The ultimate goal of golf is to shoot your lowest scores. I know almost every golfer out there is constantly looking for answers to this question. While I have written over 250 articles on this subject, here are five basic concepts that I know will help you improve as a golfer.
Don’t Aim at the Pin
Many golfers assume that the flagstick is their target when they are hitting approach shots into greens. I believe this is a flawed strategy for a number of reasons, and it leads to more bogeys and doubles than birdies. For the overwhelming majority of golfers, their target should be the center of the green, or the “safer” side. Using this strategy alone can save golfers of all levels multiple strokes.
Work on Your Speed Control
Putting is arguably the most difficult part of golf. The average PGA Tour player only makes 50% of their putts from 8 ft. So what does this mean for you? Stop placing so much pressure on yourself to make putts! Many times it is out of your control. What is within your control is limiting three putts, and that is all about improving your speed on the greens, and leaving yourself shorter second putts.
The next time you are practicing devote some time to your lag putting. Try playing games with yourself to see if you can leave the ball within a three foot window from positions outside of 25 feet.
Stop Mindlessly Hitting Balls
If you show up to the range and rifle through a bucket of balls without giving much thought to what you are working on, that does not entitle you to improved performance on the course. One of the best ways to increase your golfing skill is to actually challenge yourself during practice sessions with games.
Instead of hitting your driver 30 times in a row, put real pressure on yourself to try and keep it within certain targets and assign yourself points for progress.
Lose the Unrealistic Expectations
If there is one epidemic amongst recreational golfers it’s that they have 20 handicaps, but PGA Tour expectations. By now you know that golf is a challenging game. Mistakes are supposed to happen, and the more you punish yourself for something that was bound to occur during your round, the better chance you have at actually playing well.
You will be surprised how much better you will play, and how much more fun golf is when you free yourself from the shackles of unattainable performance.
That Guy at the Range is Not Your Teacher
Swing tips are a dime a dozen, and there is no shortage of golfers willing to dole them out. If a friend, or even a random golfer approaches you on the range with a “fix” for your swing, it is best not to listen to them. The majority of these fixes will not work for you because the information is simply not correct. If you truly want to fix your swing it’s best to work with a real teaching pro.
Listening to golfers who are not qualified to teach is like playing a bad game of telephone.
About the Author
Jon Sherman is the owner of Practical Golf, a website dedicated to being an honest resource for the everyday golfer who is looking to enjoy the game more, as well as improve. He is the author of the bestselling book 101 Mistakes All Golfers Make (and how to fix them). You can find him on Twitter here – @practicalgolf, where he is happy to chat about golf with anyone.