Congrats, you got much better at golf in 2021! But now it’s time to take your game one step further this offseason. That’s right, we’re talking about targeting that magical number most golfers set their sights on: a score in the 70s. Here, in our eight-step guide to breaking 80, we’ll speak to experts, pros and more to create the perfect plan for you to take your game to the next level.
Step 1: Avoid ruining your round before you even tee off
Much like eating a healthy breakfast is the first step in establishing an energetic, healthy foundation for your day, getting your round off to the right start is key — and setting yourself up for success begins before you even arrive to the first tee. Here are five ways to avoid sabotaging your day before you even begin to play.
1. Don’t play on an empty stomach
You may already know how important it is to keep your energy level up throughout your round, but that goes for beforehand, too. Eat something to kick-start your metabolism. And if you have a super-early tee time and breakfast is simply not your thing, don’t worry — a latte can do the trick, too.
2. Give yourself time to warm up
This seems like a no-brainer, but I know plenty of fellow players who like to lace up in the parking lot and head straight to the first tee, which can lead to instant regret when you snap-hook your opening tee shot straight out of bounds.
You don’t need to engage in a marathon pre-round range session to get an adequate warmup, but research indicates that hitting a variety of shots with different clubs before heading out to play is hugely beneficial.
3. Roll some putts
Another seeming no-brainer, but getting a feel for the speed of the greens will pay dividends on the course. And don’t just call it a day after sinking a few 5-footers. GOLF Top 100 Teacher Michael Hunt recommends hitting a good number of putts from 30 to 50 feet — the distance from which many recreational players three- and four-putt. Spend time working on lengthening your stroke with good tempo, he says, because controlling your speed can really help lower your score on the course.
4. Choose the right set of tees
According to golf stats guru Lou Stagner, most golfers play from a set of tees that is far too long for their skill set. You’ll have a much better experience if you take the average length of your drives into account when selecting your tees. If the majority of the par-4s would be unreachable with mid-irons, by all means, move up!
5. Manage your expectations
Another way to avoid ruining your round is to establish a positive mindset. Did you know that even Tiger Woods missed the green 20 percent of the time from 100-110 yards? Or that 50 percent of Tour players leave it outside of 6 feet when faced with a shot of 20 yards? Yeah! So before you even hit a shot, make a pact with yourself to keep your abilities in perspective. Celebrate the good and shake off the bad. It’s just golf, after all!
Want to overhaul your bag for 2022? Find a fitting location near you at GOLF’s affiliate company True Spec Golf.