How this TV anchor dropped his handicap index to an all-time low this year

Fox News' Bill Hemmer is on the brink of becoming a single-digit handicap.

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In this year unlike any other, the political news cycle has been a 24/7 affair, and perhaps no one knows the rigors and demands required to cover the ever-changing landscape quite like Fox News’ Bill Hemmer, who recently marked his 25th year in cable news, and will celebrate the one-year anniversary of his eponymous show, Bill Hemmer Reports, in January.

Despite being busier than ever, Hemmer reports that, in the midst of this year’s madness, he’s not only achieved the lowest handicap index of his life, he’s also on the brink of golf’s holy grail: becoming a single-digit player.

But how?

Hemmer started this pandemic year as a 13 and is currently a 10.6. He plays out of Meadow Brook Club (in Jericho), and Bridgehampton Country Club on New York’s Long Island. So how did he shave those strokes from his game, and how does he intend to continue to improve? It all comes down to these four essentials.

Commit to getting out there

Hey, we’re all busy. From endless work-from-home hours, virtual schooling, and the demands of daily life, it can be hard to find time to get out on the course. But, as Hemmer says, consistency really is the key to improvement.

“It’s been a hell of a year,” Hemmer says. “I mean, we started with impeachment, we went to an election, we went into Covid, the election kept going, we’re coming out of that now, we’re still in Covid. Life as we used to understand it here in midtown Manhattan is remarkably different. And it’s going to stay that way well into 2021. So I guess if you give yourself the opportunity, if you commit to getting there, and then thinking about it throughout the week so that when you get your next chance to go back, that’s made a big difference for me.”

As a Manhattanite, Hemmer says escaping to the course during the week is not an option. “So my feeling is,” he says, “You have to strategize for the weekend. And that’s what I’ve been doing.”

Find an instructor, and stick to a plan

Hemmer credits Meadow Brook pros Bill Van Orman and Matt Dobyns with providing increased clarity in his game-improvement plan this year. He takes a lesson just about every three weeks so he has time to work through any changes and really let the instruction soak in.

“Having a consistent routine with a coach or two really helps,” he says.

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Two words: Short game

At Meadow Brook, Hemmer has access to a short-game area where he can hone in on his 80-yards-and-in performance. It’s been a literal game-changer.

“Trying to hit a 56-degree off of a tight lie has been a really difficult shot for me,” Hemmer says. “And I’ve worked on that a lot during the Covid season. And it’s worked out.”

Make golf a true escape

If you want to make gains in your game, it’s important to keep distractions to a minimum.

“We all need something to do or someplace to go where we can get away from it all for a few hours,” Hemmer says. “And if you want to play well, you can’t check your phone, you can’t text, and for four hours or so you give yourself a break from all of that. And if you have the discipline to do it that way then you’re going to come back to your life and your office with a fresher approach.”

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Unfortunately for Hemmer and many other golfers living in cold climates, winter is coming. But that’s not going to stop his game-improvement plan.

“I’ll be hitting that shed with Matt and Billy,” Hemmer says of Meadow Brook’s indoor practice facilities. “And I will hopefully, if the fortune blows my way, be able to get a weekend once a month maybe down south.”

Like Hemmer, you too can still make great gains in your game while stuck indoors. Check out some great drills and tips for the winter here.

Jessica Marksbury
Golf.com

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on GOLF.com.