Easy Ways to Lift Your Golf Game From So-so to Impressive
Ready to improve your golf performance?
The world’s best golfers always improve. You’ve seen everything from pool noodles to water bottles used as props to help. Golf is such a mental game, and it often comes down to the basics.
Here are some tips that could help you boost your short game, putting, and long drives.
Surprising Facts About Golf
You might be the type of person who wakes up and has golf for breakfast. But we’re willing to bet you didn’t know at least one of these tidbits. Share them with your foursome, the guy at the bag drop, or on the 19th hole.
- It was once forbidden
The Scottish government banned golf three times from 1457 to 1744. They felt the game interfered with military training. It also banned soccer.
- You’ve got a ceiling
Eighty percent of golfers won’t reach an 18 handicap. Known as a “bogey golfer,” this player averages a shot above par. The average for all American golfers? 100.
- ‘Birdie’ is an American addition
It began in 1899, in Atlantic City, N.J. A player in a foursome called a shot that landed within 6 inches of the cup “a bird of a shot.” The group decided to call the next such shot a ‘birdie.’
Sweeten up Your Game With Tips to Improve on 3 Critical Skills
A humble disposition and willingness to learn are key to improving your golf game. Here’s a way to get started.
When you go to sleep at night, your short game might be the one part of your round that either haunts or delights you.
Why it matters
A strong short game means you don’t feel the pressure to land a tee and approach shots with laser precision. Your best shots come when you’re not worried about missing fairways and greens.
- Soften your hands. If 1 is loose and 10 is a death grip, aim for 4-5. This takes the pressure off your arms and wrists so you can bolster your chipping stance.
- Rotate your body. Even though it’s not a long shot, move your whole body when you swing. This improves your chances of solid contact with the ball.
- Easy on speed. You don’t need to kill it — and you don’t need to overthink the shot. Easy grip, soft hands, deep breath … then, mild acceleration through the shot.
“Brushing up on your short game at the practice area is fine and good. But taking it with you to the golf course — where your score is on the line — is another story.”
- Ernie Els
Struggling here can be terminal to your game. Clutch play here can make up for other ills.
Why it matters
A long drive shortens longer holes. This improves your prospects of a satisfactory score. Pros hit them at least 300 yards, giving them more shots at birdies and fewer three-putts.
- Feast your eyes. The best putters keep their eyes over the ball, so try it on the practice green. Drop a ball between your eyes — if you’re in the right stance, the ball will fall on your club head.
- Read the lines. If the greens are fast, the line a grass mower leaves will show the pace of play you need for that day. Light green indicates smoother turf.
- Focus on technique. You’ll want to find consistency to sink putts one after another. Try from various distances and concentrate on rolling the ball within a 3-foot radius of the cup.
“When you lip out several putts in a row, you should never think that means that you’re putting well. When you’re putting well, the only question is what part of the hole it’s going to fall in, not if it’s going in.”
- Jack Nicklaus
Today’s generation of players tries to sky the drive over — if not through — anything in the way. There’s a balance between power and accuracy to reach.
Why it matters: A long drive shortens longer holes and improves your prospects of a satisfactory score. Pros hit them at least 300 yards, giving them more shots at birdies and fewer three-putts.
- Speed up backswing. A bigger hip and shoulder turn should ramp up the swing’s intensity. The result: A longer swing that has more time to build up speed.
- Stay back longer. With arms, wrists, and the club moving faster and the trail shoulder staying back, you’ll have more power. The arms and wrists can give such an energy burst through impact.
- Practice hard swings. Make practice swings off the ground, with the club head at knee level. Try to get the swooshing sound the club makes as loud as possible while maintaining your balance.
“What other people may find in poetry or art museums, I find in the flight of a good drive.”
- Arnold Palmer
There’s a lot of character in the player who commits to improving his or her craft. These should help you boost your game in key spots. Remember that golf is a game to enjoy!