Golf pro Scott Sackett talks course management from the lesson tee


Golf pro Scott Sackett talks course management from the lesson tee.

I spend a lot of time on the lesson tee teaching fundamentals like grip, posture, alignment, ball position, and spine tilt. It’s my belief the setup influences most of what happens in the golf swing. I’d like to take a recent lesson in which I worked on swing mechanics and weave that into an on-course example as to how that might benefit one on the course.

This swing here is of one my better players I coach and his preference is to draw the golf ball. To accomplish this, we work extremely hard on the setup position at address. Before we examine the positions in the swing, take note of his feet and alignment in relation to the alignment stick. On the left, feet closed, and on the right, feet open.

That is the only thing we changed, yet I want to point out the dramatic difference in positions on the down swing. The left swing having a golf club going much more out to the right and the swing on the right having a golf club moving more left through the hitting zone. How does this translate on the golf course?

Every great player for the most part eliminates one side of the golf course. Prior to the age of TrackMan, they did this with a precise developed feel of the club path (movement of the golf club through impact) and the face angle (where the face is pointing at impact). It wasn’t something measured but instead felt. Now, with TrackMan, we can fine tune the feel through precise data.

The player in this lesson prefers hitting a draw, as stated earlier. If you look at the shot dispersion (yellow dots) and club delivery data (black arrows), you’ll notice a consistent average of two things: One, the club path moving to the right and second, the face pointed slightly less right than the path is traveling. Both open right to the target line.

What does this give the player the capability to do on the course? Eliminate the left side. With a predictable face angle to the right, accompanied with a club path to the right, a player can almost guarantee his miss will be to the right, with a shot that doesn’t draw all the way back to his target. The one off would be if he contacts the ball slightly on the toe and the ball draws back left across his target line due to the gear effect generated with an off-center strike. This is course management in its simplest terms and can be applied by any player.

Next time you’re practicing or you’re on the course, think about your set up and what impact that has on the direction the golf club will move through impact, what the face angle might be, and ultimately where the miss would occur.



“I have a tip that can take five strokes off anyone’s game: It’s called an eraser.”––Arnold Palmer

“The value of routine; trusting your swing.”––Lorii Myers

“Golf is a compromise between what your ego wants you to do, what experience tells you to do, and what your nerves let you do.”––Bruce Crampton

“Golf is a science, the study of a lifetime, in which you can exhaust yourself but never your subject.”––David Forgan

“Keep your sense of humor. There’s enough stress in the rest of your life not to let bad shots ruin a game you’re supposed to enjoy.”––Amy Alcott

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