You know you’ve got a better golf game in you: those brief bursts of pure ball striking and fleeting flashes of short game brilliance provide a glimpse of your true potential.
However, those bright spots are interspersed among the flubs, shanks, brain fades and double-digit blowouts that are anchoring your golf performance to the bottom rung.
If you’d like to bring your best form on a more regular basis, you must realise that improving your golf performance is more of a marathon than a sprint.
It comes down to being consistent out on the course: narrowing the gap between your best and worst shots, becoming adept at controlling your distances, consigning the three and four putts to history and nailing not only the short putts, but the odd long bomb too.
Follow these tips to unlock your golf performance and unlock your true golfing potential.
1. TAKE GOLF LESSONS
It might seem an obvious place to start on your quest to improve your golf performance but surprisingly, many golfers shun golf lessons in favour of their own homespun self-diagnosis.
However, if you’ve had enough of bashing away aimlessly and “fixing” problems in your swing that were never an issue, a lesson will help you find your bearings.
Even if you can’t commit to regular lessons, just having one or two will often give you more than enough guidance and insight into how to correct your flaws.
A qualified teaching professional will offer clear instruction and advice, and assign specific drills you need to work on which, with practice, will elevate your game to the next level.
Remember, even the world’s best players need a coach to monitor their finely-tuned swings.
So what’s stopping you?
Read the GolfBox guide to your first golf lesson, or find a PGA professional near you.www.pga.org.au/find-a-pga-pro
2. BALL THEN TURF FOR PURE AND CRISP IRONS
Have you ever seen a player hit their irons so crisply that their ball flight seems like a laser and their shots never leave the pin?
The key to crisp iron shots is a descending swing path where the club head strikes the ball first, then the turf.
When you get it right you’ll soon notice the difference between correct, crisp contact and the weak, flubby and inconsistent strikes that previously plagued your irons.
Ingrain the correct feeling of ball-then-turf contact by completing this simple drill:
1.Place a ball down and set up next to it as you would for a practice swing.
2.Take three-quarter swings and simply focus on brushing the area of turf that lies past the ball.
Repeating this drill will instinctively promote a forward shaft lean, more lateral movement and better rotation through the ball – all essential elements to the perfect ball-then-turf strike.
3. USE THE BOUNCE IN YOUR SAND WEDGE TO ESCAPE BUNKERS
Sand wedges are designed with a feature that will help you escape from bunkers every time, but many golfers don’t understand how to use it.
It’s called bounce, which is the angle between the leading and trailing edge on the sole of a wedge. Used correctly, bounce stops the wedge from digging into the sand too deeply.
So how do you make the most of the bounce in your sand wedge to help you get out of bunkers? Try these helpful hints:
1.A straight leading edge will reduce the effectiveness of a wedge’s bounce, so open up the face when in bunkers.
2.A club shaft that leans forward will also reduce bounce. Start with your hands in a neutral position at address.
3.Make the bounce of the wedge slide through the sand first by allowing the club head to pass your hands during release.
Once you learn to trust the bounce in your sand wedge, you can be confident of getting the ball out of any bunker.
4. TRUST YOUR FEEL ON THE GREENS
Turning that birdie chance into a three-putt bogey will damage your scorecard and restrict your golf performance rather drastically.
However, try this pre-shot routine that activates your natural feel. Pretty soon you’ll be making more than your fair share of putts.
1.From behind the ball read the break of your putt, paying particular attention to the slope around the hole.
2.Paint the picture in your mind of how the putt will behave when it rolls across the break.
3.Standing behind the ball and looking at the line you have chosen, start making practice strokes that will match the speed and distance of the putt.
4.Now step straight up and pull the trigger – don’t use any practice strokes when standing next to the ball.
Bypassing a practice stroke retains the mental image of the line and speed you garnered when standing behind the putt.
It works because sometimes your eyes change what the putt looks like when making practice strokes next to the ball. Your initial assessment of the line and speed gets distorted and you change your initial, often correct, judgment.
Just hit the putt and watch it drop.
5. STRETCH FOR SUCCESS LIKE DUSTY
A big factor in Dustin Johnson’s phenomenal golf performance is his ability to generate power through his pivot. He might be a natural elite athlete but he still puts time and effort into maintaining his body’s flexibility.
He takes his stretching seriously, paying particular attention to the hamstrings, lower back, shoulders and chest – arguably the most important and active areas of the body in golf.
You can see his stretching philosophy here (https://www.golfchannel.com/video/djs-fitness-focus-stretching-and-flexibility-moves-game), but remember not to go overboard and max-out every muscle in your body - if you do, start stockpiling the ice packs to numb the pain from torn and damaged muscles.
Instead, gradually build up your flexibility up over each session, never putting too much stress on your muscle or joints.
You’ll eventually find the elasticity increasing in your body, which will boost the speed and power in your golf swing and unlock your golf performance.
And remember to stretch before and after your golf-centric strength and conditioning exercises, like those covered in the next point.
6. GOLF WORKOUTS AND EXERCISES
Strengthening exercises can make those crucial golfing muscles stronger and faster, so you can keep up with the big boys and take your golf performance to the next level.
It’s interesting to note that lean and wiry average-sized elite pros such as Xander Schauffele and Justin Thomas can keep up distance-wise with tall, muscular, bench pressing types such as Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka.
And rookie Cameron Champ, who recently won the Sanderson Farms title averaging 338 yards off the tee, only weighs 79kg and is 1.83m tall.
So how is this possible? The secret is strengthening the body’s core and increasing mobility, so you can generate speed from the separation of levers, namely the hips as opposed to the shoulders.
Try some of these at-home exercises from GolfWRX and watch your golf performance skyrocket.
SPLIT SQUATS AND ROTATION
A stable lower half is a must to be able to smash the ball long distances with accuracy. This split squat exercise will increase stability of the lower half of the body by strengthening the lower back, while increasing the mobility of the hips.
Start with your back foot extended behind your front foot then lower yourself until your back knee is just above the floor, keeping your front foot firmly on the floor. Once in position turn your shoulders through 90 degrees and back before lifting your body up to your starting position.
The hips are the point where the upper body links to the lower body and are a critical component in creating power in a golf swing. This pelvic rotation exercise works on hip mobility through rotation of the pelvis.
Standing straight, extend your arms out in front of you and rest your hands on an upright golf club, placing the butt end of a golf club on the ground. Using the club to aid your balance, keep your upper body still and rotate your pelvis around your spine as far as possible in each direction, feeling the movement through your hips and pelvis.
HINGE YOUR HIPS
A perfect address position will boost your golf performance because if your posture is right, there’s a good chance you won’t add any make-up moves into your golf swing. One of the aspects of address that needs constant monitoring is the ability to bend from the hips into your address position. This exercise will promote the right feeling of hinging from your hips, rather than flexing into address using your lower back.
Standing straight, hold a golf club on your back with one hand, making sure it connects with your tailbone, shoulder blades and the back of your head. Now flex your knees and, with your other hand in contact with its corresponding leg, hinge from the hips while maintaining the angle of the club - that’s the feeling of hinging your hips at address.
7. GOLF TRAINING AIDS
There’s nothing like a new training aid to help you practise in order to fire up your golf performance.
Here’s three of the best to get your game back on track.
PUTTOUT PRESSURE PUTT TRAINER
If you are using too many precious shots on the greens through dodgy putting, check out the Puttout Pressure Putt trainer.
It’s ideal for honing your accuracy and distance control, with the curved ramp returning your ball the distance it would’ve finished behind the hole had it missed.
And the standout feature is the micro target that sits halfway up the ramp. Only a putt with the perfect pace and line will defy gravity and come to rest in the target.
It sounds easy but it will give you instant feedback on your distance control and putting stroke.
MORODZ GOLF ALIGNMENT RODS
If you need to ingrain a particular swing move, or stop a troubling tendency, the Morodz Golf alignment rods are the training aid you’ve been looking for.
The rods can be used to correct and cement fundamentals such as ball position, alignment and swing plane. They are a basic but incredibly useful training aid to boost your golf performance. As they say, the simple things in life are often the best.
THE POWER PACKAGE
If you need help sequencing the hands, wrists and arms then The Power Package can help to deliver explosive power at impact.
Slipped over the grip of any club, The Power Package imparts the correct feeling of hinging the wrists for a perfect takeaway, leading to pure and accurate strikes.
Use the Power Package and watch your golf performance from tee and fairway improve markedly.
See more training aids - https://www.golfbox.com.au/golf-blog/the-golf-tra...
8. TALK TO GOLFBOX
Most golfers regard buying a new set of clubs as an investment in their game, hoping the purchase will deliver a dividend by slashing their strokes out on the course.
It’s certainly an excellent way to improve golf performance but there’s a way to make that investment deliver gilt-edged returns: talk to a GolfBox club fitter.
Club fitting is like going to the optometrist for a pair of glasses; your prescription is perfect for you but trying to use someone else’s will result in blurred vision, confusion and annoyance – probably how you’ll feel if you’ve purchased an ill-fitting set of clubs.
Clubs are no longer made with just one set of specifications. Now there are slight variations to suit just about any golfer on the planet.
The hard part is knowing which clubs are perfect for your game but GolfBox can get a snapshot of your game and suggest clubs that will optimise your golf performance.
Contact GolfBox now for club fitting advice and watch your golf performance soar to new heights.