Tips for Lowering your Golf Score
By Brad Murrow
, last updated January 27, 2012
The key to lowering your golf score may not be learning to play better, but rather figuring out how to play “less badly.” Many golfers raise their scores by making unnecessary mistakes that send balls into the water, sand or rough. Resisting the urge to hit the ball hard and focusing on control will help you take strokes off your game, then let you add distance.
Ditch the Driver
Unless you can consistently hit your driver far and into the fairway, hit your long tee shots with a 3- or 5-wood. You’ll get a better combination of power and control and eliminate the second-shot pressure that dogs many golfers. Have you ever made par or birdie because your tee shot rolled an extra 50 yards? If so, has that happened often enough to offset the many tee shots that landed in the rough, woods, out of bounds, in the water, or on the beach?
Use a Stronger Grip
A strong grip places the palm of your right hand up, rather than facing forward, if you’re a right-handed golfer. This may initially seem awkward, but you’ll decrease the slice that occurs on long shots.
Learn Where to Place the Ball
Putting the ball slightly forward in your stance, or toward your front foot, lets you put more forward momentum and weight into your shots for more distance. It can lead to hooking, if you place the ball too far forward. Setting the ball back in your stance decreases distances and is used on chips and pitches. Experiment with placing the ball forward, in the middle and back in your stance to see the effect on your shots, and transfer this to the course.
Experiment With Your Stance
How you place your feet when you swing has a big effect on where your ball goes. A wider stance, with your feet farther apart, lowers your center of gravity and helps you get more distance. Standing taller gives you more control. Move your back foot back under, with your toes even with the middle of your front foot, to create a closed stance. This is a better choice for longer swings. To create an open stance, move your back foot forward. Use this stance on shorter shots approaching and around the green.
Use Two Rhythms
When you take long swings, use a 1-2-3 rhythm in your swing. Take the club back on long swings, slow it down slightly, then swing forward, creating this 1-2-3 beat. On shorter shots around the green, including pitches, chips and putts, use a 1-2 rhythm, since you aren’t looking for power. Your putts should have equal backswing and follow-through lengths.
Finish every practice with simulated holes. Hitting hundreds of balls with the same club from the same lie doesn’t create “muscle memory;” it just fatigues your central nervous systems and leads to tired, poor swings that your brain remembers when you’re on the course. End each driving range session using your new technique in the context of the game. Play a number of simulated holes, from start to finish, to see how your new swing, grip, or stance works when you need it under pressure.