Contributed by: Matt Keel

As we strive to improve our golf games, it’s easy to get caught up in trying to develop the perfect swing or dedicating too much time to practice.  The point to improving our golf games is to play better golf.  By playing better golf, our belief is that we will enjoy the game more.  Learning some easy on-course strategies can help save a few strokes on the course and perhaps enjoy the game more.

Hitting a good tee shot doesn’t guarantee you will have a good hole, but a bad tee shot sure makes it more difficult.  The best way to save strokes from the tee box is to take any trouble out of play.  Trouble can be a fairway bunker, the desert or a water hazard etc.  Choose your target line from the tee box that best reduces the risk of hitting your ball into trouble.  The easiest way to take trouble out of play is to tee your ball on the side of the tee box that corresponds to the trouble.  If the trouble is on the right side of the fairway, tee your ball on the right side of the tee box.  By teeing your ball on the same side as the trouble, you will open up the fairway and reduce your chance of hitting into the trouble..  Next time you are on the tee box, look at the hole from both sides of the tee box and see how your target line changes.

From the fairway, you increase your chances of success by making good impact.  To make good impact, you want to make sure your divot occurs after the ball when you make your swing.  Since fairways are rarely flat, your chance of success changes when you are dealing with a lie that is on a slope.  To ensure you will take your divot after the ball when you have a lie on a slope, take a practice swing to see where you take a divot.  For instance, if you have an uphill lie, your divot will occur further back in your stance.  Simply take a practice swing next to the ball duplicating the lie you have for your shot.  Notice where your divot is occurring.  Adjust your ball position so the divot occurs after the ball and make your swing.

On the green, the best way to save strokes is to avoid three putts.  One reason we make three putts is from not reading the putt correctly.  One reason we misread putts is we only read the putt from behind the ball.  Try walking around the hole 360 degrees.  By walking around the hole entirely you will see the putt from four different perspectives.  Each perspective will show you where the ball will break left or right or where the putt is uphill or downhill.  By reading the putt from four different perspectives, you will be able to make a more informed decision on how to putt the ball.

Learning and practicing golf are important to long term improvement.  Just as important, you want to make sure you learn how to play the game on the course.  In this article were just a few tips on how to improve your play on the course.  To receive more playing tips, you can sign up for my monthly newsletter on my website at