Golf is hard, so let’s not make it harder this year. Here are 15 things you can do to help simplify your time on the course.
Why are you out there?
Are you out there to beat your competitors or to have fun? If you’re out there to beat your competitors, remember there is no such thing as a perfect round. You’ll make bad swings and mistakes but it’s how you recover and handle yourself after those moments. Find something fun with the challenge of competition.
If you’re out there to enjoy the company of your playing partners then do exactly that. Who cares what you shoot?
Hit more fairways
A quick way to hit more fairways is to take your driver out of the bag. Hit 3 woods, 5 woods, or hybrids; it’s a lot more fun to play from the center of the fairway.
Hit more greens
Wanna hit more greens, then stop pin hunting. Unless you’re playing on greens that are in excess of 40 yards front to back and you know your clubs carry average, play to the middle of the green.
Make life simple for yourself and know your averages. Go to a big box store and rent a simulator to calculate your average CARRY for each club. Remember to take your own golf balls.
If you’re a member at a club, go out first thing in the morning when it’s quiet and laser your clubs in from the fairway on a relatively flat hole.
Focus on the outcome you want, not what you don’t want
Take the negative out of your golf game by “seeing” where you want your ball to end up, not where it “could” end. We do it all the time “okay, don’t hit it in the front bunker, don’t hit it left .O.B., don’t go long in the water.” Instead see and focus on where you want your ball to finish.
There is a right way and a wrong way to breathe. Navy Seals are taught a “Mental Toughness Technique” and Commander Eric Potterat has found that it can be taught to any willing person, even a golfer wanting to stay cool under pressure.
Inhale fully (for a count of six) down into the depths of your belly, hold for two counts, and exhale (for six counts) fully emptying all air out of your lungs. Do this three times.
Get 10 more yards… with your sweet spot
If you wind up and try to kill the ball you’ll most likely duff it off the front of the tee, pound it 300 yards (into the bush), or on those small occasions, smash it out of this world. But you could add 10 extra MPH to your swing if you just hit the sweet spot.
10 extra MPH equates to roughly 10-20 extra yards depending on the efficiency of your swing. The irony is that you will most likely have to slow everything down.
Don’t inundate yourself with a 101 tips to work on. Work on one at a time. Challenge yourself to work on one drill for a week before you jump to the next. That’s when you’ll see improvements.
Turn off your brain between shots
Stop stressing about your next shot. Turn that voice off in your head. Engage your playing partners in conversation. Count your breaths. Enjoy the environment. Yes, distract yourself by any means necessary.
Show up to your tee time early
Nothing can ruin a game quicker than showing up 3 minutes before your tee time and rushing out to the first tee. You’re finally warmed up by hole 15 and at that point… well there is no point at that point.
Slow down; take your time getting to the golf course, walking to the clubhouse, warming up on the range, and walking to the first tee. Create a sense of calm for yourself.
Make chipping a little simpler by not chipping
Putt from off the green whenever the opportunity presents itself. Take loft and error out of the equation.
As the saying goes “your worst putt will be better than your best chip” doesn’t work 100% of the time, but I’d say 75% of the time it works 100% of the time.
Jumping Jacks before your round: warm up!
This should be a no-brainer. How can your muscles perform their best if they’re stiff and tired? Wake them up with 2 minutes of simple Jumping Jacks. They warm up your entire body and get you breathing from deep in your belly.
Have no more than one swing thought
Just like unclogging a drain helps water flow better, so does unclogging your mind. Your golf game will thank you for thinking of only one swing thought at a time.
I’m sure you have no problems tapping your head and rubbing your belly at the same time, congratulations, but that won’t help you get up and down from 60 yards for par.
Take the margin for error out of your pitching
Do like Steve Stricker & Zac Johnson and quiet your wrists on your pitches. It’s easier to control your distance with your arms and shoulders by simply turning.
Quieting your wrists also takes a lot of the risk out of hitting it thin and fat.
Be like Steve.
Don’t correct your slice, embrace it
If you’re not putting in the time on the range to correct your slice, then embrace it. Learn to love it. Set up on the right-hand side of the tee box (for righties) and play out to the left, then watch that beautiful banana ball come back into the center of the fairway.
Photo credit: Captain Kimo