The goal for any amateur golfer is to improve to the point where you can ultimately lower your score and handicap.
Common sense would tell you that practice and time would help you reach lower scores, but golf is a complex game and if you have a system that you can use, it will make your goals a reality much faster.
Today we are going to look at a system that will help you be more consistent and ensure you will stop losing golf balls for good.
It doesn’t matter if you are a weekend golfer or a more serious amateur looking to reduce your handicap, having a system in place will most assuredly help lead to a more efficient golf game.
The process to reduce losing golf balls starts way before your actual round of golf.
If you ask any PGA Tour player or coach, they would tell you that there are two areas that can effect scores the most – the 3-Putt and losing golf balls.
Need to reduce your 3-putts? Check out this tutorial on how to putt.
Now be honest… are you a golfer who shows up ten minutes before a round, hits a few putts on the putting green and then swings away at the first tee?
If so, here are a few tips you can use next time you’re out on the course.
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Tip # 1: Do your research to master the golf course.
Amateur golfers don’t have the luxury of a Wednesday practice round at the local club.
There are things you can do prior to your next round though, that can help give you an advantage before stepping on the first tee.
Use technology. Before your next round, visit the course website.
Most golf courses will have their scorecards published where you can see yardages, hole handicaps and usually pictures of the course layout.
Some websites will even have virtual tours and hole flyovers so you can see a birds eye view of the course.
Start to create mental snapshots of each hole and how they are set up.
Take it a step further and make some notes on specific holes and where the dangers may lie.
Ask yourself these questions…
Where are the bunkers in the fairway and around the green?
Where are the natural areas?
Where is the water on each hole?
There are also dozens of free apps you can download to your phone.
Hands down my favorite app for this is Golfshot.
You can load your course into their database and it will provide accurate yardages for each hole.
By having a plan upfront, you can give yourself the best chance to succeed on the course.
Tip # 2: Map out a strategy based on level par.
Now let’s look at on-course strategy.
It’s easy to just take out the driver and swing away at each hole without considering your options.
Golf course designers put a lot of time and effort into placing danger at certain distances and in specific areas on the course.
It is very important that you treat each hole independently and that you have a plan before selecting a club.
If you’ve done your research prior to your round, then you should have a general idea of your strategy before getting to each hole.
Before you select a club at the tee box, get out and walk around.
Go up to the tee area and get a visual look of the hole.
Some holes fit a players eye differently than others.
Cross reference the dangers of each hole with what you can see.
Think about which side of the tee box makes the most sense for your initial shot.
Develop a picture in your mind. Work backwards from the green.
Once you’ve decided where you want your ball to land, go back and select your club from your bag.
It’s not that simple though… all golf holes are not the same.
Is the hole a Par 3, 4, or 5?
Strategy can vary greatly for each level par.
Here are some specific strategy tips depending on the score to par.
Par 3’s are statistically the hardest type of hole on the course.
There are usually four Par 3’s on each course.
Losing a ball on a Par 3 can be disastrous for your score.
Typically a Par 3 will require you to carry your ball a certain distance, sometimes over a hazard of some kind.
Make sure you have accurate yardages to the front, center and back of the green.
If you don’t have a laser rangefinder, here are our recommendations on the best rangefinders for golf.
Take note of the pin placement, is it accessible or is it tucked behind a bunker?
Always play the high percentage shot.
Hitting to the center of the green and taking trouble out of play will always lead to better overall scores.
Par 4’s are the most common type of hole on a golf course.
There will typically be between nine and eleven Par 4’s on a course.
They will require a tee shot and an approach into the green.
Always work from the green back to the tee, meaning choose a club off the tee that will get you to your desired yardage for your approach shot.
Take into account all potential dangers around the fairway.
Water, bunkers, and natural areas may be strategically placed to encourage the use of a fairway wood.
If there is danger, use the club that gives you the best chance to hit the fairway.
If there is no danger, use your longest club.
Statistics now show that being further down in the rough is better than being shorter and in the fairway.
When you get to your approach shot, analyze your lie and take into account bunkers around the green.
Take enough club so that you can reach the green with a controlled swing.
Aim for the largest part of the green – giving your self greater room for error.
Putting from long distance is better than having to chip from off the green.
Par 5’s are where you look to score.
There are typically four Par 5’s on a golf course and they require two to three shots to reach the green.
The same strategy applies for your tee shot here… the further the better given the conditions.
The second shot on a par 5 will be determined by your tee shot.
Go for the green in two or layup and put yourself in the best position for your approach shot.
If you want to keep your ball in play, choose to layup every time.
Layup to your optimum distance for your approach shot.
Same rules apply. Center of the green.
A longer putt is better than a chip from off the green.
Tip # 3: Develop and use a consistent shot routine.
Every shot in golf should start with information gathering.
What is the distance… is it uphill or downhill? Are there any hazards to take into account?
Select the best club based on the answers to those questions.
Shot routines are like snowflakes – they are all different and unique.
They should still be consistent throughout the round though.
Follow the steps below to develop your shot routine.
- Visualize the shot from behind the ball
- Take a few practice swings to get your speed
- Pick a target in the background
- Stand over the ball and waggle to club a few times to relax the hands
- Take a few final looks at target and let it rip
- Commit to each shot
Stop losing golf balls for good.
If you have a system it is easier to eliminate some of the variables found on a golf course.
Being consistent in your system will ultimately lead to better decisions and fewer lost golf balls.
Fewer lost golf balls will lead to lower scores.
Lower scores lead to happier golfers!