We’re well into May now and for many of us that means golf is back in season. While those living in Florida and Arizona have been in full swing all winter, most Americans started taking their first cuts just a few weeks ago. However long you’ve been playing it's likely you’re looking for a few tips to lower your average and take home winnings during your active adult community outings. Instead of committing to training sessions, take a look at these tips to see if you can lose a few strokes.
Choose The Right Club
This might seem obvious, but choosing the correct club includes many factors besides distance. Consider your second shot when choosing a club for your drive. If you’re more comfortable hitting a 100-yard approach shot than an awkward 60 or 70 yard shot it’s probably better to switch to a 3 wood off the tee.
Align The Club
Many golfers simply take a look at the hole and align their shoulders or feet with the flag. Don’t be afraid to spend the extra 30 seconds it takes to stand behind the ball and line up your shot with the club at eye level. After lining up, place your club down and align your body to the left or ridge - depending on which way you stand - of the target line. Professional golfers do this and so should golfers of any skill level.
Check out this video to see for yourself.
Find Your Grip
The proper grip can improve everything from your accuracy, distance, and consistency. Whichever grip you decide on, whether it’s interlocking fingers or overlapping your hands, it’s important to get used to it. Many golf techniques can be perfected in your leisure time and your grip is one of them. Bring a club inside, whenever you see it take 30 seconds to practice your grip.
Golf might be the most mechanical game out there. One tiny change of your stance could mean the difference between a perfect drive and a ball in the rough. There are many different techniques available to golfers, each with their own pros and cons. Don’t force it. If a swing or stance isn’t comfortable to you then try another, there are almost unlimited options.
Find Your Balance
Part of being comfortable in your swing is finding your balance. A golf swing originates from the ground up, it’s important to plant your feet so your balance is sturdy. Usually, that means your feet are just slightly wider than your shoulder width. Likewise, posture is important when trying to keep your balance. Generally, only your knees and hips - not your waist - should be bent.
Start With The Hips
Like mentioned above, a good golf swing should start from the bottom and go up. The lower body should be doing most of the work, while the torso and arms follow on momentum. Essentially, the ground will be the object that creates force, not your arms, torso, or club. A good way to picture it is to think of the motion made when you used to skip stones on a lake or throw a baseball in the sandlot.
Don’t Swing Too Hard
It might seem natural to put the full force of your arms behind a shot. Golf is a game of technique and subtlety, trying to muscle your way through it won’t work. After starting with your hips let your arms follow through at about 85% of your strength. A smooth swing is better than a forceful swing.
Putt For More Break
Reading putts is difficult no matter how long you’ve been playing, each green is different and it's easy to get in your head if you’ve struggled. It might seem natural to be a little conservative if you’re struggling, for example, trying to avoid over-hitting and going above the hole. It’s actually better to just hit with power and expect the break on the green to cooperate. If you go over the hole it’s either staying there or coming back down Just as often the speed of your ball will allow it to follow the break and go into the hole.
Finish Your Swing
Another place golfers tend to be conservative is sandtraps. Instinct while hitting a ball in sand is to get under the ball and chop at it, stopping your swing when it hits the sand. Ultimately, the sand isn’t as daunting as it looks. Just focus on finishing your shot when trying to get it out of the sand. A full swing with a follow through will see your ball get out of the trap easily.
As with anything, the best way to get better is repetition. Take as many trips to the driving range as you can. Don’t just focus on drives either, spend some time on the practice green and working on your short game. You don't even need to go anywhere to practice golf. Bring clubs into your home or backyard and work through your swing, practice your grip when you can, or putt towards a target in your living room.