The Amateur Approach 

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First off, I am going to preface this article by saying that I am by no means a good golfer. i will say that I have played enough and feel comfortable enough to say that I am a good bad golfer. What does this mean? It means that if I go out with a random 4 some I will normally win, or come close to being the best in the group. i am a 13 handicap and it has taken me a lot of rounds to get to where I am. I watch a a lot of amateurs play and notice the same mistakes over, and over and if you are able to to adjust a few simple things in your game I truly believe you will be able to save a few strokes.

  1. Stop hitting driver off the tee. We all want to let the big dog rip but on average most par 4’s average roughly 365 yards and if you are above an 18 handicap your goal on every hole should be a bogey. If you mishit a driver you are now in the woods and your next shot is now your third and it becomes difficult to make a bogey from there. I have adjusted my game over the past few years to hit a 4 iron off the tee and attempt to get it in play 200 yards and go from there. Find a club you are comfortable with that can get you out 190-210 yards on these shortish par 4’s and just try to find a fairway and give yourself a shot at the green.

  2. Do not hit at a pin. For those few times we are able to find a fairway our next shot becomes the most important and it is easy to find trouble. We see a pin, we dial in a yardage and we go at it. Even though there is plenty of room on the left side of the green, we decide to go at it we hit a slice and leave it short and now sit in a green side bunker and have very little to no room on the green for us to make this shot. The smart play is to hit it to the left side of the green or just a little off the green and attempt to chip it up and on, 2 putt and leave the hole with a bogey.

  3. Learn to keep the ball down for as long as you can. What does this mean?? I see a lot of players who attempt to use their wedge from approximately 20-30 yards but unfortunately do not accelerate their club through impact and end up duffing a shot and having no success. The proper play here is to use a 3-5 wood with a putting method and keep the ball on the ground, You are now taking the risk of duffing the shot out and if you just play it to the middle of the green you can now to putt for bogey. From 40-60 yards out look to use an 8 or 9 iron and just take a nice easy punch and just try to play it to green nice and easy. Again, the lower the ball goes the less chance it has to make a mistake.

  4. Enjoy yourself, We all want to go out and have a perfect round but understand as a bogey or bogey + golfer you will make your fair share of bad shots and not have the results that you want. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter golf is all about going out and having a good time with your buddies. If you want to swing the driver than go out and swing the driver and remember golf is about fun. If you want to shave a few strokes off I think my advice can help along the way but you still need to work on your game at the range and try to improve your ball striking as that will be a huge impact on your success.

  5. Putting is always tough and that is just on feel, your goal on every hole should always be to 2 putt but that is easier said than done. Just do the best you can here and anything from outside of 10-15 feet worry about pace more than line and go from there. If you get speed right you hope your next putt will be a tap in and you go from there.

  6. Understand bogey is always good, on par 5’s do not be afraid to play the hole backwards. If it looks like a tight drive than opens up hit a mid iron on your drive and proceed to hit a wood on your 2nd shot. Only a few of us on the tour can reach par 5’s in 2 and more often than not it is not worth the risk to try to hit driver, 3 wood on these holes as you will tend to find trouble one of your first 2 shots.

This is just a little bit of advice, feel free to take it or leave it. If you really want to try to improve your game, spend some time at the range and work on consistent ball striking but if you are just a weekend warrior I truly believe these are a few adjustments you could make that could quickly save yourself a few strokes. I am willing to guarantee if you can play a round of golf using 2 or less balls you will shoot under 100 more often than not.

 

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