3 ways to salvage a round when you’re not hitting the ball well

stef shaw tip

Small changes can make a big difference in your score when you aren't hitting it well.

Stefanie Shaw

If there’s anything the pros really excel at, it’s scrambling.

Despite the ultra-low scores the pros shoot day-in and day-out, their shots are often far from perfect, yet they still frequently manage to turn bad shots and mis-hits into pars and birdies.

The good news? Recreational players can do the same thing! You, too, can turn a day of mis-hits into a good round.

How? Remember: You don’t always have to hit the ball well to score well! I have had plenty of rounds where, even I was not hitting good shots, solid alignment allowed me to “mis-hit” the ball to the right spots and make it through the round. Here are three ways to help you do the same. 

1. Stand behind the ball

Your eyes aren’t meant to see the world tilted to the side. What I mean by this is that newer golfers like to get set up over the ball and then look over their shoulder to try to align themselves. That’s not always ideal. I recommend creating a pre-shot routine where, ideally right after a practice swing, you walk behind the ball to get a good right-side-up view of where you want to go. Good players walk behind their golf ball in their pre-shot routine, which means you should too! 

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2. Aim small, miss small

I often find that my students will pick a tree in the distance or an object in the fairway as their aim point. But I’m here to tell you, the closer the target, the better. While standing behind the ball and choosing a target with which to align yourself, pick something no more than six inches in front of the ball. It can be a piece of grass, dirt or a divot that lines up with your ultimate target. Even if the fairway is perfect, you can always find something.  

3. Set the clubface first

The club is your tool and your setup should always be built around it. These are words to live by in the golf world. Once you have picked a target by standing behind your golf ball, approach the ball from the side and set the clubface down first. Once the face is set, you can then step your feet to make sure your shoulders, hips and feet are aligned with the clubface.

Give this guidance a try on your next day of difficult ball-striking — and enjoy the results.

Stefanie Shaw is a teaching professional at Ocean Reef Golf Club in Key Largo, Fla. For more tips from Shaw, click here.

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