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Most golfers crave quick solutions. They want to lose their slice from one day to the next and reduce their disability immediately by ten strokes. The golf industry has happily sold equipment, training tools and other types of products that promise these results.
The truth is that a better golfer will take more time and patience. Like any other company in life, success is a collection of small habits that are built up over time.
Recently I have read one of the best books on the subject that I have come across. It is called Atomic Habits, by James Clear. For anyone who tries to get rid of negative habits in his life, and to build more positive things, I recommend to read it.
The starting point of the book is that small changes in habits (good or bad) build up to breakthroughs or setbacks on the road. It is the same principle behind compound interest, and why storing small amounts of money over a long period can build enormous wealth.
It made me think about what positive habits golfers can start building that, over time, will lead to breakthroughs in their games. Here is a collection of small changes that you can make from today that I know will pay off. I will also include links to other sources on this site for more information on the subject.
Gratitude is just as important as possible. Being grateful that you can even play golf can change your whole view of the game. When you take a step back and think about it, the fact that you can call yourself a golfer means that you are doing pretty well. Having the disposable income for greens allowances and equipment, the physical ability to swing a golf club, and time for a leisurely activity that can consume half a day is not something that many people can identify with in the world.
Without becoming too philosophical, it is a privilege to play golf. I have not always seen the game that way and for years I thought that basic idea was self-evident. But I can tell you from experience when you step on the course and are genuinely grateful that you are even there, it can place your mind in a place where you can enjoy more and play better.
Make this commitment and your golf game will flourish
Why golf is so special – an important memory
Choosing smarter targets
The best way to lower your scores without doing anything about your swing is to become smarter price management. The basis of the strategy is to select goals and club selections that are optimal based on your skill level and the layout of each hole. This applies to tee shots, proximity shots and your short game.
The problem for most golfers is that they are never given course management. Most instruction and coaching revolves around the swing. Smart strategic play requires a lot of discipline and analysis, but it is indeed one of the essential, low-hanging results to become a better player
I have written extensively on strategy on this site and have many articles that can help.
Fat Side Wins: an incredibly simple strategy that will lower your score
Make smarter decisions regarding Tee Shots
Stop trying to make Birdie
If I had to put my finger on the common mistake that every golfer makes, it is that he has unrealistic expectations of the course. Golfers lose their feelings unnecessarily and become angry with themselves for shots that are reasonable for their skill levels. It ruins their day, and worse, prevents them from playing well. Approaching the course with reasonable expectations is one of the great ways to take your game to a higher level.
Golf is a challenging game and changing your way of thinking about these issues is easier said than done. But with the right attitude (and guidance) this can lead to considerable results in the long run.
What is considered a good golf shoot? You will probably be surprised …
How PGA tour statistics can help manage your expectations
Why you want to be a boring golfer
The 2/3 rule and what it means for your game
Practice with intention
The practice does not make perfect if you do not do it right. Many golfers (including me for a long time) think that only showing the range and hitting balls gives you lower scores. It does not work.
Bad practice habits are the reason why you hear golfers say to their game partners after a bad round, "but I hit it so well on the range."
Practice smarter, challenge yourself and stay involved in your practice sessions, you can make a better golfer. Many players do not have an endless amount of time to work on their games, but whatever you do, you want to count it. By making this fundamental change in your practice, you can reduce the gap between your performance on the practice range and the course.
Your practice sessions probably miss THIS …
The 20/20/20 training session
Practical golf insider
Having a process
We are all capable of making great golf shots. What we are not capable of doing is always working if we have only one chance under pressure. What I have found over the years is that the more you automate your process for a recording, the more likely you are to allow your body to do what it is capable of.
Many call this a pre-shot routine, and it is something that all golfers should have. It should not take long like Jason Day's or some other players you see on tour. However, it should be something that you can quickly repeat for each shot. Having a known process can provide comfort, reduce negative thoughts and keep your nerves at a distance.
The zone of commitment
Can a pre-shot routine lower your scores?
Proud of the grind
One of the hardest things to do is stay involved in a round that has started badly. Our instinct is to give up the day and declare it a bad day. Giving up is one of the worst habits you can form in your golf game.
Every round of golf has some form of adversity. How you respond to a wrong ride, a putt missing or a different outcome that you are not satisfied with, has a huge impact on your score for the day. The ability to dig in, stay involved and maintain a positive attitude is a difficult habit to form, but easily one of the best. Here is a tweet that I put at the top of my Twitter profile, because I believe this is so important:
If you * really * want to lower your disability, you need to find a way to stay involved in rounds that are not going well. I see golfers wasting all the time with 5-10 strokes when they give up their rounds. Once you learn to be proud of the routine, it can become a good habit.
– Jon Sherman (Practical Wave) September 26, 2018
3 ways to save your round if things do not go well
You can not be a better golfer without this feature
Everything you need to know about your golf game, hides you in full view. I strongly encourage players to evaluate their rounds after they are ready to think about what went well that day and what went badly. Everywhere you can find instructions on how to improve. Were you struggling with awkward wedge distances? Did you feel uncomfortable with the green speeds? Was your mood in the way?
One of the best ways to do this is through statistics. Keeping track of your performance data is a good way to find out where to improve, track your progress and set reasonable goals for your game. With shot tracking systems such as GAME Golf, Shot Scope and Arccos, this is easier than ever.
Golf Shot Tracker Guide
Setting goals for your game using statistics
Packing: what habits will you change?
If you want to be a better golfer, you have to get yourself out of your comfort zone. The best thing is that you do not have to make any monumental changes to see results. If you just take one of the habits from this list and really work to make it part of your game, I can almost promise you that you will see the real results.
It takes some patience on your part, and you will not necessarily see results in the short term, but they are all worth investing in your game.