Swinging a golf club consistently can be such a challenge that even the pros sometimes get it wrong. Most people take up golf to have fun, but then get so tied up in the competition and put so much pressure on themselves to perform better they lose sight of the reason they took up the game.
So, to help you get back to having fun, here are seven of the top golf tips to help you improve your game:
1) Establish Your Address
The great Jack Nicklaus always stressed how important the proper address position is and, as Nicklaus said, it all begins with dialing in your feet. While the set-up basics of grip and posture contribute to the quality of your swing, having your feet set properly is the foundation to a smooth stroke.
Begin by making sure your feet are lined up and practice working on your address position first on shorter 15- to 45-yard shots and then move to progressively longer shots as you get into a rhythm.
Make a commitment to work on a consistent address position and you will see a huge improvement in your swing in no time.
2) Practice Different Swings
Every round of golf will have various challenges, such as your ball hitting a tree, finding a sand trap, hitting a water hazard or coming to rest on a steep sidehill in the rough. This is why just whacking away at bucket after bucket of balls at the driving range doesn’t really improve your overall game.
As the athletic training saying goes, “Results are always specific to training.” This means if you want to see improvement in a particular movement you must actively train for that specific motion.
As an example, working out in the gym won’t help a baseball player hit the ball harder unless the player trains the same muscles used in swinging a bat. Likewise, you must regularly practice all the types of shots you may encounter during a round of golf.
3) Control Your Breathing
Even though many people take up the sport to relax, playing golf can be sometimes frustrating. If you become over excited your adrenaline will spike, your heart will begin to beat faster and your breathing can become uneven.
All of this happening together will affect your swing without you even realizing why it is happening. To prevent this, get in touch with your inner Zen master. Take a moment to take in the beauty of the course and look up at the sky and take a couple of deep controlled breaths before taking your shot.
Visualization is the practice of imagining you are executing a task and the technique is successfully used by professional athletes. While this make seem “gimmicky” to some, clinical studies have proven visualization is just as effective as actual physical practice.
One study, “The effect of a simulated mental practice technique on free throw shooting accuracy of highly skilled basketball players,” published in the Journal of Human Movement Studies looked at the technique. One group of basketball players physically practiced shooting free throws for 10 minutes a day while a second group only visualized shooting free throws for 10 minutes a day.
The study found that the two groups of players saw a virtually equal level of improvement in their free-throw shooting performance. If you want to improve your game, spend a few minutes regularly imagining you have the perfect golf swing when not on the course.
5) Don’t “Aim” for the Pin
This is a simple tip that sounds totally counterintuitive, but will nonetheless immeasurably improve your game. This is just like a baseball pitcher that suddenly looses his control by trying to aim the ball at a precise spot.
This is because aiming a ball at a target is not a natural process and the eyes and brain aren’t used to working together in this way. Instead, concentrate on your mechanics and trust your subconscious to get the ball on target.
6) Be Honest with Yourself
Let’s face it, while every golfer would love to be Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods rolled into one, most players will never make it to the Masters. While no one is saying you should not work as hard as you want to improve your game, don’t put too much pressure on yourself with unrealistic expectations. By relaxing, and taking the pressure off yourself, you will actually see an improvement in your overall game and take several strokes off your score.
7) Use the Right Training Aids
The world is full of ideas on how to do things better and the golfing community is no exception. The problem is that for every idea that actually works there are many more that don’t perform as claimed on TV or in magazines.
Before wasting your time and money buying training aids that don't actually work, do your research online to see what other golfers are saying about the product. Make sure they have enough good reviews to validate the product.
While sports require physical abilities, athletics also have a strong mental component. Most golf tips don’t address the emotional components of the game, but the mind is always in control of everything the body does, if even on a subconscious level. Practice these tips, both on and off the course, and you will see an improvement in your game and have a lot more fun on the links.
- Ross Eskandari