5 Tips to Play Your Best Golf This Season
If you have not picked up a club since last fall, it is time to start preparing and thinking ahead for the upcoming golf season. That first time out to the range or golf course is your opportunity to lay the foundation for a successful season. You are going to feel rusty…your grip will feel weird, your hamstrings may scream from too much sitting, and your lower back may tighten at address. This is all normal BUT the problem is you will seek comfort…you will want to be comfortable.
…AND comfortable is not necessarily correct or proper form. And very likely not the same set-up you ended with last season (assuming it was a good one).
So let me paint the scenario for you on how I see many golfers start the season:
- Head to the range, hit some balls, try to get “the old feel back”
- Go play first round and have the best round ever “I still got it”
- Figure “all is good” so you never correct that weak grip and round back at address
- Start slicing the ball and loosing balance
- Lose yardage – blame the equipment 😉
- Swing harder and things go downhill
- Start to swing over the top of the ball so it stays in the fairway
- Develop a weird loop that now feels “natural”
- Handicap goes up ↑
- Get a lesson feel like you have 17 things to fix
- Spend way more time undoing your loop than you anticipated
- Season is half over and you are starting to feel like your old self
I know, I know…this may seem a bit exaggerated…but it really isn’t.
I see it all the time. I have lived it as well. And it all started with your grip and posture.
I certainly don’t want you to have this kind of season so I listed 3 Key Tips to build a repeatable swing and prevent bad habits. Then I added 2 that I suggest to take your game to the next level!
1. Check your Fundamentals
As I suggested above, most swing errors start in the set-up. A repeatable and powerful swing cannot happen unless you form a consistent and proper set-up. So what are your fundamentals? Grip, Posture, Stance, Ball Position, and Aim. I included links to some prior posts to get you started.
2. Practice with a purpose
I know this sounds so cliche but your take away here is to have a plan and set up a practice station. A plan keeps you from trying new things, losing focus, or wasting time. Here is an example plan, 10 minutes to warm up, 10 minutes hitting short irons, 10 minutes hitting hybrids, 10 minutes hitting woods, 10 minutes putting. Vary this depending on your time or what part of the game needs attention. Always leave your practice session if you are frustrated or you lost focus.
A practice station includes sticks on the ground to help you aim and/or show ball position. You want to hit from a constant station so that you can get rid of all the variables in your swing. Aiming at nothing or aiming different everytime does not add any consistecy to your swing.
3. Don’t play more than 3 rounds of stinky golf
If you stink for 3 rounds, go get a lesson. And when I say stink, I mean that you keep creating the same bad misses. You keep hitting it to the right, or left, or fat, or thin. The longer you wait the more likely you are to manufacture a “fix” and create a bad habit. I remind my students all the time, “two wrongs make a straight”. If you hit the ball to the right because of a weak grip (wrong #1) you will eventually figure out how to keep it in play by coming over the top of the ball (wrong #2).
Weak Grip + Over the Top = Straight
It might go straight but it is not powerful or repeatable. Let me add if you are practicing and hit three bad shots in a row. Stop and go back to a club you last hit well before you overcorrect.
4. Work on your short game
I do not have an accurate statistic on this but the amount of time spent beating balls versus chipping and putting is not a close comparison for the average golfer.
If you want to see a dramatic change in your handicap, score, and confidence this year, spend more time practicing your short game.
Don’t just drop 3 balls on the green, whack them around and call it practice. To me that is like treading water, you spend a bunch of time and energy to go no where. You can check out my Short Game Challenge for ideas on how to hit all the short game shots and exactly how to practice so you make the best use of your time. Plus this CHALLENGE is super fun.
5. Play with better golfers
My Dad was a golf pro who always encouraged me to play with better golfers when I was learning. I instinctively was nervous about this. Heck, it is way less intimidating if you are the “best” player in the group. But, what I learned was that when you play with better golfers it takes your game to another level. You concentrate harder, you can learn new shots or strategies, you get out of your comfort zone, and you can visualize what is possible for you in golf. So invite some better golfers to play this year and sign up for an event that puts you out of your comfort zone. It doesn’t matter if you perform well or not. It is all part of growing into a better golfer!
So there you have it…5 tips to play your best golf this season.
I hope you play amazing golf this year.
If you haven’t dowloaded the Short Game Scorecard you can get a link here. This is a really cool scorecard I created to track EXACTLY what you need to work on this year so that you can save shots and play your best golf. Check it out. Stats do not lie. And it is super easy to use.
Now put your shoes on and go practice!