Ready to play your best golf ever? Follow this top teacher’s 3-step guide

Ready to play your best golf ever this year? GOLF Teacher to Watch Alison Curdt shares her 3 most important areas of the game to focus on

By focusing on these three areas, you'll work towards playing your best golf.

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Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or just starting to learn the game, there’s always room for golf improvement.

And since this time of year ushers in new golf goals for the upcoming season, some of you may be practicing in indoor simulators, while others are braving the (likely) cold weather to still hit outside, working on getting out all the kinks before playing a full 18.

Regardless of what you’re focused on right now, here are three strategies I believe will give you an edge in order to elevate your golf skills even more — and lower your scores in the process.

Master your swing mechanics

The foundation of a successful golf game lies in mastering your swing mechanics. Regardless of your skill level, revisiting and refining your swing is essential for improvement this year.

You may want to seek the assistance of a qualified coach to rework some areas that are inefficient, but the next two components are simple ways to get your action on point.

1. Develop a consistent pre-shot routine

One of the first steps to getting your swing mechanics in order is to establish a consistent pre-shot routine. This routine not only helps you mentally prepare for your shot, but also ensures that your body is in the optimal position for a successful swing.

Start by approaching the ball the same way every time. Visualize your shot, take a deep breath, and align your feet, hips, and shoulders with your target.

By implementing (and sticking to) this routine prior to each shot, you’ll help reduce anxiety and increase your confidence before each swing. Striving for a repeatable setup and aim allows for a repeatable swing to emerge.

2. Focus on balance and tempo

Balance and tempo are key components of a powerful and accurate swing. Many golfers make the mistake of swinging too fast or losing balance during their swing, leading to inconsistent results.

An even tempo and precise backswing, followed by an explosive downswing, can lead to more consistent and powerful shots. Additionally, maintaining balance throughout the entire swing will help you strike the ball cleanly and in the center of the face.

Sometimes, you may become off balance due to a swing error. However, by directing your attention to maintaining repeatable tempo and balance, you’ll allow your swing to shine.

Strengthen your mental game

Golf is not just a physical sport; it’s a mental challenge as well. So strengthening your mental game can have a profound impact on your performance in the upcoming year (and beyond!).

1. Practice mindfulness and visualization

Before each shot, take a moment to clear your mind and focus on the present. Visualize the desired outcome of your shot and trust your abilities.

These techniques can help you eliminate distractions and anxiety, leading to more consistent and successful rounds. Focus on what you want to do, not where you want to avoid.

2. Develop a positive pre-shot routine

Just as a consistent pre-shot routine can improve your physical game, it can also enhance your mental game! So be sure to develop a positive pre-shot routine that includes affirmations and positive self-talk.

So instead of worrying about what not to do, replace any negativity with encouraging phrases like “I can do this” or “stay focused.” Doing this will boost your confidence and help you maintain a positive mindset throughout the round.

3. Embrace setbacks as learning opportunities

Golf is a game of ups and downs, so setbacks are inevitable. However, how you respond to setbacks can make all the difference in your game.

Instead of dwelling on mistakes or bad shots, view them as valuable learning opportunities. Analyze what went wrong, adjust your approach, and move forward with newfound knowledge.

After each hole or round, look back on what you did right, not what mistakes you made that led to more shots! By embracing setbacks with a growth mindset, you’ll become a more resilient and successful golfer.

Improve course management

Having strategic course management is so critical in improving your golf performance each round.

For instance, I often see 3-4 shots per nine holes that could be eliminated simply by making better decisions related to club selection, aim, and overall aggressiveness. So make sure you dial in how you manage your game by following these tips.

1. Choose the right clubs

Rather than always defaulting to the same club for every shot from 145 yards, take the time to analyze what’s in front of you. This means determining any wind or hazards that may impact your club decision.

Using the wrong club can lead to unnecessary strokes, while choosing the right one can put you in a favorable position for the next shot.

Understanding when to use each club is important as well.

So if you always use a lob wedge for every chip and pitch, take a moment to reevaluate. Look at what the shot is asking for (high vs. low trajectory, spin vs. roll) and select the club that produces that outcome.

2. Play to your strengths

Identify your strengths and use them to your advantage.

For example, if you’re a strong putter, focus on getting closer to the green in regulation, knowing you can make up strokes on the putting surface. Conversely, if you struggle with long drives, prioritize accuracy with a fairway wood over distance from off the tee.

We all have strengths and weaknesses, so it’s important you lean into them.

3. Develop a course strategy

Before even stepping onto the course, always develop a strategy for each hole. Consider the layout, hazards, and your own abilities.

By having a clear plan for each hole, you’ll make better decisions during the round and reduce the risk of costly mistakes.

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Nick Dimengo Editor