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20 Ways to Play Better Golf Now

Thursday, August 10, 2017 2:55:25 PM America/North_Dakota/Center

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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Posted in Golf Tips Just for Fun By Sara Austad

12 Ways to Have More Fun on the Golf Course

Wednesday, September 30, 2015 10:42:10 AM America/North_Dakota/Center

12 Ways to Have More Fun on the Golf Course

It’s pretty much a given that if you’re on a golf course, you’re probably enjoying yourself.  However, if you want to make your round even better, we’ve got a few ideas on how to up the fun factor.  Even golfers who are passionate about the USGA and abide strictly by the rules of the game can learn to cut loose and try something new on the course.  So without further ado, here’s our list of ideas for how to have more fun on the golf course:

 

*Note: All of the recommendations on this list have been thoroughly tested and have been approved for use by Austad’s Golf staff – we thought you’d like to know.

 

1. Play a game.

Yes, we are aware that golf is a great game in and of itself.  But why not spice things up a bit and play a game that will make things more interesting.  There are some fantastic games on the market (we really like Mazuma) but there are also some really fun games that won’t cost you a penny extra like Bingo Bango Bongo, best ball or even match play.  Whatever game you choose, just know that you may never want to go back to playing regular golf again.

 

2. Leave some clubs at home.

This is an interesting one and can be frustrating for golf purists.  Next time you go out, try taking a few clubs out of your bag (try leaving your 5, 7 & 9 irons in the car).  A limited bag forces you to think differently about how to manage the course and will challenge you to think creatively.  You may actually find that you develop some new skills that can help you in your regular rounds as well, which is always a plus.

 

3. Scratch the stroke play – match is where it’s at.

Here’s a little tip that will speed up your rounds – switch to match play.  In match play, each hole becomes it’s own separate battle and if you’re playing with people who are honest about their handicaps, the lead can very easily switch 4 or 5 times throughout a match.  Instead of an 18-hole marathon, you’ve now got 18 holes that are equally important.  An added bonus is that because you’ll likely be conceding holes from time to time, your pace of play will speed up and that’s definitely a good thing.

 

Golf Buddies4. Team up.

Even though golf is inherently and individual sport, there is something magical that happens when you form a team.  The concept that you’ve got someone relying on you and someone to help pick up the slack when you fall apart adds a whole new level of interest and fun to the game.  Team best ball is a format that works really well for most foursomes.  The beauty is that while you get to play your own ball, you’ve also got a teammate to help push you to victory.

 

5. Make up your own rules.

The USGA might just hate us for this one, but we’ll risk it.  When you’re playing a casual round of golf, there is no reason why you have to stick to the USGA rulebook.  Why not invent a few of your own rules?  Breakfast balls become guaranteed, fluffing your lie can be encouraged and all putts can certainly be good within 4 feet.  Get creative and form your own governing body – don’t worry, we won’t tell the USGA. ;)

 

6. Crank the tunes.

The thought of blasting some classic rock from your cart may not appeal to golfers of the stuffier variety, but adding a little background music to your round is an instant mood lifter.  When music is playing, people instantly become looser and more relaxed, which is not only great for your game, but it’s great for your social life.  There are some awesome small Bluetooth speakers on the market that are perfect for golf and push comes to shove, your smartphone works just fine.

 

7. Put a little cash on it.

Let’s just get this out in the open, we are not advocating high stakes gambling.  However, if you’re so inclined, making a little side bet will definitely help make your round more interesting.  The great thing is that it doesn’t have to be high-stakes to be fun.  Put a quarter per hole on it for match play or have the loser buy the round after the match.  Whatever the stakes are, make sure that it’s something that you’re entire group is truly comfortable with and then go forth and dominate!

 

8. Tee it forward.

The tee it forward concept is one that is heavily advocated by golfing legend Jack Nicklaus and also by Austad’s owner and CEO, Dave Austad.  It’s always tempting to play the back tees to see just how you’d compete with the big guns, but our stance is that you’re going to have a much more enjoyable round if you move up to a closer teebox.  Think about it – when you tee it up, you’re going to have a closer, easier second shot, which means that you’re going to have a better shot at hitting more greens in regulation and having more short puts for par or birdie.  As an added bonus, you’ll probably be able to complete your round faster as well.

 

Wild Golf Outfit9. Take your style game up a notch.

You know that pair of khaki shorts and blue polo that you wear for every round?  It’s time for a change.  Why not head to your local golf store (preferably Austad’s) and get yourself a new ensemble.  It’s a fact that the better you feel, the better you’ll play.  If you really want to embrace the concept, have your group show up in the craziest outfits they can find.  You may get some unwanted stares, but the memories from that round will stick with you much longer.

 

10. Play fewer holes.

You may not know this, but playing a full 18 holes is not a requirement.  There are some days where you may be pressed for time or you just don’t feel up to playing the full course.  There’s no shame in just playing 9 or 12 holes.  The good news is that when you play fewer holes, you still get to enjoy some time on the course, but you’ve freed up several hours to do other things like spend time with your kids or attack that “honey-do” list that’s been hanging on the fridge for weeks.

 

11. Ditch the cart.

Here’s a pretty well-kept secret in golf – walking is awesome.  Something like 85% of rounds in the U.S. are now played with a cart and we think that’s kind of a shame.  Not only is walking great for your health (you’ll burn an average of 2,000 calories walking 18 holes), it also gives you a chance to experience the course in a whole different way.  And contrary to popular belief, walking the course doesn’t actually take more time than riding in a cart.  If you’re a regular golfer and typically ride, start small and walk every other hole or walk the front 9 and ride the back.  We guarantee you’ll feel better and probably play better too.

 

12. Stop keeping score.

Yep, we said it.  Stop. Keeping. Score.  Just go out and hit the ball and have some fun with your friends.  Use the time on the course to catch up and appreciate great shots.  You probably won’t want to go without keeping score for every round, but every now and then, why not go out and just enjoy the sunshine, your friends and this great sport we call golf?

 


 

 

Want to stay up to date with all the latest stories, trends and gossip from the world of golf?  Make sure you sign up for our Austad's Golf Insider Newsletter

Posted in Golf Tips Just for Fun By Sara Rubin

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