Today, I want to give you 3 ways to improve your game. They do not require swing, equipment or body changes and I am POSITIVE they will lead to lower scores in 2013:
How many times have you seen this guy on the range…the one who seems to be practicing hard every single time you are there. His ball striking and consistency is incredible, he NEVER seems to miss a shot, yet when you look at the leaderboard after the monthly medal; he has again shot 5 shots over his handicap?
I strongly believe from my experience of giving on-course lessons that they are a really underutilized part of transforming golf games. Whether it is that punch shot out of the trees that you always get steep on and hook, or that awkward ½ wedge distance that you never get right…how many times have you worked on that within a lesson or your practice? It is these shots that happen during every round of golf and add up. Working only on your full swings on the range is not quite enough! Having your coach watch you on the course, see your game in the arena when it really counts and be able to assist you this way will definitely help.
If you are anything like the players I work with, you often score better the 1st time you go and play a new golf course. The reason I believe this happens is that the 1st time you play, you have little or no idea of strategy or how you ‘should’ play the course or damaging expectations of what you should do. I believe this often lowers scores as players are ‘in the present’ and focusing on the task at hand instead of letting the mind wander, whilst over the shot, to previous attempts. During the off season, I challenge you to go out and play some rounds of golf with different objectives or strategies. Here are some ideas for starters:
* Hit driver for most tee shots today, even on tight, short holes, I will be ultra aggressive, cut doglegs where possible and try to leave as short approach shots as possible.
* Play for position from every tee shot, I will find the widest part of the fairways, use clubs I am confident with and try to leave myself in the best position after each and every tee shot.
Some more are things to try on EVERY hole of a round:
* Approach shots (play to the safe portion of the greens OR fire at all of the flags)
* Chipping (fly it all the way OR play some low, running shots)
* Shots out of trouble (play aggressively through the tiny gap OR play out to the fairway)
Of course, to get your lowest score, each round of golf will require a mix of these strategies but I want you to check your scores after adopting one of these strategies for at least 9 holes and sticking to it. Often when golfers play a course multiple times is that they get into habits that are hard to break. You may however surprise yourself with lower scores when you play a round playing for position of each tee, or perhaps playing more aggressive with your tee shots on short par 4’s. I challenge you to have a play with these, try them out and see what these little experiments do to your scores.
Back when you started playing golf and your golfing mind was free of confusion and conflicting thoughts, how well did you putt? Those of you with kids, how well do they seem to putt when you give them a little club and ball and let them loose? When I started playing golf at age 10, I had no putting swing thoughts and I seemed to make every putt I looked at! As I got older and my technique improved, my rate of putting improvement did not keep up though.
When I learnt AimPoint with Jamie Donaldson (Europe’s Most Senior AimPoint Instructor) and how to read greens the rate sure picked up again! I could go back to just picking a point, feeling confident in that and trusting my stroke to start it there and watch it track back into the hole much more often. In one sentence, AimPoint has transformed green reading from a guessing game to a skill that can be developed using a simple process of calculating distance, slope and angle of a putt, to be able to predict the amount of break using a straightforward, legal in play, chart! With these principles in place, I have seen huge improvements seen in all levels of golfers I coach.
Stacey Keating (winner of consecutive Ladies European Tour events during the 2012 season) compiled her stats and realised that during 2012 since she and her caddy learnt AimPoint green reading her score has improved 1.5 – 2 shots PER ROUND! That’s a massive 6-8 shots per tournament. It’s easy to see why this year saw her win her maiden tour title. If it can make this much difference to a tour player with lots of experience reading greens and a skilled caddy helping, how much can it do to your game?!
So, as you set your goals for 2013, be sure to look into these three areas that may be completely new to you and see how great 2013 can be for you and your golf!
I am a UKPGA member and graduate of the AGMS degree at the University of Birmingham. I have coached in more than 30 countries and traveled and worked with many of the best in the business to constantly improve my coaching. My No. 1 desire is to help golfers reach their dreams, and to enjoy the process!
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