There are almost 30 million recreational golfers in the United States. This works out to just under 10 percent of the country’s population who enjoy a few hours at the driving range, making the rounds on an 18-hole course, and trying to figure out how they can lower their score. Blogs and sports journals abound with stroke-slicing golf tips; some useful, some ridiculous. Here are a few of the best.
Play the Game, Not the Dream
According to Golfsmith, many golfers end up with impressive scores because they don’t keep track of their mistakes. They forget shots from the tee that went into the trees, ignore tries from bunkers, and gloss over swings no professional would attempt—but can clearly recall their perfect birdie or first eagle. In other words, many golfers dream like experts, but don’t play as well.
To improve your score, note each mistake on the back of your scorecard. Did the ball not land where you wanted? Was your form inconsistent? Then, compile these notes into a journal and you’ll see patterns emerge. If hooking off the tee is your problem, research ways to improve your form, or ask a friend or coach for guidance. If your short game suffers, find a putter you like and stick with it—as the old saying goes, “drive for show, putt for dough.” Also, don’t get caught up in the lure of new equipment. Some golfers flock to the latest composite driver or lightweight putter, but more often than not it’s a lack of technique, not technology, that hurts your score.
Golf isn’t like hockey, where it’s not a bad play to just shoot the puck at the net, or basketball where you might instinctively tip in a rebound. With golf, you have time to consider every single shot before you take it—and take into account environmental, physical, and mental factors—so don’t rush. Off the tee, aim for the fairway, but don’t just step up and whack the ball. Think about where you want to place it, how you want it to spin, and how best to make that happen using your swing, stance, and club. Golf is a game of small steps which lead to definitive end results, and skipping steps throws off your game. In the same vein, make sure not to beat yourself up over mistakes made on the course. Driving ranges and putting greens are where you improve; on the course, focus on the shot in front of you, not the one behind.
Take a Better Look
The hole you’re aiming for is tiny, and a host of obstacles stand in your way. Golf is a game which relies on clear vision as much as a clear head. It’s no surprise, then, that laser vision correction can improve your game by eliminating the need for eyeglasses or contacts and giving you a better view of the green. Golf professionals like Tiger Woods and Jerome Blais have undergone LASIK treatments to help take their game to the next level; a week after the painless procedure, you’ll be back on the course.
The best golf tips: Address your weaknesses, play and think strategically, and make sure your eyesight is up to par.