All golfers want to improve their games, and would love to play like Tiger Woods, or their favorite pro golfer, but many times they are their own worst enemies in their quest for lower scores and more enjoyment of this great game.
Really good players get that way through a combination of talent, instruction, practice, dedication, and concentration when they are on the course.
Many casual golfers, those once a week players, may have more talent for the game than they realize. They just never get the proper instruction, they don’t practice and dedicate themselves to the game, and they don’t focus on their game when they are playing. They don’t give themselves a chance to succeed.
Good players get to the point that the club feels like an extension of themselves; the club feels completely comfortable in their hands. It neither feels too heavy or too light. The grip feels natural. The poor player when gripping the club, gets the feeling the club is some kind of foreign object, something they are not at all familiar with. With a feeling like that, it is very difficult to make a good swing on a consistent basis.
Practice the Night Before the Game
Even if you don’t have the time to become a truly dedicated golfer, you can do some simple things to emulate the better players and their approach to the game. Maybe you can’t practice four times a week. Try going out to the driving range the night before you are scheduled to play and at least hit one bucket of balls, and spend some time on the practice putting green. Try to visualize the first shot off the first tee tomorrow, and how you will hit a great shot.
For most weekend players, it is vitally important to get off to a good start. An embarrassing topped drive off the first hole can set the tone for the entire round. Even a modest 30 minutes of practice the night before can help you improve your feel for the clubs, and it should carry over to your game the next day.
Suppose you can’t get out to the range the night before. You can still hit some putts on your carpet at home, or go out in the back yard and take a few practice swings. Even this will help to get you in the groove for tomorrow’s game.
Practice Right Before the Game
When you get to the course the next day, be sure to hit some practice balls and practice putts there, too. And focus. Don’t just aimlessly hit shots in between chatting with your friends. Aim at a target with each shot, emulating your pre-shot routine on the course. If you get in that zone of concentration on the practice range, there’s no reason you can’t carry it over to the course.
Another aspect of concentration is eliminating distractions. These days it is common to see people talking on their cell phones while playing. It’s nearly impossible for an average player to focus on their game and conduct business on the phone at the same time. The result is a frustrating round of golf and it is particularly unfortunate because, again, the golfer did not give himself a decent chance to succeed.
Ringing cell phones are also a rude distraction for playing partners, who may have wisely left their cell phones in the car or sent the calls to voicemail.
Eat Right, Stay Hydrated
Although golf may not be strenuous exercise, the principles of nutrition and hydration still apply as they do in all sports. Beverages like water or sports drinks should be consumed during the round so you keep hydrated, which gives you added strength.
Drinking beer or other alcoholic beverages in warm weather not only can sap your strength, but it makes it more difficult to concentrate as well. The best place to enjoy a beer is after the round, when you are bragging about the great score you shot that day.
Golf can be a difficult game, but we can do some things to ensure we don’t make it even harder.