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How a ‘Cautiously Aggressive’ Mindset Can Help You Score Better

Bernhard Langer took his 44th win on the Champions Tour last weekend, and he did so using a “cautiously aggressive” mentality.

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Welcome to Play Smart, a regular game improvement column that will help you play smarter and better golf.

Bernhard Langer’s golf game ages like fine wine. Despite Father Time’s best efforts, Langer remains competitive each week on the Champions Tour. And some weeks, he’s even more competitive – he’s absolutely dominant.

Last week, Langer was dominant. Playing in the TimberTech Championship, the 65-year-old beat a field of top pros on the senior circuit and claimed a six-shot victory. The win was Langer’s 44th overall on the Champions Tour and his second this season.

“I was happy with most of my game this week,” Langer said. “There wasn’t much that could be improved upon, I think. I drove very well, my irons were good for the most part. The only thing is that on the first day I didn’t make a lot of shots, but I did more than my share yesterday and a few today. I really can’t complain.”

Bernhard Langer waves to the crowd.

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After a total of two rounds of 129 over the weekend, it’s hard to pick your game also A lot of. Langer made 20 birdies over 54 holes and missed just three strokes for the tournament.

But perhaps even more impressive than the physical components of Langer’s game were his course management skills. Winning by six shots takes a lot more than a solid ball hit and a hot bat. It also requires elite course management.

Langer explained after his final round that when he secured a considerable lead on Sunday, he began employing what he calls a “cautiously aggressive” mentality.

“You don’t go for every flag,” he said. “You just hit them in the middle of the lawn and press the other guy to produce something.”

It might be rare for recreational players to find themselves with a big advantage on a Sunday, but that doesn’t mean Langer’s strategy should be ignored. Using a cautiously aggressive game plan during your own round can also result in lower scores.

By shooting away from the pegs and instead aiming for the fattest part of the green, you are reducing the chance of making large numbers, which are killers for weekend warriors. Instead, just try to get the ball on the putting surface – wherever that is – and continue from there.

Ideally, this will reduce the number of doubles on the card and provide more two-stroke pars. Better yet, you can even roll some of those putts for birdie, helping your scorecard even more.

But don’t just take my word for it. Langer’s long list of accolades should be more than enough to convince you that sometimes the best photo is the one you didn’t take. Editor

Zephyr Melton is assistant editor at, where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team, he attended the University of Texas, followed by stops with Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists in all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf.

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