If you’re like the players who attend our golf instructions sessions, you’re always looking for ways to improve your swing. That’s a great. No golfer’s swing is so good it can’t be improved. Not even the best players on the Tour have perfect swings. That’s why they often see them bring in coaches, like David Ledbetter or Jim McLean to help iron out kinks in their swings. But once they’ve solved their swing problems, they move on to other things.
Weekend golfers, on the other hand, spend way too much time perfecting their swings instead of concentrating other improving areas of the game, like course management, that make more of an impact on their scores than how you hit the ball. If you’re going to cut your golf handicap down to size, you must understand your shot tendencies and what pressure does to your game. It’s call playing “smart golf.”
Below are five golf tips we discuss in our golf lessons designed to help golfers play smart golf:
Imagine You’re Playing A Mulligan
It happens all the time. You slice your first shot into the woods. Then you hit the next shot right down the middle. Perfect. Why does this happen? Because there’s nothing attached to the outcome of the second shot. There’s no tension or pressure. Try to capitalize on this second-shot mentality. When things are going poorly, pretend you’ve already hit your first shot and swing away as if you’ve just been given a mulligan. This approach might just trick you into swinging with confidence and rhythm, producing second shot results on the first shot.
Focus On Distance Control
The short game is all about distance control and solid contact. To make good contact and hit accurate pitches, keep the “angles” made by your left arm to a minimum. By angles, we mean the angle made by your left arm and the club when you hinge your wrists going back, and the forward lean to your shaft when you set the ball back in your stance or push your hands forward. Once you create this angle, you have to get rid of it. This can be difficult on short shots. Minimize the angle going back and though for better contact and improved distance control.
Slow Yourself Down
One piece of advice we give students in our golf lessons is to slow things down when they feel themselves get quick. When things on the course quicken your tempo, you must find a way of regaining your normal rhythm and tempo. Here’s a drill that can help: Make smooth practice swings starting from a three-quarter position in the follow-through. From there, swing your arms back to the top and then down and through to a full finish. This is a great way to regain tempo because it puts the correct sequence of motion back together for you.
Forget The Pin
A teaching pro at a local country club used to tell students in golf instruction sessions that he could knock two strokes off any player’s golf handicap without ever seeing him or her play. When asked how, he would reply: “Take the pin out of the hole.” This was his way of saying that if you pull the flag from each green, golfers would stop trying to hit perfects shot to tight pins. This can get you into a lot of trouble when you miss. Take the flag out of the hole mentally next time you face a difficult pin placement and just aim for the green.
Read Greens From The Low Side
Reading a green correctly can make all the difference when putting. But some greens are a lot harder to read than others. Try this: Once on the green determine where the low side of the putt is and walk to that side—midway between the ball and the hole. Now read the putt. This approach gives you the best view of the entire putt and magnifies any breaks. Then walk to the hole and observe the area around the cup. Determine where you want the putt to go in and target that spot when putting.
These five golf tips will help you tame any course you play. They’ll also help you chop strokes off your score because they shift your focus away from technique and on to scoring. Weekend golfers spend too much time perfecting their swings and too little time learning how to score.