Now that we are well into the colder months of golfing in Central Oregon, it’s quite possible you might be venturing out to warmer cities to play some golf. If you have the opportunity to vacation somewhere new and play some golf on a course that you’ve never played on, consider the following tips to help you navigate your game in unfamiliar territory.
STUDY THE COURSE
Do some research online. Read about the course on their website or check out client testimonials to see what they say about the course. Find out if there is a particularly difficult hole that gets almost everyone that plays it. You can also learn the degree of difficulty for that particular course, which can help you if you’re a beginner or a pro.
When you arrive, you can also check out the layout booklet or score card. Both should provide you with a diagram of the holes. Some booklets may even provide you with possible hazards or local rules or etiquette, so you don’t look like the beginner that you may be. Some websites will provide a score card online, so you can preview before you even arrive at the course.
A key tip- that most may miss, is to look at the flag locations on the 9th and 18th holes. These greens are marked with red, white and blue pins which measure the distance to the center of the green.
DON’T FORGET TO WARM-UP
It is also important to warm up your body and your swing before you play. Whether it’s your first game of the spring, or you played last week, you must get your muscles moving before you expect them to perform and work. Maybe hit a small bucket of balls or spend some time on the driving range, just to get things moving.
Another important part of warming up is to take practice swings on the putting green. This could help you determine what the speed of the greens on the course are, whether they’re slow or faster. This is an important step in learning a new course and often overlooked because you are so excited to get out and play.
PAY ATTENTION ON THE COURSE
Be sure to lookout for ponds or creeks. Walk them and let your feet tell you what’s best. Land will typically slope to water, no matter what it may look like. Your observations and feet will give you the information needed to make best practices. Watch out for wildlife on the course and be sure to notice who else is sharing the course with you.
Use the first hole as a practice hole, you’ll overcome the mistake you forfeit in your game, with what you learn at that first hole.
Don’t forget to enjoy the game, sometimes we forget this important part when we are playing somewhere new. Courses will always have difficult areas or holes and they might have easy ones as well. Remember to follow the rules and the etiquette, the paths and signs posted throughout the course. Have fun and enjoy your surroundings!