Are You Struggling To Lower you Handicap Index?

Our official handicap index is something that many golfers use as their benchmark for success. It helps establish a baseline from which players can focus their game to lower their overall golf scores. With the new world handicap system, lowering your handicap index will be even more of a struggle….I think. I am actually still trying to wrap my head around the new system, so more to follow on that. Regardless, I find it a struggle to lower my index most years and I am sure you are too!

Under my old handicap index, I was playing between a 4 and 6 at any time. This means that from the whites (middle tees) at Osprey Links Golf Course I needed to shoot a 73 or 74 in 50% of my games. If I got on a hot streak for three or four games, my index would drop and stay there for weeks. As an example, in two different instances I had a set of three games of 73, 73, 74 and 73,73,71. Because of this, my handicap index is sitting at 4.6.

However, the challenge I had moving forward was trying to lower my index even more. It is always a struggle and I have not cracked the nut to continuing to lower my scores.

I think I know the secret of sustaining a great handicap index and that is working on my short game. Lets face it, within a 100 yards of the green is were we rack up most of our strokes. So, it stands to reason that this is the area I need to focus. And believe me I do, but I just can’t get to the ‘tipping point’ where I can drop my index below 2.5 and sustain this low benchmark.

I am not sure, short of taking a lesson or two, on how to proceed. I have all the drills I can imagine, use a varied to clubs, have confidence to play well, and the desire to continue to improve. On a side note, I have had teaching professionals look at my chipping and putting and they basically tell me to keep practicing. They do not see any obvious flaws in my technique. However, if I worked with a teaching professional over a few lessons that might change.

Everyone struggles at one point to lower their handicap index; this obviously equates to lower golf scores. The key to my success is in my short game. Do you know where you need to focus to lower your index?

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!


8 thoughts on “Are You Struggling To Lower you Handicap Index?

  1. Jim, what were your keys in those low 70s rounds you shot? I suspect it’s a high GIR number. At your level, I’d focus on ball striking to move lower. I’ll bet folks at scratch are hitting 12-13 greens per round. Short game is always important but the biggest gains there are seen for folks in the mid teens handicaps. Go for more GIRs!


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Jim
    I do too have difficulty bringing it dow. My handicap has been 9-10 for years. My short game is good but i am sure that you remember, it is my drive that i struggle with. If i keep it in the middle i can shoot low but there is always those 4 or 5 drives per rounds that do not get the middle and these holes always turns out to be boggeys or doubles. If i stay in the middle this upcoming season i will bring it down.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jean,

      I always thought you had a better game than your scores. I agree that getting off the tee is where I would focus your practice. Now that you have some free time, a lesson might be in your future. Regardless, you are a solid 9 that should play to a 7. I will be interested in your progress this summer. Stay safe mon ami!

      Cheers Jim


  3. Yes for sure its short game for me too! I’m on 12 but am good off the tee and hit my irons well. I lose an easy 5 shots minimum with my wedges per round and 2 short putts on average. But its a moot point as I have next to no time to practice (young daughters and work). Most likely be marooned between 11 and 15 for the next ten years! Unless I can master zen. Haha!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree that life events gets in the way of our golf game. But, such is life….sorry had to go there. I might suggest getting your young daughter interested in golf. That might free up some time at the course for you to practice. But, I am sure you have thought of that. Have a great day and stay safe.

      Cheers Jim


  4. Chipping is the key to lowering my index right now. I lose more strokes there than anywhere at present. Today I hit a nice low draw into the wind on a par 5 with a gentle rise in elevation. The ball rolled out nicely and left me a nice look at the green from about 2 feet off the fairway. I hit a great 3 wood right at the flag but just didn’t have enough in it to reach against that breeze so I was hoping I’d landed in the green side bunker but no such luck. I was at least 15 yards short of the bunker. I had all the green in the world to work with though. It should have been no big deal. Just chip over the bunker onto the green and let it roll out. I chose a PW because I figured it wouldn’t check up much at all and gave it a rap. I hit it short. It caught the rise above the bunker and barely made it onto the green. I was supposed to land it at least 10 feet on. I missed by that much at least. I was dead on target. Had I just hit it I might have even eagled. I wasn’t thinking that. But it was such an easy shot and to have missed it by that much stings. That was one of too many. A couple I just shook my head at. I didn’t take anything with me today to jot notes down and no score cards are handed out right now so I don’t have exact counts on what I did today. But I know that I lost over 5 strokes to chips. I did great from the sand though even ending with a sandy for par after hitting what I thought was a perfect pitching wedge approach shot only to watch it fall out of the sky into the wall of the bunker protecting the green (I should have hit the 9 but I was more scared of going long than into that bunker, though I wasn’t expecting to land in the wall). My out from there there though left me a tap in so I guess asking for a better finish is a bit too much. lol

    What I really need is for the courses in my complex to open up again so I can get in better practice every day. Once or twice a week just doesn’t cut it for me. It hurts to see that chipping green next to my building just sitting there and not being able to take advantage of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kevin

      Thanks for sharing your shots. It helps me put into my mind about what I need to do moving forward. All info is good info if you trust the source. I agree that chipping is the key and then putting. I just need to reach that ‘tipping point’ of success. Stay safe.

      Cheers Jim


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