Playing better golf starts with a plan. As part of my weekly discussion, I thought this would be a terrific opportunity to discuss course management with you. Each week I will go over a golf hole at Prairie Links: how I see the hole and what I believe is a great strategy to play it. For most golfers we go immediately to the drive when really the best way to play the hole is to think about what shot gives me the best chance to hit the green. For myself, having a comfortable full shot into the green is the best way to go. I will start with the 1st hole and work my way to the 18th hole over the next couple of months.

Hole 1 is a great starting hole. It gives you many options from the tee whether you are playing the back tees or the forward tees. For me when I am looking at a golf hole, I try to find the widest part of the fairway. From there I want to know what it is to cover the trouble or lay up short of it.

For me, the hole plays 378 yards. To the left fairway bunker it is 218 yards and to carry the left bunker it is 263 yards. To the bunker on the right, it is 213 yards to the front of the bunker 238 yards to carry it. These are the kind of yardages I consider when I use my range finder. After taking these numbers into account I have determined that a 3 wood will carry all the trouble and leave me about 115 yards into the center of the green. A full 56-degree sand wedge. 

One of the best lessons I have learned in golf was to keep my approach shots on the side of the pin with the most green to hit. That full sand wedge gives me the best chance at making par or even a birdie. This also means being able to keep the ball below the hole with your approach. Being long of the green at Prairie Links is trouble on every hole. When making a club selection consider this. I know for certain that my sand wedge will go 115 yards unless there is wind to factor in.

Once you have reached the green now is the time to make a nice putt which will always come down to the speed you hit the putt. This green is dangerous on the left side so being in the middle or right half will save you strokes. A four at this hole will be a wonderful way to start your round!