Fancy a game of golf?
While it is an expensive and demanding pastime, and many don’t see anything interesting about a bunch of people walking around a park hitting small white balls, golf is an excellent way to spend time outside and work on your body as well as your mind.
If you are just a beginner in the sport, you’re surely wondering how to take your game further. In fact, you might even suffer from what all amateur athletes suffer from (and remember, all pros were amateurs once): a fear you will never be good at it.
But with plenty of practice, determination, and insight, there’s no doubt you’ll get past that point. Let’s look into some valuable pointers for improving your game.
Know your weaknesses and address them
The first thing every sportsman needs to address is what they are worst at.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t just need to work on improving the best aspects of your game, as what you are best at can only be taken to a certain level.
What you suck at, on the other hand, can be improved, and this is what will make your game much better.
Be honest with yourself, and think of one aspect of your golf that is really harming your results. Start from there.
Here are some ideas:
Address your general fitness
Even though it might look like a game anyone can play, being good at golf requires you to have a certain level of fitness.
You will need to work on your flexibility, as it has a huge impact on your swing. Mobility is also of great importance, and should not be confused with flexibility. Mobility means being able to go through a certain range of motion, while flexibility denotes how much a certain muscle or muscle group can be stretched.
There is also balance and stability: both of which will play a key role in your posture.
And of course, you also need to work on your strength, and not just your upper body strength. True, this should be your main focus, but any disbalance in your musculature will skew your shots, so bear that in mind.
In order to accomplish all of the above, you will need to incorporate both cardio and strength exercises into your routine, as well as stretching and preferably a yoga routine for golfers.
Address your short game
Although they can be quite frustrating, working on particularly difficult bunker shots, chip shots, and putts will help you become a better and more creative player.
Chances are you will end up in the bunker at some point in the game, and getting out will be a pain. Sand shots are some of the most difficult in the game, and working on them consistently will make getting out of this sand hole much easier during an actual game.
You will also learn to think outside the box, aiming to use as little effort and energy as possible.
Practicing your chip shots will help you prepare for almost any situation that may await you on a course. Practice chipping shots from more than just the short grass, and take them from bad lies as well.
Don’t forget also to work on the short putt. They are considered easy, which is precisely what can trip you up. This is the easiest way to ruin your score, so make sure you don’t miss your short putt practice.
Address your long game
Now that you know what to do when the ball is near the target, you need to work on those challenging long shots as well.
You can use an indoor golf simulator to play at home and get the hang of this most basic challenge – getting your directions and aiming correctly.
When working on your long shots, try to focus on the ball instead of on the destination. After all, the ball is the one thing you can control, and the landscape will remain where it is.
Practice hitting a specific target. If you are to gain the power and distance you need to play the long game, you first need to learn how to make the ball go where you want it to go.
Slow down and concentrate, as the biggest mistake you can make is to rush yourself. True, when asked to hit a target without actually aiming, we often come closer than we do when taking our time to align the perfect shot, but that’s reflexes.
Golf is about much more than hitting the ball in the right direction the first time around: there’s also a lot of strategy involved in the long game, so work on that as you practice.
Last but not least, you might want to read up on the best clubs for each situation, and learn how to make an educated choice. To the uninitiated, the choice of wood or iron might seem trivial, but to an avid golfer, it makes all the difference in the game.
Track and analyze your progress
You don’t need to resort to any of the equipment pro golfers use to track their progress.
You can simply take a notebook to the links with you, and write down your stats for every game and practice round, as well as a short comment for each shot. What went wrong, what would you change now that you know the results – that sort of thing.
You can also download a golf app and keep track of your results there.
Once you discover patterns and causalities, you can adjust your game accordingly, and work on your newly discovered weakest links.