There is debate as to whether Mark Twain said it first, but, “golf is a good walk spoiled,” reigns true for many who partake in the past time. Here are 5 simple, yet very effective tips to help you shave a few strokes off your next round (and have more fun while doing so!).
1) Warm Up
The golf swing is a repetitive movement that requires ample practice to master. That said, it will always take some swings and stretching to make sure you are ready before teeing off on the first hole. Here are a few pointers:
Get to the course an hour early and get a small bucket of balls.
Practice swinging before hitting any of the range balls. I recommend trying a few swings from the other side to get both sides of the brain firing (i.e. righties take a few left handed swings, and vise verse)
Perform some basic stretching:
Deep body weight squats to open the hips
Shoulder pass throughs with your driver to activate shoulders, wrists, and core
Stretch the legs and arms out to make sure you are loose and comfortable
When warming up, approach each practice shot on the range as if it were a real shot in the round. Don’t just mindlessly swing; make up scenarios, choose your target, and execute.
Take at least ten minutes on the practice green to get the green speeds down.
2) Walk Instead of Ride
Golf was designed to be played while walking , and I tell people that I play at least 5 strokes better when I walk instead of ride (my stack of scorecards from this year proves it). When you walk, you are more in tune with your game, can get in a rhythm, and will want to keep the ball in play (there is nothing worse than walking to find your ball, then having to go back and hit another one). Also, walking while playing golf is an easy way to get exercise without even thinking about it!
3) The Power of Breath
Harnessing breath helps put us into a parasympathetic state, which allows us to access states of ease even during stressful situations. One of the most influential tips I ever heard, from an interview with Tiger Woods, was to consciously and fully exhale before making a putting stroke. This will calm your nerves, prevent the breath from shifting your posture, and leave you with a more consistent movement. Give it a try and let me know how your short game changes!
4) Be in the Moment
Each hole, each swing, and each stroke counts as one in and of itself on the golf course. When a round is not going as planned, it is easy to get caught up in what has happened and get down. On the contrary, when you’re playing well and make a mistake, it can be rattling and throw you off going forward. One of the most powerful things you can do on the golf course is remain mindful and in the moment. Remember, we cannot change what has happened, and we can’t predict what will happen on the next hole. Be present, be mindful, and execute what is right in front of you.
5) Have Fun!
The reason we are at the course in the first place is to have fun. You’ll hit some great shots, and you’ll have some shots that are not ideal. There will be lucky bounces and some bad breaks. At the end of the day, make sure your time out there is filled with joy, because that is what keeps us coming back.
Let me know your favorite places to play!