Tiger Woods clearly has a strong familiarity with Bay Hill.
On Monday, Tiger picked up his eighth win there in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, tying Sam Snead’s record for most wins at one event.
Year after year, the PGA Tour visits most of the same golf courses. Players who have had an opportunity to play several years on Tour have a built-in advantage over rookies who might be seeing a course for the first time.
When you are familiar with a golf course, confidence is much easier to come by.
But what are some key things you can look for to make sure you’re getting the most out of your course knowledge?
• Everybody knows you’re supposed to hit fairways and greens, but knowing where you absolutely don’t want your ball to go can give you an advantage. For example, if you know that your angle to the green is best when playing from the left side of a fairway, then make sure you do everything you can to get your ball to the left side of the fairway off the tee.
• Find severe slopes on the green. Most pins are cut where the green is relatively flat. Knowing where severe slopes surround these flat areas will help you decide where best to land the ball on your approach. It’s a good idea to prevent landing the ball on severe slopes, especially if they slope away from the hole. Knowing where those slopes are will help you do just that.
• Spend extra time when it's available reading greens. The more you play a course the less time it usually takes you to read the green for each putt. Most greens have slight nuances that even the best green readers won’t pick up on without previous experience. For example, if there’s a particular area of the green that looks to slope right to left, but is actually straight; knowing this beforehand can prevent you from making the wrong read.