Golf is arguably one of the more challenging sports you can play. And it takes a long time to get better! Hours on the range, hundreds of lessons, and you might just play decently.
So why do over 25 million Americans spend time on this challenging hobby?
In the words of the great Arnold Palmer:
“Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated; it satisfies the soul and frustrates the intellect. It is at the same time rewarding and maddening – and it is without a doubt the greatest game mankind has ever invented.” – Arnold Palmer.
Luckily, you can do a couple of things to score lower without spending hours practicing every week.
Here are our favorite tips to help you score lo3wer at golf without changing your swing!
Make Better Decisions
Scoring lower starts with making better decisions. With better decisions, I mean choosing the right club, aiming for the right target, end leaving yourself your preferred distances into the green.
This is the easiest way to shave strokes off your scorecard and doesn’t require you to change your swing mechanics!
Especially if you’re playing a new course, you don’t know your way around the greens yet. Play conservatively, aim for the middle of the green and don’t attempt any hero shots.
From The Tee Box
If you are standing on the tee box, look at the fairway and identify any potential hazards or traps in the fairway. Note that most courses will place hazards right around where your drive might end up.
If the fairways are tight, and you don’t have a lot of space to miss left and right, consider hitting a utility iron or wood off the tee. If the fairway is wide enough and there are no hazards you can reach, go for it with your driver.
Distance is important, but hitting your second shot from the fairway is even more important for beginners.
From The Fairway
When hitting your approach shot, analyze where the traps and hazards are around the green.
If trouble is short of the green, hit a club that will easily carry them even on with a miss-hit. If trouble is behind the green, make sure to choose a club that will stay short of it, even if you hit it perfectly.
A range finder can help you measure distances to specific points on the golf course. Use it to plan the easiest approach shot possible.
If you miss it, know where a miss will leave you with an easy chip instead of a difficult bunker shot or shot from the rough.
On The Green
Putting is arguably where most amateurs gain the most strokes per round. It’s also the only aspect of our game where we can aim to be as good as the pros we see on TV.
Putting doesn’t require a particular physical ability or lots of strength. It’s all about distance control and your ability to read greens.
But when looking at the pros on TV, you might notice that they hardly leave putts short. If they miss, they leave the ball behind the hole.
Think about it, if you leave the ball short of the hole, it never had a chance to go in. Even if you aimed perfectly.
Make it a habit to put 1-2 feet behind the hole. This will leave you an easy put to finish up the hole.
Practice Your Short Game
Driving for show, putting for dough!
If you can master the game within 120 yards, you are bound to score lower!
Instead of bombing your driver for 2 trays at the driving range, consider leaving the driver in the bad and visit the short game area to practice your irons and wedges instead.
If you consistently chip the ball closer to the hole, a couple of things happen:
- You won’t have to aim for the flag on every approach shot because you trust your short game.
- You’ll have no problem getting out of a bunker. Bunker shots are fun and easy once you practice them!
- Because you manage your way around the course better, you will leave yourself with easy chip shots if you miss the green.
You don’t need Phil Mickelson-like short game to score well, but having a reliable chipping club in your bag will make the game so much easier!
The Mental Game
We’ve all been there. You arrive at the golf course 1 hour early. Spend 30 minutes on the range. 20 minutes putting and then head to the first tee.
Confidence is high. You’re warmed up and ready to bomb your drive 300 yards down the middle.
You address the ball, take aim. One last look at the target, and you wing up.
CLINK – 80 yards duck-hook into the woods…
Not really what you planned but unfortunately, something most golfers are familiar with. And there is no shame in that. You are not expected to perform great on every shot.
But how will you react to this? Should a bad shot dictate how the rest of the round will go?
Once you hit a shot, you can do nothing about it, and it’s time to move on. You have no control of the ball after it leaves the clubface. Accept that, and start visualizing your next shot.
It could be the best shot of your life, after all!
What To Do Next
You can take all of these tips directly to the golf club and start scoring lower! If you combine your new attitude with a couple of lessons or a couple of hours on the driving range, you will shoot your best score!
There is no way around it.