17 April 2022
Every golfer out there knows the frustration of being stuck in a rut with their handicap. They know the familiar disappointment of walking off the 18th green knowing how easy it could have been to knock a few shots off their score and finally get that handicap cut they’ve been waiting for. Every player, from your local club champion to Tiger Woods, has been there. Unfortunately, it just comes with the game we all love (most of the time!) But it’s not forever!
Read on and for 5 five great tips to get that handicap down, play better golf, and to walk off the last green feeling you’ve improved just that little bit every time!
Before doing anything, perhaps the most informative and useful thing you can do is to keep track of your shots as you play the course. Practice is all well and good, but what’s the point in practising your putting if you lose all your shots off the tee? What’s the point in practising your driver if you hit 70% fairways but only 35% of greens? The quickest way to start playing better golf is by getting feedback on how you currently perform.
While tracking your shots may sound tricky, it’s something that is very easy to get used to! And while some feedback can be hard to take, feeling like criticism rather than help, all feedback is necessary for improvement. Take simple notes on your scorecard, even keep notes in your head if you like… but even better would be to get something like a Shot Scope GPS watch! See how many fairways you hit, how many GIR you have, and even track each putt to get a well-rounded, and realistic, image of your golf game!
Golf is like the game of life. Too often, we make our decisions more worried about what might go wrong than what might go right. So, we play cautiously, making our decisions in fear of the trouble. Often, these decisions are too cautious. This applies particularly to tee shots. Unlike approach shots, you have much less to lose by being aggressive off the tee! We find ourselves taking the safe play, not hitting the shot as planned and ending up in a worse position than if we had taken a more aggressive line, or hit a different club.
In order to reduce your handicap, it’s better to be aggressive off the tee, and get as close as you can to the green. After all, the sooner you get to the green, the sooner you get to the pin. The amount of shots you hit off-line or into trouble by taking the longer club, are compensated greatly by the accuracy you have hitting a shorter club into the green; and, usually, there’s more danger around the green than in the fairway. So why not take advantage of that?
Distance putting is something we all struggle with, and of course we do – it’s arguably one of the hardest parts of the game. When you reach the green, you feel that sigh of relief as you think the hard part is over for this hole. Don’t be fooled! Putting, to this day, continues to challenge even the world’s top golfers.
One thing to always keep in mind, no matter how far away you are from the hole, is speed! Speed, speed, speed. In nearly all cases, you will find the line of a putt presents itself to you almost immediately. Once you see it, hit the ball at the right speed and you are never going to be far away. You might ask, how do you improve your distance control? Spend time on the putting green, regularly! Roll the ball, putt the ball, kick the ball, it’s all about getting used to the feel of the green.
Try this: Grab three tees and at the length of two putter heads, place one either side of the hole and one behind the hole – now visualise this is the new, bigger hole! Once you begin to regularly leave your ball in this larger area you will sink more putts, it’s just statistics!
Keep it simple, keep it the right speed.
More often than not, it is the decisions we make before hitting a shot that lead us to make easily avoidable mistakes. Which shot you decide to play into the green depends on several things. But I can bet once you have a number to the pin, you just take out your club, aim at the flag, and hit your approach shot. Do you ever think about pin position? Wind? Dangers around the green? These are all things you need to take into account when choosing your shot and will help you play better golf all round, thus improving your confidence too!
For example, think about a front left pin at 115y. There is a bunker short right and short left. You have 20y of green behind the flag. It is into the wind. Your 9i goes 115y when you hit it well, and your 8i goes 125y. If you simply look at the number to the pin, it’s a 9i. But then you don’t hit it perfectly and, having aimed straight at the pin, you’re short-sided in the front left bunker, struggling for a par. On reflection, consider these facts: you do not want to miss short, you can hit it up to 135y and you will still be on the green, and the wind is hurting your shot. Surely hitting an 8i 125y, taking it slightly right of the pin, sounds perfect? It’s all about playing sensibly, playing to the largest safe area, and committing to your decisions!
Finally, routine and rhythm play such an essential role in the game of golf, but often get overlooked. The fact is, to reduce your handicap, and keep it down, you must be consistent! Whether that be in your pre-shot routine, what you eat or drink on the course, or maybe just taking your glove off after each shot. It’s the small things that make the difference. When you feel the pressure in a round to play better golf, or lower your handicap, your body will revert to what it finds most comfortable. The more comfortable you feel, the more energy and confidence you will have to put into the parts of the game that really need your focus!
Consistency isn’t just for the golf course either. When it comes to practice, it’s all about quality over quantity, little and often; if you do something for half an hour a day over just a few months you will play better golf! You just have to stick at it, enjoy the process, and be consistent!
Tracking your game is quick and easy when using products such as the V3 GPS watch, H4 game tracker or the PRO LX+ laser rangefinder from Shot Scope. On average Shot Scope users improve by 4.1 shots! Start tracking your game and improve today.
Did you know that 84% of missed putts over five feet finish short? Or, that your typical drive is nearly 30 yards shorter than your Sunday best drive? These are just two intriguing statistics thrown up by Shot Scope’s performance tracking data platform. Download our free guides for golfers now!FREE e-books to lower your score