Each summer I look forward to spending time playing golf. There is something invigorating about being outdoors, breathing the fresh air and clearing my mind of the responsibilities at home. The game of golf requires focus and can be rewarding. But it can also become frustrating. Quickly. For most golfers the ebb and flow of one’s game can become maddening. Shooting par on one hole and then rolling in for triple bogey on the next; teeing off straight down the fairway and then slicing a ball into the water; making that 30 foot put and then lipping out on a tap-in.
Unfortunately, this is the nature of the game. Every shot can’t be perfect. But then again, they can’t all be bad…
So, how do we reduce our number of bad shots and decrease our scores? Here are six helpful ways to lower your handicap this summer:
- Increase your fitness level.
Sure, you stretch next to the tee block before taking that inaugural swing. A couple practice movements to get the rust out of your joints and you’re ready to play, right? Wrong. You may feel ready to play that round, but for overall game improvement this will leave you in limbo.
To post better numbers on your scorecard focus on boosting your body mechanics.
In order to increase strength and flexibility commit to a daily stretching routine and work on continuously developing your core muscles. Enhancing flexibility will add fluidity to your swing and prevent injuries that are sure to shorten your season. Developing core strength will improve your distance, getting you closer to the green and further from high-yardage approach shots.
- Spend time at the range.
It’s important to spend time honing your swing at the driving range. Playing rounds of golf isn’t enough if you want to improve your game. Repetitive swings will help achieve muscle memory and get you into a groove. Working on your swing at the range will allow you to focus on ironing out those rough spots you pinpointed during your rounds.
- Don’t neglect your short game.
When your short game goes awry, the strokes add up on your scorecard. Use practice greens to your advantage and commit to spending time rolling putts before and after your round. The focus? Work on putting from within four feet to help eliminate tallying gimme strokes.
- Variety in the courses you play.
Get out of your comfort zone and test out different courses. Every golfer has their favourite “home” course but playing it all of the time doing nothing positive for your handicap. In fact developing a norm in course play will falsely skew one’s handicap down. Playing in familiar territory ultimately makes shooting a lower score easier. Find different tracks to play and challenge yourself with different green speeds, course layouts and distances. This will encourage improvement in all facets of your game.
- Play solo.
If you can get out on the course by yourself, I recommend it. It’s a great way to practice. You can play multiple balls and experiment with your approach shots while nailing down your distances with each club. To do this you may need to work with the pro shop to head out early before the first group. But as a dad, you’re up anyway. Be prepared and pack some extra balls. Testing out distances and working on ball flights can find you out of bounds.
- Play in ALL weather conditions.
If you don’t play often your game isn’t going to improve. Shying away from the golf course because of rain, heat or cold impedes you from logging much needed hours hitting drives, approaches and putts. Playing in all conditions will make you a well-rounded golfer who is prepared if stuck playing in inclement weather.
The secret of golf is to turn three shots into two – Bobby Jones