20 Ways to Play Better Golf Now

Golf is one of those fickle games that mirrors life in an almost uncanny way.  Just when you think you’ve got things figured out, you snaphook your drive into a pond and have to take a drop.  Sometimes you bounce back and recover from those shots and other times it seems like your golf game is on some sort of death spiral and you’re just clinging on for dear life. 


The good news is that there are a few things you can do to turn your game around.  We’ve put together a list of some of the best ways you can play better golf right now.


1. Take a Lesson

Probably the most conventional advice on this list.  If you’re playing crappy golf, a reasonable reaction is to actually talk to someone who helps golfers play better for a living.  Most golf courses have pros on staff that can help you work through the kinks in your game and many offer clinics if you are more into a group setting.  Whatever you choose, go into the lesson with an open mind and be willing to try some new things that may help you get out of your head and see better results on the course.

Golf Lesson


2. Fix Your Grip

The way you grip the golf club is one of those fundamentals that cannot be overlooked.  That’s why it’s so surprising that so many golfers have a really poor grip.  What happens when your grip is off is that your body overcompensates throughout the swing in ways that you probably didn’t intend.  Essentially, if your grip is off, your whole swing is going to suffer.  Here’s a great article from Golf Digest about how to fix your swing by the weekend.  It’s a good place to start if you feel like you need to get back to the basics.


3. Visualize the Shot

Although it can be a bit cheesy, visualizing your desired outcome has been an integral part of sports psychology for decades now.  If you’re in a golf rut, try taking a moment before each shot to picture where you want the ball to go.  See yourself taking the best swing possible and approach the ball with confidence.  You may be surprised by how often the picture in your head starts to match your real results.


4. Play a Par 3 Course

For many golfers, Par 3 Courses are overlooked unless you’ve brought the kids along or are looking for a really quick round over lunch.  However, a local Executive Golf Course can be the ideal place to work out the kinks in your game.  Many of the issues that come up for golfers occur in the short game and a Par 3 Course allows you to focus on chipping and putting without the stress of trying to keep your driver online.


5. Focus on the present

Here’s another little mental tip for you – don’t stress about your last shot and don’t worry about the next hole.  Focus on the shot you are hitting in the moment.  There is only so much that you can control out on the golf course, but how you play each and every individual shot is the one thing that is always in your power.  Concentrate on what you can control in the moment and you’ll likely see much better results.


6. Hit the Range With Purpose

It may be surprising to learn that most pros don’t recommend hitting balls at the range every day.  Most pros will tell you that just hitting balls, while relaxing, probably isn’t going to actually improve your game.  What will help is heading to the range with some specific goals and drills.  When you go to the practice range, put together a plan and work through a series of drills that will help you reach your goal of playing better golf.  If you take a lesson, your pro can help you with some drill ideas, or check out USGolfTV.com for a great video series with drills and exercises for better golf.


7. Get Yourself a New Outfit

For golfers who don’t really care what they wear, getting some new duds may sound like a ridiculous idea, but you’d be surprised what a new shirt and a new pair of shoes can do for your golf game.  When you find an outfit that you feel confident in, that confidence can easily translate to a better golf game.  Because when you look good, you feel good and when you feel good, you play great golf.

New Golf Outfit


8. Invest in Some New Equipment

If you haven’t upgraded your golf clubs in a few years, some new sticks are probably worth at least a look.  Technology changes and what the newest driver or irons can do is a lot different than what clubs could do 5-10 years ago.  Most golf retailers will be able to custom fit you for the right clubs and if they have the right technology, you can compare your old clubs with the new equipment head on.

New Golf Clubs


9. Change Your Scenery

It’s a great feeling when you find a local course or club that you love.  However, if you’ve been playing the same track all year, it may be time for a change.  Grab some buddies and head out of town for a weekend golf trip or just check out one of the local golf courses that you haven’t tried before.  Some new scenery could be just what your game needs to get back on track.


10. Change Your Group

If you’re like most golfers, you probably play with the same group of regulars at the same course and you all shoot about the same no matter the conditions.  Why not invite some new folks to hit the golf course with you?  If possible, try and find golfers that are slightly better than you.  Watching golfers who play consistently well will likely give you some ideas about how to improve.  At the very least, their quality play might rub off on you, which is a good thing.

Fun Golf Group


11. Put Away the Driver

The feel of bombing a long drive straight down the fairway is like nothing else.  It’s one of the best feelings in golf and for many, one of the best feelings in life.  Unfortunately the driver is also what kills a lot of promising golf games.  If you’re struggling with keeping your drives in the fairway, just take it out of your bag for a few rounds.  Hit a 3 Wood or even a hybrid to make sure that you’ll have a playable second shot.  A long drive is great, but it does you no good if you hit it out of bounds every other shot.


12. Putt, Putt, Putt!!

Putting is the one area of the game that if you can improve, will have the most dramatic impact on your score.  Around 40% of the strokes you take on the course occur with your putter and this is where a little practice can go a long way.  While every green is different, you can easily work on your ability to read the break and practice your speed.  Show up a little early before your next round and instead of hitting the range, spend 10-15 minutes getting a feel for your putter.  You’ll be amazed at what a little extra practice time can do for your game.


13. Change Your Attitude, Grumpy

A lot of golfers get really down on themselves when they are playing poorly.  They start getting frustrated and annoyed and pretty soon they are yelling after every shot and throwing clubs in the lake.  Honestly, I get it.  We’ve all been there, but getting down on yourself for a few bad shots does absolutely no good.  Remember Tip #5 and focus on the shot at hand.


Think about Jordan Spieth at the 2017 British Open.  Leading the tournament, he hit the absolute worst drive of his life and ended up behind some equipment trucks.  He knew that he was probably going to lose the lead no matter what he did next and I’m sure it would have been very easy to get angry at that point.  Jordan’s caddy then reminded him of a picture he took that included Michael Jordan, Michael Phelps and other sports greats.  He told him, “ You belong in that group.”  Jordan then finished his round in one of the most inspiring displays in the history of golf.


14. Play Boring Golf

There is nothing more inspiring than watching Phil Mickelson stick a shot within 3 feet from a forest 40 yards offline.  You may even think you can do some of what Phil does.  Thoughts like, “If I can just lob it 70 yards above that massive pine tree,” or “if I can set this up for a draw around that pond” may be fun to think about, but for most golfers, the results you want aren’t realistic.


If you really want to improve your golf score, stick to the boring side of golf.  Chip out into the fairway instead of aggressively trying to cut off the obstacles.  Nine times out of ten, you’re going to see better results.


15. Learn How to Pick the Right Club

Most golfers know their distances pretty well if they’ve been playing for a few years.  They can pick the right club with confidence most of the time.  However, that’s definitely not the case with all golfers and your club selection on the course can have a dramatic impact on how well you play.  If you’re never quite sure which club to use for which shot, head to the range and do some testing. 


Even better, if you have access to a launch monitor or simulator, you’ll be able to document the distances for every club in your bag so that you can pick the right club every time.


16. Use Mother Nature to Your Advantage

Golf is an outdoor sport, which means you’re always going to have to factor Mother Nature into your decision making process.  Wind obviously has the biggest impact on your game and good golfers know that instead of fighting against the wind, they need to play with it.  Think about how strong the wind is and the direction it’s moving before each shot.  That will help you choose the right club and the right setup for each shot.

Windy Golf Course


17. Make it a Competition

Nothing inspires greatness like the thrill of a good competition.  For many golfers, playing in a tournament or putting some stakes on a normally casual match can elevate you out of a playing rut and bring out results that are better than normal.  Competition engages us on a level that lets our adrenaline pump and helps us focus on what we need to do to succeed.  There’s no guarantee that the competitive spirit will get you up to PGA pro status, but it will definitely challenge you in a way that can dramatically improve your score.


18. Trust Your Gut

When you’re in a rut and are playing crappy golf, it can be easy to start second guessing everything.  Your go-to club feels jinxed, and shots you normally wouldn’t think twice about taking now have you rethinking every angle.  At times like these, it’s best to take a step back and just go with your gut instinct.  Don’t overthink what you’re trying to accomplish – just hit the ball.


19. Relax

This may be the best advice on this whole list and it’s probably something that your buddies have already told you.  If you want to play better golf, just relax.  Chill out and stop stressing about your last crappy shot.  Have a beer and stop keeping score for awhile.  Your swing will come back around eventually and you’ll be a lot happier if you stop sweating about how well you’re not playing.


20. Go Out and Play

What this whole list boils down to is that if you want to play better golf, you need to just get out there and play.  All the training aids and lessons in the world are no substitute for just getting out on the course and playing a round.  Stay relaxed, keep your confidence and focus on the shot you’re hitting and you’ll probably see improvements pretty quickly.

Golf Group



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