As an avid fan of golf, naturally, you want to better your golf game. If the center of the green brings you the most joy in life, but equally frustrating is what you experience from an untimely shot, then you're in luck- as our aim today is to help you improve your game.
Gone are the days of wading through bunkers looking for that ill-fated ball, when you should be enjoying the beautiful views of one of the world-class courses or resorts you're playing at.
Or worse yet, feeling so out of breath that you don't think you can manage to complete the round (make sure you keep your energy up with solid nutrition, like a Whole In One Bar)
Don't lose hope, as you can improve your game in a proven and predictable manner, by focusing on the basics. Ready to tee off? Then let's go!
1. Improve Your Fitness
Yes, it's true that you don't need to be the fittest, strongest, or have the build of an endurance athlete to be the best in golf, neither are those traits synonymous with golfing success.
But make no mistake, this doesn't mean that if you're sorely out of shape that you stand the remote chance of faring any better; you need to work on your physical fitness to thoroughly enjoy a round.
For one, take into consideration the fact that many courses cover a total distance of a few kilometers- now imagine trudging along with an extra 50, or 100 pounds. Not very pleasant or helpful to your cardiovascular system.
A moderate amount of regular exercise can do wonders in this regard. In that same vein, mobility goes a far way too. If you don't wish to wake up to excruciating aches and pains all over your body tomorrow, time spent working on your flexibility is crucial, and time well-spent.
2. Set Up A Net At Home
Listen, playing golf once weekly (if you're lucky) is not going to cut it if you really want to up your game. Just in the same way that working out once weekly won't get you fit anytime soon, the same applies to bettering your golf game.
You need to practice, and the great thing is that you can do so in the comfort of your own home without spending a fortune on green fees. How? By simply setting up a net in your backyard or garage.
This way, you can hone those skills when time and weather permit, rather than waiting for an opportunity to play at an expensive course.
There are many affordable and easy to set up versions available on the market, so there's really no excuse for not practicing your game more frequently.
It's a good idea to try and take shots daily- as many as 50 to 60, time permitting. But then again, anything is better than zero.
Yes- you won't be able to develop the flight and trajectory of your shots, but you will undeniably increase the number of shots you hit. When playing competitively (friendly or otherwise), it's quite embarrassing to miss shots, as it's viewed as a fairly rookie action.
3. Learn When To Play Offense Vs Defense
Golf is a delicate game, one which doesn't just require you to clobber the ball to see the maximum distance you can attain; instead, it requires some degree of finesse.
This is especially true when you find yourself in a precarious shot position that requires that one in a million shot to make it out.
For example, if you find the ball teetering on the edge of a bunker, your natural inclination might be to play offense and go for broke by trying to hit it as hard as possible in an effort to get over the sand trap.
But this is often where golfers fail, as they forget that there's another option- playing defense.
In this instance, you would assess the situation and try to land the ball just short of the hole, as this would give you a much higher chance of making par, or even birdie.
The takeaway here is that you need to learn when to take risks, and more importantly, when not to.
4. Work On Your Grip
One of the most important, yet commonly overlooked aspects of golf is grip. How you hold the club can make a world of difference in how well you hit the ball- it's that crucial.
In fact, before learning to master the swing, you are thought to grip the club properly, but unfortunately, sometimes this still fails to materialize.
The grip is what connects you to the club, and therefore it's integral in dictating the success or failure of your shot.
There are three main grips that are widely used in golf, each with its own set of pros and cons:
-The Vardon (overlapping) grip: This is the most commonly used grip in golf, and for good reason too. It's simple to execute and provides a great deal of control.
-The interlocking grip: As the name suggests, this grip involves locking your pinky finger on the lead hand with the index finger of the trailing hand. It provides a bit more stability, which is ideal for those with a weaker grip.
-The baseball (10-finger) grip: This grip is mostly used by beginners as it's the easiest to learn. That being said, it does have its fair share of drawbacks, the main one being a lack of control.
Once you have settled on a preferred grip type, one of the most important things you can do is to not squeeze the life out of the club like your life depends on it. An overzealous grip tenses the muscles in the arm all the way up to the shoulder, and will never allow you to get a full range of motion in your swing.
In turn, it might be harder to hit square shots, with slicing or hooking across the line the result.
Remember- a light grip will always work wonders.
5. Get Fit For Your Clubs
This tip may seem like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised at how many golfers play with clubs that are ill-suited for them.
It's important to get fit for your clubs because the right clubs can make all the difference in your game.
The thing about golf is that it's a very specific sport, and as such, it requires very specific equipment.
Many golfers justify not getting fitted by not being good enough, but as it turns out, not doing so could be the reason that your performance is not improving at the rate you like.
Think of learning to ride with a bike that's too small for you. Yes, you will eventually master it, but the small frame will likely put you in unnatural positions to maintain motion and is not the ideal way to go about things.
In the same way, learning golf with the wrong fit can affect everything from your shots to your overall game.
Each club has been designed with a specific purpose in mind, so using the wrong club for a particular shot can lead to all sorts of problems.
For example, if you're trying to hit a shot from the fairway but you're using a driver (which is meant for teeing off), you're likely going to have a hard time making solid contact with the ball, which will in turn lead to an inaccurate shot.
The same can be said for using a putter on the green- it's just not going to work.
This is why it's so important to get fit for your clubs- the right clubs will make all the difference in your game. And remember- bad form and technique can form to accommodate ill-fitting clubs, so getting fitted is a worthwhile endeavor.
6. Work On Your Worst Shot
There is a technique known as the worse ball drill, which seeks to strengthen your weaknesses during a round.
The premise is simple- you play two balls and focus on your worst shot with each one.
For example, if you tend to slice the ball, you would tee off with one ball and focus on hitting a draw.
With the second ball, you would simply focus on making good contact.
The goal is to score better with the "bad" ball by using a specific focus, and in turn, improve your overall game.
This drill can be applied to any number of shots, from teeing off to chipping around the green.
No matter what your particular weakness is, there is sure to be a drill out there that can help you work on it.
The worse ball drill is one of the best techniques for improving your ability to play trouble shots you find yourself in often.
7. Plan Your Range Visits
While practicing at the range is a welcome relief for many, away from the hazards and traps, it can do you a disservice if you're not smart about it.
Haphazardly hitting balls without a purpose is not going to do much for your game.
Instead, you should approach each range visit with a specific focus in mind.
For example, if you're working on your tee shots, only hit balls from the tee. Or if you're trying to improve your iron play, set up a few targets and work on hitting them.
Or even better yet, cycle through your clubs every shot, since that's the way golf is really played. Rarely, do you use the same club consecutively for shots, so you should be proficient in using all the clubs you have.
The point is, you should have a plan when you practice and stick to that plan.
Don't just go through the motions- make each shot count.
This may seem like a lot of work, but trust us, it's worth it. By having a specific focus, you're much more likely to improve your game and see results on the course.
8. Get a Golf Coach
This is perhaps the best piece of advice on the list.
A golf coach can help you in so many ways, from fixing your swing to improving your mental game.
If you're serious about taking your game to the next level, getting a coach should be at the top of your list.
There are many coaches out there to choose from, so do your research and find one that you're comfortable with.
And if you're not ready for a coach just yet, that's okay too. There are plenty of books and online resources that can help you work on your game.
But if you're looking for the best way to improve, there's no substitute for a good golf coach.
9. Visualize Your Shots
This may sound like a new-age, hippy-dippy golf tip, but it actually works.
Many of the world's best golfers use visualization to help them prepare for their shots.
The idea is that by picturing yourself making the perfect shot, you're more likely to actually make it.
It sounds crazy, but give it a try the next time you're on the course.
When you're standing over your ball, take a few deep breaths and visualize the shot you want to make. See the ball soaring through the air, landing exactly where you want it to.
And then when you take your swing, trust that you can make it happen.
More often than not, you'll be surprised at the results.
10. Practice Putting
You can be a master blaster, but when it comes to being inside the last 10 feet, your game just turns to poop.
This is why time spent practicing putting is time well spent. You can take strokes off your score by just practicing on the green and really working to control speed.
A good way to do this is by using a cup with an undersized hole. This will help you get better at judging speed and distance.
You can also try different drills that focus on accuracy, such as hitting the ball dead center of the cup every time.
The key is to be patient and really focus on making each putt count.
11. Play with Better Players
This is a great way to improve your game, learn new things, and have more fun.
Not only will you get to play with better players, but you'll also get to see how they approach the game.
You can pick up little tips and tricks just by watching them play. And who knows, maybe you'll even give them a run for their money.
So next time you're looking for a game, try to find some better players to play with. It'll do wonders for your game.
There's a saying that goes "you're the average of your 5 closest friends".
This is definitely true when it comes to golf.
So if you want to get better at golf, surround yourself with other passionate, driven golfers, arguably more skilled than you.
It'll rub off on you and before you know it, you'll be shooting lower scores and having more fun than ever.
Remember, improving your golf game, like anything else, takes time. The more hours you can devote, the more noticeable the improvement will be.
But even if you can only spare a few minutes here and there, these tips will still help you lower your score and have more fun on the course.
So get out there and start practicing. Your dream round is waiting.