I’m going to be honest with you here and let you in on a little secret. The first step to lowering your golf scores is going to be managing your expectations. No matter what level you’re at in your golf game, we can all fall victim to unrealistic expectations. The reality, in most cases and for most people, is a lack of time and practice.
Personally, traumatic shoulder and wrist injuries made me adjust my expectations while playing college golf. However, with that re-assessment came a fire to out-perform the competition mentally, because lowering your golf scores should be approached holistically.
It needs to be mental, physical, visualization techniques, strategy, practice time, & playing.
For those of us that cannot dedicate a full-time job (like the tour pros) to the driving range, follow my three cheat sheet steps below to better golf.
Start Keeping Stats When You Play
The final score is not all that counts. As a coach, I’m more interested in if you know how to keep stats and judge your performance based on those statistics. If you hit 12 out of 18 fairways but have over 40 putts – you shouldn’t be using your practice time on the range to see if you can hit 15 fairways. Instead, based on your performance scorecard, you should be on the putting green
The best news about this technology era is that there are so many great apps out there that can help you track your golf performance. Find one that’s right for you. If your anything like me, I still like to visually see and feel a hardcopy of my performance.
Devote Your Limited Time To Developing The Right Habits (i.e. Your Short Game)
80% of our shots are 100 yards and in. So, while you are trying to gain that extra 10 yards on your driver, it really won’t do you justice in the lowering your scores department.
We like to bang balls on the driving range because it’s more fun, I get that. Instead, spend the 20-25 minutes that you have to practice once or twice a week in the short game area. Use gamification to make your time “less boring”.
A great gamification drill that I recommend is picking five spots using a tee to designate. Pick some difficult, medium, and easy chip shots that you would have on the golf course. Practice getting up and down all five times in a row. If you miss the up and down and two-putt, you have to start back over at zero.
Not only will this drill hone your short game skills, but it simulates pressure that you would have while playing with your buddies on the weekend.
Learn to Play With Grit
Grit has become my word for 2019. Too often, I see players give up on a hole or holes because they think they’re out of it. Guess what? You can make par from anywhere. The sooner you can adopt that mentality, the less often you will see those big numbers on your scorecard.
Golf is an emotional game and I believe grit can be learned. Start planning ahead and where you would want to leave yourself for that next golf shot. Try playing your next round backward visually in your head in-between holes, from the cup to the tee box.
“Grit isn’t about getting an incredible dose of inspiration or courage. It’s about building the daily habits that allow you to stick to a schedule and overcome challenges and distractions over and over and over again.” – Angela Duckworth
Cover Photo: Ariya Jutanugarn examines her own card and statistics at the 2018 Bank of Hope Founders Cup | Photo by Ben Harpring