Five Ways To Get Better At Golf

Golf improvement is not easy, but these five simple tips can get you started on the path to better performances.

Club lined up with golf ball on driving range
Using these four simple golf tips can help to improve your game
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Are you fed up of feeling like you're not reaching your potential? Maybe you have just purchased a new driver, irons or putter - but you still aren't seeing the results that you had hoped for. There can be many reasons why you don't get better at golf, and this can quickly become demoralising. If this sounds like you, we have five simple golf tips to help you get your handicap down and set you back on the path to improvement.

1) Practice

Lady practicing at driving range

Purposeful practice makes perfect

(Image credit: Getty Images)

So, how do you actually get better at golf? The simple answer is, practice. 

Yes it's an obvious one but ask yourself this, how often do you actually practice? It can be difficult to find the time, but dedicating half an hour here and there will help you to start making progress.

On that note, it is important to distinguish what we mean by practice. Ideally, practice doesn't mean going to the range and aimlessly bashing your way through a bucket of balls.

You need to practice with intent, imagining shots and playing them with the same mindset and precision that you would like to achieve on the golf course. For example, when at the driving range, try and play your home course. Imagine each shot, aim at different 'greens' and give yourself a clear point system to assess how you've done. This will allow you to practice with purpose.

2) Focus On Course management

Man walking the golf course

Take in your surroundings and pick the sensible play

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There are a number of golfers whose sole aim in golf is just to hit the ball as far as possible, and that eventually leads to one or two disasters throughout a round. Golfers are always going to make bad swings, including the professionals, but it's how you recover from a bad swing that often makes all the difference.

Most 18 handicappers have the ability to play off 12-14, but it's those pesky double and triple bogeys that eventually become costly. One of the main reasons 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.

Consider a par-4 that you regularly double bogey or worse at your local course. Perhaps the best way to play it would be to take a hybrid off the tee and play it as a par-5? Give it a go and see how you get on - you might even surprise yourself with a cheeky bonus 4 before long.

3) Be Confident

Man successfully wins golf competition

Build confidence and reap the rewards

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Confidence is a huge part of playing good golf. While it's difficult to be confident on the course, especially when it's not going well, being hard on yourself won't solve your problems. Thinking 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 great tool. Imagine the ball flight and where you want it to land, as the mind works better when it's focused on a clear target. This again links to point one, and the necessity for purposeful practice. If you practice specific shots on the range, or at the short game area, you will give yourself a much better chance of hitting them on the course and build confidence that you can replicate good shots. If you don't believe you are going to hit a good shot, chances are you won't.

4) Invest In Some Lessons

Proper grip being taught by a pro

Lessons can rapidly speed up your improvement and help you to feel better about your game

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If you haven't had a lesson with your PGA Pro before, or some time has passed since you last had a check-in, remember it's never too late to be pro-active about your improvement. Finding a good coach will not only help you to understand the areas you need to improve, but also help to shape your practice time, provide an opportunity to measure progress and clearly see results.

It may be that you focus on the perfect ball position for every club or how to get a straight left arm in your golf swing, but just having the safety net of a qualified coach to help you navigate the process will certainly pay dividends in the long run.

5. Build your fitness levels

Man running on treadmill for fitness

Staying in shape can improve your performance on the course

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Playing golf has many physical and psychological benefits for players, but maintaining a good level of physical fitness can help to prevent fatigue creeping in to your swing later in a round. The architecture of many of the top golf courses around the world, including some of the Top 100 courses in the UK and Ireland, will naturally test your fitness levels if you walk the full 18 holes. Setting aside time to complete some specific golf exercises could help you stay competitive and enjoying your round for longer.

Some of the best golf workouts can be carried out using the equipment at your local gym, or even adapted to allow you to complete at home with minimal or no equipment.

Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news team as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as five Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays off of a six handicap. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2

Hybrids: Titleist 816 H1

Irons: Mizuno MP5 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Srixon Z Star XV