a personal par for each remaining hole and a total for all three. For example, let’s say you determine those holes to be playable in 2-over par. You goal is to play them in 1-over or better.If you can meet or exceed your three-hole target score, you’ll start the second nine in a positive mood regardless of your total score on the front.
  • Careful what you eat at the turn: A hot dog with the works sure would hit the spot, wouldn’t it? Or a burger, chips and fountain soda, maybe even a brewskie? Your taste buds and belly may thank you, but you’ll regret it when that fatty, carb-heavy meal hits bottom.
  • Digesting such foods is hard work, and the energy your body expends on the effort will sap your swing and senses of strength and vitality.Instead, have a piece of fruit and a protein bar, granola, nuts or some (healthy) trail mix. If you really need a meal, have a wrap with tuna salad or lean meat like grilled chicken or turkey, and a helping of veggies.What you eat before and during a round can make a difference in your play. Once golf is over, all bets are off.
  • Conduct a quick review of your play: With nine holes in the book, a quick assessment is in order. If you keep track of stats such as fairways and greens hit, number of putts and up-and-downs, add up your front-side totals and see where you stand. (If you don’t currently keep stats, you should start.)
  • This will help clarify how you’re actually playing and which part(s) of your game you need to pick up coming in.At the turn, reflect on your best and worst shots from the first nine. Analyze what you did right or wrong in each instance, identify any course management or mental errors you made, and apply that knowledge the rest of the day.
  • Set a target score for beginning the back: You’ve gotten a bite to eat and taken stock of your front nine results. Time to attack the back. Holes 10 to 12 can make or break a round. If you’ve made the turn in good shape, thinking too far ahead might make you anxious.
  • If your score isn’t so good, one more bad hole may crush your spirits.As you did for holes 7 through 9, set a target score for the opening three holes on the back. This will help you stay in the moment, an especially important task as round’s end draws closer.Mastering the middle holes of a golf course can significantly impact your overall score and performance. The middle holes typically require strategic decision-making and precise shot execution. By focusing on these holes, you can turn your round into a successful one. Here are some golf tips for mastering the middle holes, along with answers to common questions:

    Golf Tip: Master the Middle Holes

    1. Course Strategy: Before teeing off, analyze the layout of the middle holes, identify potential challenges, and create a strategic plan.
    2. Conservative Approach: In the middle of the round, consider a conservative approach to minimize risks and avoid big numbers on the scorecard.
    3. Stay Mentally Focused: Middle holes can be mentally demanding; stay focused, positive, and patient throughout the round.
    4. Choose Safe Targets: When approaching greens, aim for the middle to minimize chances of landing in hazards or tough positions.
    5. Know Your Distances: Accurate distance control is crucial on the middle holes to set up birdie opportunities or safe pars.
    6. Short Game Proficiency: Work on your short game to save strokes around the greens and handle difficult lies or tricky pin positions.
    7. Manage Course Conditions: Consider factors like wind direction and course conditions when planning your shots on the middle holes.
    8. Course Knowledge: Familiarize yourself with the layout of the course to make informed decisions on club selection and shot placement.
    9. Avoid Hero Shots: On challenging holes, play smart and avoid hero shots that could lead to unnecessary risks.
    10. Stay Composed: If you encounter setbacks, maintain composure and focus on the next shot to recover effectively.


    1. Q: How many holes are considered the middle holes? A: The middle holes usually consist of the holes between the opening few and the final few on the course, typically around holes 6 to 13.
    2. Q: Should I adjust my strategy based on my performance on the front nine? A: Yes, your strategy can be adjusted based on your front-nine performance. If you're playing well, you might be more aggressive. If not, a conservative approach may be wise.
    3. Q: Should I be more aggressive on the middle par-5 holes? A: Being aggressive on par-5 holes can be rewarding, but avoid unnecessary risks that could lead to high scores.
    4. Q: How can I improve my approach shots on the middle holes? A: Work on your iron play and distance control during practice sessions to improve your approach shots.
    5. Q: Can course management be more crucial on the middle holes? A: Yes, course management is vital on the middle holes, as they can have more challenging hazards and narrow landing areas.
    6. Q: Should I aim for the center of the green on approach shots? A: Aiming for the center of the green provides a safer target, especially if pin positions are difficult.
    7. Q: How can I stay mentally focused during the middle holes? A: Focus on one shot at a time, practice mindfulness techniques, and maintain a positive mindset.
    8. Q: Can I gain an advantage by studying the middle holes before the round? A: Yes, studying the middle holes and having a game plan can give you a strategic advantage during the round.
    9. Q: Should I take more club to clear hazards on the middle holes? A: It depends on your comfort level and the distance required to clear hazards. Factor in wind and other course conditions when making the decision.
    10. Q: Should I avoid high-risk shots when playing well on the middle holes? A: If you're playing well, you can be more aggressive on certain shots, but remain cautious and avoid high-risk shots that could jeopardize your momentum.
    11. Q: Can I make up for a challenging front nine by excelling on the middle holes? A: Yes, a strong performance on the middle holes can help you rebound and set a positive tone for the back nine.
    12. Q: How can I handle pressure on the middle holes in a tournament setting? A: Practice under pressure situations, stay focused on your routine, and maintain a calm demeanor to handle pressure effectively.

    By incorporating these golf tips and answers to common questions into your game, you can master the middle holes and set yourself up for a successful round. Remember to stay focused, play to your strengths, and make well-informed decisions to maximize your scoring opportunities on the course.