Depending on what part of the country you live in may depend on how much you are thinking of how to lower your golf scores. But since I live in Arizona I think about it all the time. I am always looking for ways to improve. I know when we used to live in Minnesota I had set up a Driving net in our garage to practice during the winter months and a putting machine in our bedroom. We would also chip golf balls down the hallway during those long Minnesota winters. So it doesn’t matter as much to where you live to think about these tips.
I was watching a Hank Haney video the other day and he talked about eliminating the four below items:
1. Eliminate two Sand Shots. I know this may be a hard one to practice at home during the inter months unless you have a Sand Trap in your backyard. LOL Some of the courses around us have good practice areas with sand traps that you can practice there for free. I like to go to the courses to practice my sand shots and also, I watch a lot of youtube videos for tips on getting out of the sand trap on the first try. I consider a good sand shot is when you get out of the sand. I know pros can hit it close at times and make it look easy but they are pros and we are playing for fun. In the past I have had many times it took me two to four times to get out of a sand trap and that really hurts your score. Jack Nicholas said they are hazards and you should basically look at adding a stroke if you hit one. Jack said try to play smart and play away from them. Course management is so huge in all these four golf tips. So practice your sand shots so you can get out in one shot most of the time.
2. Eliminate two Chip Shots. Most of us golfers who play for fun have hit plenty of fat chip shots. This is an area you can practice at home and at golf courses for free. Key is to practice and find a club that you are comfortable chipping with to get the ball onto the green in one shot so you can then putt. Most people have more accuracy with the putter in their hands then a chipper. I think it was Arnold Palmer who would say to use your putter anytime you could around the green. I have used the putter many times instead of a wedge if the rough is pretty tight just because I feel I can get closer at times with my putter than a wedge. So chip on to the green and go from there with your putter.
3. Eliminate Three Putts. As you know every golf course has different greens. They have different slopes and speeds. It is best to figure out the greens speeds before you start your round. Also, to practice at many different courses to get used to different speeds. Myself I like to look at the cup for long putts and try to get my first putt close as possible on my first putt so I have an easy second putt. I track how many putts I have during a round so I can see if I lost strokes by not putting well enough. I try to practice putting everyday because I feel as a fun golfer you can lower your scores the fastest by improving your putting and getting rid of three putts.
4. Eliminate Penalty Shots. This is my biggest area I can improve on. I like to play to aggressive and not the best at course management. It is no fun hitting three or five off the tee box because you hooked or sliced one out of bounds. I track this every round to get myself to focus on better course management and playing within myself. Sometimes I just leave my Driver at home so I am less tempted to be aggressive. Lately I have shortened up my backswing and swinging slower which has helped me keep the ball in bounds. I figure I am saving two to six strokes a round right now over the past by just playing smarter golf and keeping the ball in play. I am trying to hit more fairways and hit away from out of bounds, water hazards, sand traps and other hazard areas. So take time and play the smart shop which may be an Iron instead of a Driver off a tee box. Eliminate those darn Penalty Shots.
What costs you strokes during a round? Is it your course management, lack of practice, your clubs or between your ears? What are your thoughts?
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