Golf Mentality, Managing Your Course to Improve Your Game

BY KEI KITA, General Manager, Arai Parts of America, Inc.

Born in San Francisco, Kei Kita started playing golf at the age of 1 and belonged to the golf club from junior high school to university. During his junior years, he played in games mainly in Northern California, won three times, and was selected as a Northern California national team player. Kita belonged to the golf club of UC Santa Barbara, and in the fourth year he took 3rd place at the Big West Championship in league competitions. Upon graduating from university, he has been active as a PGA certified teaching professional since 2014, and has participated in PGA PGM Four ball championship and PGM (Pro Golf Management) competitions. Be sure to join him at JCCI’s Golf Webinar Series, Starting on September 29. Registration coming soon. Below you will find his latest article on Golf Mentality.

I would like to talk a little bit about course management in this article. Course management literally means managing your own golf game on the golf course. At professional level, course management is key to performance and it is what separates the great professional golfer from good professional golfer.

However, it is not only at professional level where course management skills are important. Even at amateur level, course management skills are important component for improving your game. By training your course management skills and raising your golf IQ, you will be able to improve consistency and lower your scores. For this article, we will touch up on 3 things you can do instantly to improve your course management skills.

Knowing your miss and tendency

When practicing on the driving range, you will have certain tendencies or certain misses that appear more often than others. Whether that may be a slice or a pull, it is important to know those tendencies and apply them during your round of golf. For example, if there is a hazard to the right or OB to the right and you tend to hit slices, then it is smart to aim further left than normal to avoid the hazard/OB. Even for selecting what club to hit on your tee shots, it is important to know things such as how far your driver carries and how far you hit your 3 wood. If you hit a driver 260 yards and you have a fairway bunker at 260yards on a hole, it would be smart to hit your 3 wood off the tee and make sure you hit short of the fairway bunker to avoid it. If you’re not comfortable hitting a 6-iron to the green, hitting a easy 5-iron is also course/game management.

During a round of golf, it is as important to avoid the double bogeys and triple bogeys to making birdies and pars. By knowing your tendencies and misses, you will be able to think around the hole better and avoid unnecessary misses more often than not.

Watch the pin location.

When hitting your shots into the green, it is always good to keep in mind where the pin location is. Is the pin in the back or cut tightly on the right side of the green? Pin location should be one of the factors on deciding what kind of shot you will hit into the green.

Generally speaking, the center of the green is the safest spot/aimpoint. So if you are facing a tight pin location to the back or to the right, it is smart to lean towards the center of the green. For example, if you have a right pin location, aim a little bit left of the pin. If you have a back pin location, select a club that will not allow you to hit past the pin/green. This way you will be able to avoid the dreaded short siding as much as possible and leave yourself with more straight forward chip shot or be on the center of the green and be on the putting surface.

So next time you are out on the course, watch the pin location and choose a shot and target that will leave you easier shot in case of a miss and avoid short siding yourself or leaving yourself with a difficult situation.

Hit your downhill putts easier.

You can easily lose a stroke or two by 3-putting or 4-putting. In other words, you can easily save a stroke or two and improve your score by avoid those 3 putts and 4 putts. So let’s talk about how to manage your game on the green. The toughest putt you will face in any given situation is the downhill putt. There are many cases where a player hits their downhill putt too hard and end up with 12-footer coming back. In order to avoid those 3-putts or to avoid any chance at 3-putting on those downhill putts, you have to have the mindset of rolling the ball to the front part of the hole. In other words, on the downhill puts you must aim and think short of the hole. This way you will have better touch on the downhill putts and will leave yourself with shorter/easier 2nd putt.

The harder the course you are playing at, the faster the greens are and the more difficult your downhill putts will become. So it is really important to think short of the hole and softly rolling the ball to the front of the hole to avoid leaving yourself a 12-footer and 3 putting the hole.

The more you manage your game better, the more you can enjoy consistent score and golf game. I hope these three pointers will help you raise your golf IQ and help you play better golf. For any questions, please feel free to email me at

Thank you very much and keep swinging away!

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