Golf is one of summers most popular sports but its also one of the hardest to master. Playing a good golf game depends on many factors and generally being good at it involves a ton of deliberate practice, playing and patience. There are some key ways that you can lower your handicap this season (hint: it involves a lot of practice). You may not be the next Jordan Spieth (and if you don’t know who that is you’re already behind the eight ball) but you may be able to play the best rounds you have in years with these tips:
- Hit balls- Go to the driving range… a lot! This helps you get in the groove of a repetitive swing, gives you a chance to change and improve your swing mechanics and practice things such as timing, rhythm, balance, alignment and ball position. Plus the range gives you the opportunity to practice your short game (chipping and putting).
- Practice your short game- putting can make or break your game – dedicate 15 minutes after every round to putting. Columbia professor Mark Broadie writes that a 90-golfer makes 84 percent of his/her three-footers (a scratch golfer makes 93 percent), but just 65% from four feet, while a scratch golfer converts 80 percent. So practice those 4 foot putts – every foot counts!
- Stay fit and flexible- Hip and shoulder mobility along with core strength are two fundamental components of a golf swing. Staying fit and flexible helps you get the most out of your golf swing allowing you to control the ball and hit longer drives. Strength training also is key in the reduction and prevention in injuries that can commonly occur in golfers, especially those who are undertrained. Check out http://www.mytpi.com/tpitv/shows/golf_fitness_academy for some fitness tips pertaining specifically to golf!
- Play different courses-Playing different courses with different hazards, lengths and terrain forces you to make adjustments and learning to play on any type of terrain. Getting too comfortable with one course will skew your handicap. Variety is the spice of life!
- Play different weather conditions- learning how to play well in less than desirable weather conditions allows you to improve your game by learning to adjust to wind and weather conditions you can learn to use things like wind to your advantage.
- Let the club do the work- many people think that the harder they whack the ball the further it will travel. Focus on your swing and controlling the mechanics of your swing and let the club do the work for you.
- Choose the right club- Club length is not the only factor to consider when determining which club to use. Take into consideration the wind, weather, your shot tendencies as well as what type of shot is to follow.
- Get a grip- Grip the club with your gloved hand with the handle’s placement in the fingers between the first knuckle and the palm. Wrap your other hand comfortably around the handle- place the thumb and index fingers of both hands to form two Vs, both of which should be pointed around the right side of your chest/right shoulder.
- Keep stats- pay attention and keep record of how you are playing on the course. This allows you to identify weaknesses and work on problem areas. This website http://shotbyshot.com allows you to track all your stats- you can purchase it to do all the hard work for you!
- Work on your swing- things like proper alignment, clubface control and torso rotation will all help improve your game. Have someone watch you and critique key components of your swing or video yourself and analyze later. Deliberate practice where your goal is to improve is the key! Every time you swing you should be trying to improve and tweak things that will help your game!
Golf takes a lot of patience and a lot of practice to be good but don’t forget to enjoy yourself and have fun enjoying the great outdoors!
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