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I go into the proshop and ask where is the first tee and what is the course record

Show up at the first tee, pull up my GPS app and fire away.

I tee up.

Try to figure out the areas of each hole to avoid.  I look for hazards to avoid, areas to best make approach shots into the greens, areas around the green to avoid (jail), stuff like that.

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Hybrid:  TaylorMade SLDR 2I Hybrid at 17°, Graphite Design Tour AD DI 8S  ||  Irons:  Ben Hogan Icon 4-PW, Nippon Modus3 Tour 120 stiff

Wedges:  Scratch Golf 1018 forged: 50°, 54°, 58°, Nippon Modus3 Tour 120 stiff ||  Putter: Byron Morgan custom Epic Day

Ball: Taylormade Tour Preferred (2016 ball)  ||  Bag: Sun Mountain Three 5 stand bag

 

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25 minutes ago, dugue4 said:

I'm playing a course on Saturday that I have never played before.  I have looked at the course via satellite to try and get an idea of what its like, but other than that, I'm not sure what else to do.  What are some things y'all do before playing a new course?

 

If it's a serious round and I'll be playing the course again:

 

I get a little flip notebook and get it all set up to sketch out holes/green complexes, write down yardages, and take notes as I play the round.

 

If it's not:

 

I have fun and enjoy a round at a new course.

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I play a fair amount of new courses, here is what I do:

  • I too review Google maps
  • Look for course reviews.  Sometimes you will find a deep review with pictures and descriptions of holes.  Or maybe you find a high level review and they make a comment about one hole to watch out for.  Look for comments like the greens are fast or stay out of the bunkers.
  • Download the scorecard and surprisingly sometimes you can find a yardage guide.  Print the yardage guide and read as you approach each hole.
  • If you could not download a yardage guide, maybe they sell one in the proshop.  You may also be able to buy a green reading book.  If you plan on playing these courses again then they may be worth the price.
  • At check in let them know you are a new player and ask for any advice.  Recent example; "on hole #3 do not take a driver, use a hybrid since the hole is severely downhill and most drivers will reach a ravine".  Got it, solid advice.
  • I also ask the pros about the range, how do I get around, where is hole #1 and #10, food on the course, water, bathrooms, etc. 
  • Spend a little time on the putting green and try and get a read on putting speeds. Sometimes this does not work if the putting green is not representative.  ALso, chip a bit from the rough to get a feel.
  • Greet the ranger, start a conversation, and ask for their advice about the course.  Often these are retired folks that love to play that course and their skill set may be closer to ours than a pros.

Have fun.

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Use google maps to figure out which clubs to hit off the tee. If the greens have weird shapes I would check how far from the front the widest part is so I can play to that. Play conservative, try to avoid shortsides and never play to spots where I cant see the ball land (unless forced blind shot ofc.)

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If it's just a casual round I might do a quick overview on Google Maps just to see if there is anything crazy. Other than that I just go out, have fun, and enjoy a new course. 

 

In my mind getting a yardage book and doing tons of research is a bit of overkill just for a round of non-competition golf. 

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2 rules if I can't get any better information:

 

1 - Hit the ball where you can see it off the tee. No risk, no stress tee shots.

 

2 - Aim for the middle of the green. No sucker pins.

 

The funny part about it is how many times my first round on a course is my best score I shoot there.

 

 

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Night before I like to go on 18 birdies and "play" the round. Looking for yardages off the tee, lines to take, areas to avoid. Helps me get a little familiar with the course. 

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If I play a new course, generally it's something much nicer than I'm used to or in a "destination," so I try to just let go and play golf while enjoying the people / scenery. 

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I will lean more into my "go to" shots to aim at targets that I can fully see.

 

What I mean is that I'll avoid shots that might run into trouble because I don't know the landing areas or what the actual trouble looks like out there. There is nothing more frustrating than hitting what you think is a decent shot and end up finding out it's in trouble because you didn't know the specifics of the hole.

 

For perspective, on courses I know, I'm not particularly conservative. I hit driver whenever I can do so and not put trouble into unreasonable play. I don't "layup to a full club" distance, and I instead prefer to hit a ball as close to the hole (again, while avoiding hazard trouble.) But, on a new course, I play with more of a target golf mentality.

 

 

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I look at the scorecard and yardage book and figure out what my game plan is based on that.   I try to identify areas I’d want to avoid and where to miss.   This includes laying out every club i expect to want or need to hit on non-par 3s, identifying the par 5s that are gettable and then mentally assess which holes im probably just looking to make on and get away from.  
 

Then you just go play golf. 

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Like others, I use google earth and it's measuring tool. But I use a laser. If you have a gps or if they have a good yardage book, then google earth is not really necessary. I like to look at a course in advance to get a feel for the look of the course and the routing. But admit it's not helpful with elevation or for the greens. My concern is primarily about getting my tee shots in play on the 4's and 5's. Noting distance to and over bunkers, trees, hazards and OB.  

 

First thin I do is write down the yardages on a piece of paper from the back and next tee up - because those are the tees I will likely play from. I get those yardages from the course's website or from the golf association. Below is an example. I was near Santa Barbara last week and we played a course we hadn't played before - Soule Park. My notes really helped on two par 4's. Oak tees = 6856 / 6588 Orange. Our group of 12 played Orange.

 

1. 395/382 - D or 3w

2. 395/361 - 3w?

3. 140/130 

4. 512/502 - D

 

and so on

 

9. 350/347 - my notes had "4i?" 

(It is a short dog left with cross bunkers in the fairway at about 220 out. The green is reachable with a driver, but so is the parking lot just left. I laid up with a 4i, second shot SW. Made 4.)

 

15. 461/418 - my notes mentioned the barranca straight ahead and perhaps a "3w?"

(We played Orange at 418 and a good drive would have put me into the barranca. I confirm big tree on the right was 275 out from tee. I hit a big 3w even with the tree in the fairway and second shot PW. Made 4.)

 

Anyway, the notes paid off. I eagled the last hole for a 72 and won a few bucks.

 

 

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All of this sounds like an awful lot of work. Usually, a quick look at the scorecard before I head along, a look at any pictures I can find online to get a feel for the place and then away we go. When I get to the course, if their is a storkesaver available, I will pick that up (I like collecting them) and have a look whilst I wait to tee off.

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Titleist 915Fd 15 Stiff Rogue Black 
Titleist 712U 3 Iron Stiff Tour AD DI
Titleist T100 4-PW 6.0 Project X LZ
Titleist Vokey SM6 50.08
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21 hours ago, theebdk said:

I play a fair amount of new courses, here is what I do:

  • I too review Google maps
  • Look for course reviews.  Sometimes you will find a deep review with pictures and descriptions of holes.  Or maybe you find a high level review and they make a comment about one hole to watch out for.  Look for comments like the greens are fast or stay out of the bunkers.
  • Download the scorecard and surprisingly sometimes you can find a yardage guide.  Print the yardage guide and read as you approach each hole.
  • If you could not download a yardage guide, maybe they sell one in the proshop.  You may also be able to buy a green reading book.  If you plan on playing these courses again then they may be worth the price.
  • At check in let them know you are a new player and ask for any advice.  Recent example; "on hole #3 do not take a driver, use a hybrid since the hole is severely downhill and most drivers will reach a ravine".  Got it, solid advice.
  • I also ask the pros about the range, how do I get around, where is hole #1 and #10, food on the course, water, bathrooms, etc. 
  • Spend a little time on the putting green and try and get a read on putting speeds. Sometimes this does not work if the putting green is not representative.  ALso, chip a bit from the rough to get a feel.
  • Greet the ranger, start a conversation, and ask for their advice about the course.  Often these are retired folks that love to play that course and their skill set may be closer to ours than a pros.

Have fun.

Im not sure I’d ever play a new course again after one trip through all of this. 

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I should also state that I only put any effort in if the round is a real money game or tournament. If it is a vacation round, I still try to play well, but will definitely go into "full sends only" mode for that kind of thing and it will definitely hurt my scoring.

 

Both times I have played Kapalua (Plantation) I have tried driver off the deck on 18. Both times I hit it in the gulch left and short of the green, and I'm going to try it again when I am back there this June.

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On 3/4/2021 at 10:56 AM, bigred90gt said:

Show up at the first tee, pull up my GPS app and fire away.

Hell yes.  I'm more concerned with my ball striking for the day.  If that's g2g, I'm usually going to have a decent day. 

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I've played all sorts of new courses in multiple states.  Never have I looked up the course via satellite, largely because it's not something that comes to mind.  I have always relied on my eyes to see how the Designer tells me to play the hole and go from there.  But since buying Garmin Approach Z82 GPS & Laser with 2D course overlay, I point and hit the button to see what the hole ahead looks like, and how far various obstacles are, then hit.  If I am in a tournament where such devices are NOT allowed, I do what I have always done.  Hit the ball down the middle, go find it, hit it again.  😛

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I cant remember the last time i've played a course for the first time in a tournament round. Most of the time i've either played the course before or played a practice round there. 

 

My focus in competitive rounds is mostly knowing what to hit off the tee, even more so than greens. I've always found depth perception when it comes to new layouts very challenging. Things look closer or further than your home course, they always do. And you do things like hit driver when you should be hitting a hybrid or something LOL. Like what angles to take on doglegs etc, this is always the thing i pay most attention to

 

I've played a ton of new courses for fun, and in those cases i never really look at them beforehand, just play and have fun

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On 3/4/2021 at 5:36 PM, theebdk said:

I play a fair amount of new courses, here is what I do:

  • I too review Google maps
  • Look for course reviews.  Sometimes you will find a deep review with pictures and descriptions of holes.  Or maybe you find a high level review and they make a comment about one hole to watch out for.  Look for comments like the greens are fast or stay out of the bunkers.
  • Download the scorecard and surprisingly sometimes you can find a yardage guide.  Print the yardage guide and read as you approach each hole.
  • If you could not download a yardage guide, maybe they sell one in the proshop.  You may also be able to buy a green reading book.  If you plan on playing these courses again then they may be worth the price.
  • At check in let them know you are a new player and ask for any advice.  Recent example; "on hole #3 do not take a driver, use a hybrid since the hole is severely downhill and most drivers will reach a ravine".  Got it, solid advice.
  • I also ask the pros about the range, how do I get around, where is hole #1 and #10, food on the course, water, bathrooms, etc. 
  • Spend a little time on the putting green and try and get a read on putting speeds. Sometimes this does not work if the putting green is not representative.  ALso, chip a bit from the rough to get a feel.
  • Greet the ranger, start a conversation, and ask for their advice about the course.  Often these are retired folks that love to play that course and their skill set may be closer to ours than a pros.

Have fun.

That sounds more like something I’d do before joining a club 😂

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