What’s the biggest mistake holding bogey golfers back from lower scores?
90s shooters comprise the majority of golfers, but they all went to inch down into the 80s. How do they do it? Let’s ask some off GOLF’s resident low-handicaps, who are here to offer some helpful advice, golfer-to-golfer.
1. Improve your crisis management
Luke Kerr-Dineen (2.2 handicap): So many 90s shooters usually have a pretty good swing, but what holds them back is one or two blowup holes a round. More often than not, these holes aren’t caused by one bad shot, but rather a bad shot or two, followed by a couple stupid decisions. You can’t magically stop hitting bad shots — it’s going to happen — but you can stop a bad shot or two turning into a blowup hole, so work on stopping. When you’ve got a 10 footer for par, don’t hit it so hard that it ends up six feet by. If you have a chip with nothing between you and the green, putt it instead. If you hit it into trouble, take out your wedge and chip out. It’s not sexy, but it will turn those double and triples into bogeys.
2. Choose The Right Tees
Josh Sens (2.5 handicap): Play from the proper tee. We could all spend endless time fine-tuning our technique. That’s a worthy goal. But making a swing change is like seeing a shrink: it requires time and money, and there’s no guarantee it’s actually going to work. Choosing the right tee is a change we can all make instantly, with no effort other than letting go of our egos. If you can’t break 90 and you’re playing courses much longer than 6,200-6300, there’s a good chance you’re playing from too far back.
3. Play Safe
Ashley Mayo (3.1 handicap): The biggest thing is poor course management. If you’re shooting in the 90s, you clearly know how to hit a golf ball. Now, what you need to start paying attention to are shot options and how to play your way around the course in the smartest ways. Attempting the hero shot, or the shot that leaves little room for error, every time is a good way to stay stuck in the 90s. Playing smart and conservative and opting for the shots that might seem less thrilling but are certainly safer is a good way to avoid those disaster holes and break into the 80s.
4. Practice short putts
Joe Summa (4.9 handicap): Most 90s players I’ve seen are athletes with good swings, who tend to struggle with their short game. Numerous 3-putts will turn anyone’s round south, and their scores north. Being able to follow a good approach shot with firm, confident putts, will lead to lower scores. Not everyone has the ability of Brad Faxon on the greens but making more putts inside six feet will turn bogeys to pars, and pars to birdies. My advice? Trick your mind by making 10 putts in a row from three feet, slowly moving back until the cup seemingly becomes larger at shorter distances. Another putting drill I’ve found useful making the cup appear larger is putting to a tee, stuck in a practice green. Never undervalue the importance of a two-putt (or less)!
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