Strategic Golf Tips from the Greats

Photo by Caryn Levy/PGA TOUR

Lee Trevino

Winner of six major championships among 92 professional titles

“The biggest mistake most amateurs make is they can’t wait to get out there on the course. He’s excited that he’s not in the office for the day so he can’t wait to grab that driver and swing away. He doesn’t think first! Don’t be afraid to hit something besides a driver off the tee. That shot sets up your hole, so you want to be in the fairway.

I was in a tournament in Upper Montclair, NJ, one time where the greens were so soft the ball would suck back off the green. I went into the pro shop and bought a sleeve of Top-Flites that were nice and hard and wouldn’t spin. That made the difference and I won.”

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Photo by Caryn Levy/PGA TOUR

Curtis Strange

Compiled 28 professional wins including consecutive US Open championships

“Your strategy off the tee is always the same–get it into the fairway with the right club. It’s more important around the greens in Westchester because they are sloped and old school so below the hole is always a priority.  Everybody has a different aggressiveness playing to different hole locations. To some, it’s a macho thing. To me, it was always about playing the percentages. It’s kind of boring, but over time you win more.”


Photo by Chris Condon/PGA TOUR

Fred Couples

Winner of 64 professional events including the 1992 Masters

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“It’s a crazy game. It doesn’t matter if we’re playing for a $100 Nassau or a $5 one, it’s the competition that I enjoy. You need to stay relaxed in either case, though, and repetition is the key. The first few times you do anything, it’s very difficult. The more you do it, though, the less stress there is.”

Morgan Pressel

Qualified for the US Women’s Open at the age of 12 and won five professional events including the Kraft Nabisco Championship

“You play your percentages, but there are times to be aggressive. That comes with experience, though, and having a good caddie. Phil Mickelson has made a career out of hitting hero shots, but he misses a lot of them, too.  You can’t play a shot you can’t commit to. If there’s any doubt in your mind about it, you’re not going to pull it off. You’re better off playing to a yardage you know you can hit a good shot from.”


Photo by Stan Badz/PGA TOUR

Mark O’Meara

Has 34 professional wins including the Masters and the Open Championship in 1998

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“Everybody hits bad shots, so you have to manage them. You have to understand your tendencies–do you slice or hook the ball? When you start to go off track a little bit you have to have a swing thought you can come back to that gets your game back to normal.

“If you hit into trouble, you probably shouldn’t try to hit a miracle shot to make a par. It’s not going to happen. If you try, you’re more likely to end up with a triple or worse. Take your medicine, hit your ball back into position, and understand that bogey is a good score in this circumstance.”

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