Is Your Course Management Style Aggressive or Passive?

Course management is an important aspect of any golf game. Understanding the proper time to attempt an aggressive shot was built through previous successes and failing at some of the more riskier shot selections. It can be studied, but until you actually put your studies into action, you will never really understand which course management method will work best for you. I use a course management process that is both aggressive and passive during the same round.

Before I delve deeper in my process, it is important to understand that a core fundamental to course management is the ability to make different shots. In my case, I have a multitude of choices in any give situation because I have practice using all my clubs in a variety of lies. Depending your skill level, your options might be less, however it does not alleviate the requirement to develop your course management skills to fit your game.

Before every shot, I try to determine the best opportunity to make it to the green or place myself in the best position for my next shot to the green. Always hitting the ball as far as possible is not always the best choice because of the challenges I sometimes have of hitting half shots.

The Country Club, at Woodbridge, Ontario.

My aggressive approach generally happens when I feel that pressing my position will result in a better than not chance of succeeding.

At a total length of 404 yards, this hole has many challenges. Here is how I manage my tee shot:

  • To start, the elevation change is about 75 feet with a carry to the fairway of about 200 yards.
  • The distance to the trees on the right is about 250 yards off the tee that will block your approach to the green if you hit the ball to the right.
  • The best line off the tee is an aggressive line left over the middle of the rough. This line does have its challenges as the carry is 225 yards to the fairway.

The rewards of a clear approach shot to the green make this aggressive course management decision over the rough worth the risk.

The time I am the most aggressive is when I have a chance to make the green. Generally, 240 yards is my absolute maximum distance I will try. The conditions have to be very good to squeeze that distance out of my 3 wood. However, I will throttle back if there is a hazard directly between my ball and the green at the 210 to 230 yards from my position. If this is the case, my aggressive course management plan becomes passive and I play to a distance. Preferable between 110 and 90 yards depending on how the hole sets up on my next shot into the green.

12th hole tee shot at Osprey Links.

My passive approach happens when hitting the ball far does not gain any real advantage.

One hole in particular, the passive approach is the only way to play because it sets up a reasonable birdie try more often than not.

The 12th hole at the Osprey Golf Course has a blind landing area and only requires a shot of 190 yards off the tee. If you land on the left side of the fairway the ball will bounce hard left into the woods. The proper play is the right side, but the center of the fairway will suffice. I generally play a 3H on this shot or a 4 iron. Being greedy will only leads to a disastrous double bogey more often than not.

My course management approach is fluid and adjustable. I try to keep an open mind when playing any shot because rigidity in my thinking usually leads to high scores.

How I play golf has evolved over the years. Sometimes my approached changed because I became a better player; yet other times it was a result of watching others play a golf hole. I try to learn something most time playing and as a result, my course management, for now, incorporates an aggressive and passive approach.

What does your course management approach look like?

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

4 thoughts on “Is Your Course Management Style Aggressive or Passive?

  1. Jim,

    For me course management depends on the familiarity I have with the course I am playing on. The first time around I won’t be as aggressive and instead focus on positioning. Maybe after a few rounds I will be more aggressive. Of course, if I’m “on my game” I will be more aggressive…who wouldn’t? Thanks for sharing!



    • Sebastien

      That is a great way to approach a new course. It makes sense to be passive and play proper position before taking any chances. I generally do the same thing, but seeing a hole make up sometimes changes my view.

      Cheers Jim

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t think I would call my overall approach either passive or aggressive since each circumstance is different and the choices I make are choices I try to tailor to that circumstance and how my game feels at the time. When I feel I am playing well, I push the envelope harder, but on days where I don’t feel like I have my best on display, I tend to take fewer chances. And how I’ve played a hole in the past make a difference too. In my mind good course management is finding the proper balance between being passive and aggressive and too much of either will just make your score higher.


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