GoldenTeeFan’s Top Tips for Golden Tee 2009

By • Category: Features, Improvement

As I’ve bridged the gap from 2008 to 2009, I’ve noticed several things to keep in mind during the course of a round that can save you several strokes if you account for them. Alternatively, you can lose even more strokes if you fail to take these tips into consideration! So before you go out and spin some more rounds on the 2009 courses, make sure you’re doing these things below!

1) Club up on your approach shots.
Maybe it’s me, but after my first few rounds on Golden Tee 2009, I noticed that I was often coming up way short on my approach, sometimes even short of the green.  I think some of this had to do with elevation changes (which will be another point), but mostly, I just had to club up more often and/or hit with more power into the greens.  I see it all the time with amateurs — they fail to club up and try to pound the ball to compensate, and that usually won’t get the job done.  So, especially if you’re using backspin or playing a small curve into the green, make sure you’ve got plenty of club to give your ball a chance to hole out!

2) Know how to play the wind on steep elevation drops into a green.
The best example of this is the first two holes on Black Hills, where you can take a par on either if you’re not careful.  Both holes feature a steep drop in elevation as the ball is sailing into the green, and if you don’t compensate enough for the wind, you’ll be in some early trouble!

Tailwinds are easiest to play…club down and let the wind do the work, carrying the ball up to the pin.  Headwinds can be tricky, as your ball can be coming straight down.  You’ll almost never want backspin on these types of shots, while roll can be quite handy.  If you play no spin, make sure the ball will land above the hole, because it’s not going to bounce forward.  Also, remember how much more the wind affects the higher-lofted clubs!

I think the most dangerous winds are the cross-winds.  Not only do you have to nail the distance, but you have to know where to aim as well.  The first thing to keep in mind is that even though you’re shooting downhill, a crosswind is going to cut distance more than you think.  As that ball is coming down, the wind will take over and it won’t be going forward very much anymore.  It’s easy to come up short because you think you’re shooting downhill, so keep in mind the impact of this wind on the distance as well!

Finally, your aim becomes crucial here too.  You’ll usually have to pretend the wind is blowing twice as hard as it’s showing, and aim your shot as if this were true.  Even when the ball touches down on the green, the ball will continue on in the direction the wind was blowing it!  So don’t lose sight of these facts, and you can save yourself from some tough situations.

3) Use the Big Bertha clubs on Black Hills.
As you’ll notice on the Black Hills writeup, these clubs will make playing the course much easier, and with a little practice, you’ll gain a 2-3 stroke advantage over anyone not using these clubs.  Now, if you’re truly a beginner and have gotten comfortable with a particular set of clubs, then it’s okay to stick with that set as you hone your skills.  But if you’re playing for prize money, you’ve got to practice with these clubs on this course…after a couple rounds, you’ll see how that 7-wood and 9-wood can greatly simplify some of the shots on Black Hills!

4) Learn how to survive Grand Savannah #17.
This hole has gotten more press than any I’ve seen, and with good reason — it can totally ruin your round.  If you do NOT have a wind in your face, you’re got a chance at birdie.  But if you do, I recommend two things.  First, if you aren’t having a great round, play around with a 5-iron chip shot.  Don’t use any spin, pull the club back about half-way, and shoot it forward at about 2/3 strength.  Take note of where the ball lands and what it does after it lands, and make adjustments to your pullback or shot strength if needed.  With enough practice, you’ll have given yourself a good chance at carrying the front of the green, where it will roll up, and back, and stick there!

However, if you want to protect a good round, play for par using these steps.  First, club way up and aim for the grass/dirt behind the green on the right side.  Landing it here is step one.  Step two is making a small chip with backspin that lands on or just before this fat part of the green, where it will roll down a ways but not all the way to the water.  Step three is making your big-breaking putt!  Even if you two-putt for bogey here, you can bet you’ve done better than most guys playing the hole in this condition, and that should hold your rank in the competition!

5) Make your uphill putts.
I think the biggest concept of putting that takes amateurs longest to figure out is how to play the break on an uphill putt as opposed to a flat putt (or downhill putt).  It’s not technically true that the ball breaks more on uphill putts, but this illusion is created because the ball is slowing down significantly more as it climbs to the hole.  All you need to know is that you should PLAY more break on uphill putts, and play less break on downhill putts.  It kills me when someone plays too much break on a downhill putt, flies past the hole, and then over-compensates by not playing enough break on the comeback uphill putt, missing again.  Putting is definitely a touch phase of the game, and only experience can earn you the correct feel for each putt.  Still, knowledge of situations like these can be half the battle!

6) Learn low-loft chip shots.
Finally, Golden Tee 2009 is a great time to start practicing your bump-and-run chip shots!  Unless you have to carry the pin, you should be thinking of using a 2-iron through a 7-iron on anything under 40 yards.  If you’re on the fringe, use a very-low lofted club, pull it back a fraction of the way, and gently shoot it forward.  Again, this is a touch shot that takes a lot of practice, but now is the time!  Similarly, if you have to carry a bit of rough to the green, club down appropriately to get more loft.  Another good idea is to pick one club you will always use for your bump-and-run chips so that you have a better idea of carry and distance each time you use it.  Not only will you save yourself a couple shots per round by learning how to hole-out short chip shots, but you will also be more confident attacking the pin if you know you still have a good chance of chipping in from just off the green!

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is a Golden Tee addict from Chicago, IL, thirsty for tips and tricks!
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6 Responses »

  1. good info. i have only been playing GTfor about 8 months now and averge around -15. like the advice on the 17th of savanah. ill defenitly try my 5 iron next time. thanks

  2. ive been playing golden tee for 15 years
    r there any tricks to elevate my game …i see some guys shooting minus 31 on some courses
    remember back in the day on nintendo games u could hit left 2x then right 2x and u would get extra lives…are there any tricks on golden tee….where u could ???

    just wondering


  3. Haha, nope, no tricks like that! The way to go is just learning shortcuts and different shot types (the “chush”, other low-loft chips in order to hole out more often). The pros get to -30 under by playing a “perfect” round (GT Par) and adding in a hole-out or two, and unfortunately, all of us are going to mess up a few shots along the way!

  4. Everybody mentions ”shortcuts”. But nobody says where they are. I know they have to be there waiting to be discovered but could somebody please share? The 2009 GT is kicking our ass! Seeing guys scoring -23 and better all the time while I’m strugglin’ to get to -5 under for a round is frustrating. I need some of those shortcuts shown to me or at least told where and which courses they are. And more tips and tricks would be most appreciated!

  5. You’ve come to the right place! Read through the write-ups of each hole for each of the 2009 courses posted here, and you’ll pick up a few new tips! I’m finishing Sunny Wood right now, and Bonnie Moor will be done by Xmas. Feel free to add more comments if you have questions on any specific hole!

  6. GREAT advice on #17 wasted too many rounds on that hole 🙂

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