How to Take Five Strokes Off Your Golf Game

by Brian Hill
    Every golfer has the potential for better scores.

    Every golfer has the potential for better scores.

    Golfer in action image by Sean Wallace-Jones from Fotolia.com

    This article is one of our editor's top picks this month.

    Reducing your average score by five strokes might seem like a daunting challenge. One way to approach it is to try five different methods that will reduce your score by one stroke each. Most golfers don’t play up to their potential, so the opportunity always exists for significant game improvement--and enjoying golf more. Golf is both a physical and a mental game. Both aspects must be addressed for a golfer to improve.

    Step 1

    Improve your physical conditioning. Strength, flexibility and stamina all play a role in how good a golfer plays. Try a balanced workout program. Use cardio training such as aerobics or working out on a stationary bike to build up your stamina. Start a regular program of yoga-style stretching exercises to improve your flexibility and give you a wider swing arc--and more swing power. Use abdominal crunches to strengthen your core.

    Step 2

    Practice your short game more. Many golfers find practicing pitching and chipping to be tedious. They would rather work on hitting longer drives. Allocate half of your practice time to short game work, and you will save at least one stroke per round. Make your practice time more mentally stimulating by hitting pitch shots from a variety of distances and from good and bad lies around the practice green.

    Step 3

    Learn to play strategically. Strategic golfers think their way around the course. Have a plan when you step up to the tee. Understand your limitations, such as if you are not accurate with your driver, use a more accurate club such as a 3-wood off the tee if the fairway is narrow and surrounded by trees or high rough.

    Step 4

    Reduce tension in your swing. Relax your shoulders when you address the ball. Lighten your grip pressure so you are holding the club firmly but not tensing your forearms. Try deep breathing to relieve any anxiety you feel before the shot. Make a conscious effort to have a smooth, slow takeaway.

    Step 5

    Take lessons. Find a PGA professional to help you take your game to the next level by eliminating swing faults you have developed. Have the pro check your fundamentals such as grip, stance and posture. Write down what you learn during each lesson and refer to these notes when you are practicing on your own.

    Tips

    • Staying positive throughout your round of golf helps you achieve lower scores. If you hit a bad shot, put it behind you and focus on making your next swing the best it can be. Don’t expect perfection from yourself or your golf game--just steady improvement.

    Warnings

    • Consult with your family doctor before beginning a more rigorous exercise program than you have done in the past.

    References

    • "Breaking 100, 90, 80"; Edited by Scott Smith and the Staff of "Golf Digest"; 2004

    About the Author

    Brian Hill is the author of four popular business and finance books: "The Making of a Bestseller," "Inside Secrets to Venture Capital," "Attracting Capital from Angels" and his latest book, published in 2013, "The Pocket Small Business Owner's Guide to Business Plans."

    Photo Credits

    • Golfer in action image by Sean Wallace-Jones from Fotolia.com