The 8 best tips that worked for GOLF staffers in 2023

In need of some go-to tips? Here are the best of the best from GOLF staffers from this year - so try them for yourself to improve your game

With an abundance of golf tips to choose from, these are the ones our staffers said made the most difference.


Welcome to Shaving Strokes, a new series in which we’re sharing improvements, learnings and takeaways from amateur golfers just like you — including some of the speed bumps and challenges they faced along the way.

It’s probably not surprising to hear that us GOLF staffers share one thing in common: Our love for the game.

While some of us are low-handicappers and others are mid-handicappers, each of us strive for learning the keys to improving every single day. And with access to the top teachers in the country (as well as pro players every so often), we’re always on the hunt for the best golf tips to help us shoot low.

Sure, each tip tends to be pretty helpful, but this year, there were a few that stood out more than others.

So take a look below to see the eight golf tips that worked best for GOLF staffers in 2023 — and see how they might help your game get better in 2024 (and beyond!).

GOLF staffers’ best golf tips of 2023

Ryan Barath, equipment editor (@rdsbarath): When using your driver, swing as hard and as fast as you can while keeping your balance. I learned that trying to direct that ball off the tee was a really bad way to try to play the game, and by picking a spot and trusting my shot shape, I was able to swing with more speed — which helped lead to more distance and more accuracy, too. So when you got the driver in hand, give it a rip!

Alan Bastable, executive editor (@alan_bastable): My iron play teeters between unremarkable and unthinkably bad, the result of a left shoulder dip in my backswing that often leads me to hit a full inch or two behind the ball. I didn’t fully solve the problem this year, but my colleague, Josh Sens, did offer a tip that is so simple that it’s embarrassing to admit I haven’t tried sooner: move the ball back in my stance. It feels uncomfortable and weird, but it also has resulted in at least a couple of range sessions where I’m convinced Adam Scott has nothing on me. That feeling, of course, never lasts, but the adjustment has given me hope. Thank you, Josh.

Nick Dimengo, instruction editor (@ndimengo): One would think that the GOLF instruction editor would know a thing or two about escaping deep bunkers; but you’d be wrong — at least before my one-hour lesson with the Short Game Chef himself, Parker McLachlin. Working with McLachlin in Phoenix back in March, he showed me how to stop fearing intimidating bunker shots by working on a few simple techniques. First, he had me dramatically open the clubface to ensure more control of my shot. Next, he had me get wide and low in my stance, creating more leverage to cut through the sand to get beneath the ball. Finally, McLachlin said to lower the handle of my club, which allowed me to make a more aggressive swing. This enabled me to use the bounce of the club more, and spray the sand for a solid out. The result? No more fear when my ball finds the beach.

Jack Hirsh, assistant editor (@jr_hirshey): Putt with the core, not the shoulders. In putting, the object is to have a repeatable motion that you can get the ball starting on line as often as possible. How you do that is up to you. My teacher figured out this year that it’s easier to make a repeatable and consistent stroke if you focus on putting from the core, as opposed to conventional teaching of rocking the shoulders. Don’t feel like your hips and the rest of your trunk need to be anchored in position, simply just try to turn from the belly and you’ll find your athletic ability is more involved in the stroke — just like any other golf shot. It’ll take some getting used to, simply because of how solidly you will start to hit putts.

Jess Marksbury, multimedia editor (@jess_marksbury): I was in a mega-slump over the summer, hitting some of the worst shots of my life. My timing was in shambles, and even my trusty driver was veering off course with nearly every tee shot. My husband (Paul) is a pro, and has the advantage of knowing my game well. So when I finally asked for help, he fixed me in five minutes using our backyard net. I had been focusing on my shoulder turn, which was getting my swing out of sequence. Paul suggested that I think about clearing my hips instead. Simply focusing on that lower-body rotation instead of my upper body totally did the trick, because my upper body naturally followed my hips anyway. My solid strikes returned, and I am so grateful to have such a simple key to focus on now.

Nick Piastowski, senior editor (@nickpia): This one’s for the toppers…and the chunkers. I’m in the former bunch, but both groups are cousins — my gang comes up on the ball too quickly; the other not quick enough. But a fix I’ve sworn by may help everyone; and it comes from none other than Lee Trevino, who first brought the tip to light a couple of years ago. In short, while holding the club, you want your arms to make solid contact with the ball. Easy enough. So what happens when you top it? Your arms are slightly past that ideal point. So what’s the fix? Move the ball slightly back in your stance. And vice versa for chunking. Here, your arms may be slightly behind the ideal point. So move the ball slightly forward in your stance. There’s more, too. A move I’ve taught myself to help with this tip is to check where I create a divot on my practice swing in relation to my feet. I like to think I have somewhat of a repeatable swing, so the real-swing divot should be close to the one taken just a few seconds earlier.

Josh Sens, senior writer (@joshsens): As someone who has never taken the same swing twice, I’m always fiddling around with changes. But plenty of smart people have told me that I should forget all that and just focus on tempo. One of those people (name-drop alert) is Tom Watson, who, during an interview I did with him earlier this year, told me to say the word ‘Edelweiss’ to myself during the swing. ‘Edel’ to the top, ‘Weiss’ down through impact. I don’t think I’ll be following in Watson’s Hall of Fame footsteps anytime soon, but that tempo cue has been a big help this year.

Marley Sims, commerce editor (@marleysims): For some reason, I had trust issues with my pitching wedge. When it came to 50-120-yard shots, I was confident in myself. But when it came to around the green, I just couldn’t execute a dependable flop shot. For me, learning how to trust the lie angle of my wedge, whatever degree it may be, was the most important aspect of my game that I improved this year. I always wanted to close the face (blocking it off, so to speak) to help keep the ball lower because I was afraid I couldn’t control a lob shot. But once I started practicing genuine lob shots, my confidence grew and I started rolling and sticking those closer-range chip shots beautifully onto the green (for the most part). This is where the best tip I got all year comes into play — being told to “actually practice on the range, and not just go hit balls as hard or as far as you can with the driver.” I was getting frustrated with having beautiful drives and then not being able to finish well on a hole. My dad said, “Wow, Marley, you’re hitting the ball so well … now if only you could score.” That lit a fire in me, and changing my range sessions is where it all started.

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