Thursday, June 23, 2011

Can't Break a Hundred? Ninety? Eighty? Tips for Lowering Your Round

Who says golf is peaceful? For the average golfer, the game can make you want to curse or throw your clubs. Well, golf should be peaceful. A golfer is out in the fresh air, enjoying nature. What could be more calming? How does a golfer get from the cursing, club slinging phase to enjoying the game and be excited about the next shot? Well, I have got a few tips that will lower your score and quite possibly your blood pressure!

1. Work on your short game. I see people every day spending hours at the range working on driving, fairway woods, and irons. Then they leave without ever going to the practice green. You should be spending just as much time on putting as you are on your long game. In fact, I would venture to say you need to work on your short game more than your drive. More than 75% of the game is played inside of a hundred yards. Everyone likes to go to the range and hit pretty shots. You have heard the saying, "Drive for show. Putt for dough". Putting is hard. You need to learn to putt from all angles and distances. Woods and Mickelson don't get it 5 feet from the pin every time. The difference is that they work on their putting. It doesn't matter where they hit it, they have practiced all types of putts and are ready. If you've ever heard the roars of a gallery you know what I am talking about. The roars most likely are a result of an unbelievable putt, not of a nice drive. Work on your short game. One tip that has helped my wife in her putting is this: Pretend you are throwing a ball to the hole. You wouldn't throw the ball all the way to the hole. You would throw the ball about 3/4 of the way and then let it roll the rest of the way. By pretending to throw the ball to the hole, you can gage how hard you need to put it. Try it out and see!

2. RELAX! When you are not playing well, you tend to swing harder and more out of control. Stop trying to kill the ball. It's not his fault! Take a deep breath (or three) and then approach the ball. I like walking the course instead of driving a golf cart for this very reason. As I walk, I have time to think about the shot and what I need to do for the next one.

3. Practice sand shots. The average golfer rarely practices getting out of sandtraps or bunkers. They practice for the perfect game of golf. When they encounter these hazards, they lose multiple shots trying to recover. This is something you need to practice on a regular basis. When you are in a sandtrap, don't hit directly at the ball. Hit behind the ball. This will propel the ball out of the trap.

4. Follow through. You should be on your front foot when you finish hitting the ball. If you are on your back foot, then you need to work on following through. Imagine you are playing baseball. As you throw the ball what happens?  You move from your back foot to your front. Same concept. If you are not on your front foot, you are not hitting the ball as well as you could be.

5. Don't just keep a score card, keep a golf journal. Looking at scorecards that consistently show 99, 101, 97... can be discouraging. Keep a documentation of every round you play in a journal. Document what you do well and where you messed up. This will reveal to you what you need to work on. It will encourage you as you start to see your progress. I know it has helped golfers drop 10-20 strokes just by keeping a journal.

I hope this list helps you. If you have questions about something I did not address, email me at . Or call 770-843-3179 to schedule a private lesson. Happy golfing!

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