Five Ways to Improve Your Golf Game

Golf is a sport that can never be mastered. You can never win at golf, you can only do better than you have in the past, or score lower than an opponent. Most often, however, this is of little concern; most golfers play because they love the sport. Still, golfers the world over seek to constantly improve their game. To play better, to beat a friendly rival, or simply to have more fun. There are scores of different golf improvement strategies out there, but several stand out as things you can do to improve your game. Here are the top five things you can do to play better golf.

Golf is a sport that can never be mastered. You can never win at golf, you can only do better than you have in the past, or score lower than an opponent. Most often, however, this is of little concern; most golfers play because they love the sport. Still, golfers the world over seek to constantly improve their game. To play better, to beat a friendly rival, or simply to have more fun. There are scores of different golf improvement strategies out there, but several stand out as things you can do to improve your game. Here are the top five things you can do to play better golf.

Number 1: Take a lesson. Don’t let anyone tell you that you have to take lessons all summer, or even a series of ten lessons. Although it is fine if you can do those things, you don’t need to – especially if you are a summer time, weekend player. A single lesson will go a long way in helping you improve your game. Tell the pro ahead of time what you want to work on and get the most out of your hour. To make the most of your lesson, get back to basics. Focus on the fundamentals. So many golfers – especially 15+ handicappers, have trouble improving because they have fundamental problems. Have the pro look at your grip, your address and your basic spine/body angle both at address and during your swing. Nine times out of ten, slight adjustments in your grip, address, or spine angle can have a huge impact on your ability to strike the ball well.

Number 2: Get clubs that properly fit you. If you went to the large, chain sporting goods store and bought a set of clubs that were on sale, or if you went online and picked up a set of great clubs, you may be playing with the completely wrong set. It doesn’t matter that all the reviews said that they’re great for your ability level. The clubs need to match you in a much more intimate way. Your clubs should match your swing speed, level of upright, grip size, height and ability. A good swing analyst will examine all of these things, and more, all in an effort to match you specifically to the clubs that you will allow you to hit the ball well.

Number 3: Get Flexible. This is particularly important for golfers who are a little older. If your back and shoulders are tied up in knots, regardless of the reason, you will not play as well. The reason is simple: bio mechanics play the key roll in setting the physics of ball flight into motion. Flexibility will improve swing speed, improve club arc, and even allow you to shape your shots with greater accuracy. The same is true for lower body flexibility. Simple stretching exercises can be employed, or you can try something more exotic like a Thai Yoga Massage to help you along the way.

Number 4: Stop listening to your buddies. This should not even need to be said, but a 20 handicapper has no business telling you how to hit a high fade with a fairway iron to avoid the tree that’s 200 yards out between you and the green on a long par 5. The same goes for sand shots, and of course on the tee box. The exception might be on the green. If someone has an opinion about a read, you can listen, just weight how much you listen in accordance with the ability of the player. If someone has just made 30 putts and you’re at the turn, don’t listen.

Number 5: Get a distance finder. Club selection is one aspect of golf that can be the difference between shooting 100 or shooting an 88. Club selection is all about knowing how far you are from the target and also about the terrain that you are playing on. Moreover, if you have made any other game improving adjustments, a distance finder can help in some unlikely ways: If you have a new set of clubs – properly fitted, of course – you may be hitting your clubs at different distances than with your old set. You’ll find two types of distance finders: GPS units like the Bushnell Yardage Pro and laser range finders like the Bushnell Pinseeker. Both are excellent choices. The GPS systems have more features, like the ability to download course data to the units, or linking to systems like iGolf. The laser range finders are more straight forward, providing accurate distance to the pin.

These five steps will help you play better golf. You don’t even have to do all of them. Just make a plan to do one of them, wait for the results and then pursue another. In a very short time, you can really improve your golf game.

Harry Brooks is an amateur golfer in Northern Virginia and the proprietor of Yardage Pro Plus Sports Optics in Gainesville, VA.