|The first step toward better scores is improving your driving. Good positioning off the tee results in more pars and birdies. (Scott Stuart/EclipseSportsWire.com)|
Most golfers have no idea how to lower their scores, but if you follow these few tips you'll be on your way to playing the best rounds of your life. After all, if you drive it down the fairway, chip closer from around the green and hole a few more putts won't your scores come down? I know mine would!
I'm sure you've heard the phrase "drive for show and putt for dough." Well, this adage should be; "Drive, Chip and Putt for dough." The first step toward better scores is improving your driving.
Start by choosing the safest club off the tee that puts your ball into play. Off the tee, a 3-wood or hybrid in the fairway is far better than a long drive in the bunker or out of bounds. (Remember, it was only a few years ago that Tiger Woods won the British Open by only using his driver once in 72 holes.) Good positioning off the tee results in more pars and birdies.
The way to develop good chipping starts with controlling distance. Distance control is a result of how far the ball travels in the air.
Golfers need to find a spot where they want the ball to land, then decide which club will best land the ball on that spot. If you pick the correct spot the ball will end up close to the pin. (Watch the pros, before they chip they find a spot to land the ball and let it run to the hole.)
A good rule to follow is the closer you are to the pin, the more lofted club you should use. A 50-foot chip shot from the edge of the green would best be played with a 5 or 6 iron, while a 15 to 20 foot chip shot should be played with a pitching wedge or sand wedge. Practice these shots to develop a better short game as this is where one-putts start.
There are two areas that can really save shots on the greens: lag putting and putts inside six feet.
As with chipping, good lag putting is a result of controlling your distance.
Over the years, Loren Roberts has been known as one of the best putters on tour, especially on lag putts. A drill he often uses is practicing 30- to 40-foot putts using just his right hand, as this helps him create a long, smooth stroke that is tension free. I recommend you practice this one-handed stroke as it will develop a constant rhythm for your lag putts.
Putts missed less than 6 feet are missed 95 percent of the time because of a lack of confidence! To overcome that doubt, you need to create confidence in your ability to get the ball into the hole.
How do you create this confidence? Practice, practice, practice. Before every round of golf you should find a flat spot on the putting green and practice 5- to 6-foot putts until you make several in a row.
Once that last practice putt goes in say to yourself, "I am a great putter." Keep that thought during your round and you will be a great putter.
August 28, 2009
Les Miller was a longtime Golf Writers of America member who covered golf instruction for several newspapers and golf publications. His many years of experience as a golf professional, director of product development and tour relations for several major golf companies gave him a unique background and ability to help golfers increase their enjoyment of the game.