A regular reader of The Grateful Golfer offered some sage advice that I felt I needed to share. Kevin, provided a list of things (his mantra) follows to shot lower golf scores. His response to my post yesterday was full of great points that golfers at all experience levels could heed and benefit. Thanks Kevin for your words of wisdom; keep them coming.
The golf advice provide by Kevin will be in blue and my comments will be in black. I think it is important to share our collective thoughts because we might approach the topic slightly different, but the overall gist of the issue is the same.
The information below does provide a macro approach to how to improve your golf scores with some specific points to refine each topic. With out further ado:
1. Practice your short game. This is a critical point for me. It is simple: Strong short game = lower golf scores.
2. See number 1 and add more time putting. We use our putter more than any other club, so it makes sense to practice it more than most clubs.
3. Practice patience. ( a personal demon ) This particular skill comes with managing your aspiration and expectations. Patience is a skill developed through strengthening our mental approach to golf. There is no easy solution to this topic, but one that is important to master.
And while on the course:
4. Be target oriented. Pick one for every swing including while adhering to number 1. This particular topic has many sub topics. I totally agree with this point because it helps focus our thoughts in specific area. Greg Norman said “aim small miss small”. It works for my game, especially around the green. On a side note, the target is not always the pin, it is the spot that offers the greatest chance to either sink the shot or set up the next for success.
5. Think. But do it before you swing, not while you’re swinging. While your swinging, see number 4. My thoughts on this are very specific. A pre-shot routine is critical to success. All my thinking is done prior to stepping up to the ball to make contact. Then, as Kevin suggests, I only focus on my target. My body will do the rest and I do not need to think about it at all. This is a very important point with respect to course management.
And some thoughts from my experiences playing:
1. I’ve never spun one back into the hole and had only a very few that even came close but I’ve run dozens up into the hole over the years from as far away as 234 yards now. The information I glean from this point is that we need to understand our strengths. I too rarely put back spin on the ball, but with my new clubs, my ball release with my new Mizuno MP20s is much less. So, I can hit for distance more. In many other cases, playing a shot to release farther is good course management. Understanding our abilities allows us to make the right shot for any situation.
2. I’m most accurate with an 80% swing. This one skill I still have trouble with. I am not 100% certain I know what my 80% swing is, but understand the concept. If I was to ‘grip it and rip it’ every time, my accuracy would likely diminish. I do not swing full out all the time, but I think it is a bit more than 80%; this is a personal preference, but control of our swing equals control of the ball.
3. There are more strokes to be saved in our rounds with our putters than any other club. Exactly, see my comments in answer number 2.
4. And of course the always pertinent, play YOUR game. This is often an overlooked aspect of golf. I play regularly with Blair and Rick. We all approach our game differently which causes some discussion during scramble matches. As team mates, we know the outcome we want to happen, but would often hit different clubs. That is what is meant by “play YOUR game”; Kevin absolutely correct about this aspect of golf.
Kevin and I have played golf for many years. The advice above is borne from our experiences on the links. Of course there are many other points that many beginners would likely want to see, but as an overall approach to golf, this is a good one. The last point I want to make is that every golfer is unique. We think, play, swing, and expect different things. There is no on correct process that fits every player; so, find what works for your and run with it.
Thanks again to Kevin for providing the inspiration for this article.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!