Golf can be an incredibly frustrating sport at times. It is so easy to hit the ball onto the green in regulation or close to it, only to end up with a 4-putt for a triple bogey. The reason this happens is that so many golfers spend countless hours at the driving range hitting with their driver, their fairway woods, and a few longer irons. That is a recipe for failure. While all of those shots are critical to the mastery of the game, to become the best golfer possible in the shortest amount of time, you should attempt to master your short game before you begin searching for a purer swing than Rory McIlroy.
Training a Perfect Shot
Putting, pitching, and wedge shots will save your life in golf. If you put in the work with your putter and become a very consistent 2-putter, you will have built up quite an insurance policy on the course. Next, get a lot of work in from slightly off the green with your pitches and wedges. This can include shots from the fairway when you miss short, or the bunker and rough when missing either long or to one side or the other.
Once you become great at these shots, not only will it allow you to score lower on shorter holes such as par-3’s, but it will also allow you to have more confidence in your approach shots on the longer holes. It is less nerve racking to hit a 9-iron approach when you know that, even if you miss the green slightly, you have the short game skills to make up for it; as opposed to not having confidence with your short game, which could cause you to tense up and hit a bad approach.
The next major key to taking your golf game to the next level is club selection. Many people assume it is always best to grab the longest club possible (typically a driver) to tee off with on a long par-4 or par-5. This is not true, particularly on par-4’s. Think about these two scenarios.
First off, someone hits a 3-wood down the middle of the fairway and then is in position to hit a smooth, natural 8-iron onto the green. The second player hits a driver (a more risky shot) and is able to put the shot in the fairway much farther than the first player. This player has to then hit a pitching wedge shot that cannot be hit at full strength and is an awkward shot that most likely hasn’t been practiced often. You have to remember to think about more than the shot you are currently hitting; think about the position it is likely to put you in for your next shot or even the shot after that. Make a plan in your mind for every hole and try to stick with it.
Club selection and mastery of a short game will make you a much better golfer much quicker than grinding away for hours at the driving range getting frustrated. Some extra golf equipment may help. I’m talking about golf laser rangefinders (More info at rangefinder101.com).
After you master the short game, it is probably in your best interest to hire a swing coach for the longer shots. This is especially true if you are a more serious player. A swing coach provides the objectivity you cannot provide yourself as well as another pair of eyes on your swing and a knowledgeable mind of the game. It really is in your best interest to do this; there is a reason every professional golfer in the world still has one. Keep practicing, and you will find yourself in the red before long!
You’re going to play with the most wealthy men in your neighborhood, perhaps even some guys from government. Make sure you look like a golf pro. Select proper outfit. If you have a beard then make sure it is well-formed (use the best beard trimmer you can get or visit a barber before the game).
And the most important thing – just enjoy the game.