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Struggling to get your handicap down or just not scoring as low as you'd like to? Here are five ways to get better at golf
Five Ways To Get Better At Golf
Are you fed up with all the 0.1s or losing box after box of golf balls on the course?
Here are some tips to help you get your handicap down and start playing better golf.
Five Ways To Get Better At Golf - Practice
Yes it's an obvious one, but ask yourself, how often do you actually practice? It may be difficult to find the time to practice, but sometimes just half an hour here and there may be just what it takes to find something you're comfortable with.
Practice doesn't mean going down the range and bashing 50 balls, that can sometimes make things even worse.
You need to practice with intent, imagining shots and playing them with the same mind set and target that you would on the golf course.
Related: How to practice golf
For example, when at the driving range, try and play your home course, imagining each shot - or aim at different greens and give yourself points on how you've done. Practice with a purpose.
Instead of skipping nine holes after work because you don't have the time, why not go down the club for 45 minutes and practice your bunker play?
Or spend half an hour hitting wedge shots from 40-100 yards, you'll be surprised by how quickly you'll start to feel comfortable over those shots on the course with a scorecard in your hand.
Five Ways To Get Better At Golf - Course management
There are a number of golfers whose pure aim in golf is just to get the ball as far up the hole as possible, and that eventually leads to one or two disasters throughout a round.
Golfers are always going to make bad swings, even the pros do, but it's how you then recover from a bad swing to give yourself the best possible chance of saving par or bogey.
Most 18 handicappers have the ability to play off 12-14 but it's the triple and double bogeys that eventually become too costly, would they happen as much if they chipped out or played the percentage shot every time? Probably not.
Looking at point one, practice, that may make you more comfortable to lay up when in trouble and leave yourself a nine iron into the green and get away with bogey.
The main reason why golfers choose to be as aggressive as possible is because they simply don't have the confidence in their games to play the percentages.
Maybe there's a par-4 that you always double bogey or worse at your course - perhaps the best way to play it would be to take a hybrid off the tee and play it as a par-5?
Five Ways To Get Better At Golf - Confidence
Following on from course management, confidence is a huge part of playing good golf.
Yes it's difficult to be confident on the course when it's not going well, but getting down on yourself or predicting you're going to miss a green or hit a bad shot disengages the mind from the job in hand and that's where bad swings come from.
You need to believe in the shot you're about to hit.
Visualisation is a good one, imagine the ball flight and how the ball will react once it's hit the green as the mind works better when it's more focused.
This feeds back to point one again, practice. If you practice certain and specific shots on the range or at the short game area then you will give yourself a much better chance of hitting them out on the course and you'll start believing that you can replicate the good shots as you've practiced them.
If you don't believe you are going to hit a good shot, chances are you won't.
Five Ways To Get Better At Golf - Gear
Whilst gear isn't the be-all-and-end-all to good or bad golf, getting custom fit throughout the bag WILL save you strokes.
Whether it's the optimum driver setting to turn that leaky push slice into a power fade or getting the right shafts and heads in your irons to produce a more stable ball flight, we can't recommend a custom fitting enough.
You'll notice it out on the course as well. Bunkers that perhaps you dread may now be out of the picture, because five yards here and there could make all the difference.
Five Ways To Get Better At Golf - Lessons
If you haven't had a lesson with your PGA Pro in a while, it's never too late.
If you can find a good coach who understands you and your game and can communicate to you in a way that you understand then you will see the results.
Related: Golf Monthly video tips
It might be that over-the-top movement you want to get rid of, or thinned iron shots - a good coach will find a way that works for you and may give you some great drills to practice.
Practice it, believe in it and you'll soon start enjoying your golf a bit more.
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Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016. He graduated in Sports Journalism in 2016 and currently manages the Golf Monthly news, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He has also covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as three Open Championships including at Carnoustie in 2018 when he was inside the ropes with Tiger Woods. He has played 31 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Alwoodley. He currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 4-6. His golfing highlight is making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, and he has made one hole-in-one.
Elliott is currently playing:
Driver: Honma TR20
3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max
Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max
Irons: Honma TR20B
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design
Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
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