Lower Your Handicap this Summer
By Vinnie Manginelli, PGA
Improving your game has become a year-round endeavor, and finding time to focus on whatever ails your swing, your short game or even your physical fitness isn’t always easy.
So, what happens when you find yourself in a bit of a slump? What can you do during the peak playing season when you just can’t lower your scores? Waiting for winter is out of the question for many parts of the United States, so here are 5 tips to help reduce your handicap this summer:
Get custom fit for clubs
Golf equipment and today’s custom fitting technology have become so intricate that there is a set of clubs out there with YOUR name on it. They have the right shaft flex, length, torque and weight, and are properly assembled with the precise loft and lie that meet your skill level and body type.
Taking time to see your local PGA Professional and upgrade your game to a new set of golf clubs can help you stripe the ball like never before. If hitting a Major League fastball with a Wiffle Ball bat seems unfair, give yourself every advantage and fill your bag with properly-fit equipment that gives you every opportunity to achieve your goals.
Find Time to Work on Your Short Game and Putting
If you’ve ever spoken to a PGA Coach, then emphasizing the importance of short game and putting is not new to you. Your finesse shots around the green are the ultimate equalizer to that errant drive or lackluster approach shot. Chipping it close and putting it out will help you forget about that lost ball, penalty stroke or wayward tee shot.
If you’re like most amateur golfers, you have a limited amount of time to practice. A half hour after work, an hour after your kid’s soccer game or even a day off to get 18 holes in at your local course or club is all you could muster over a week or two. If this sounds familiar, then it’s imperative that you maximize your practice time to work on the essential aspects of the game that will have the biggest impact on your scores. That means short game and putting - 75-80 percent of your time should be spent on or around the practice greens and short game area.
Concentrate on 100 yards and In
Remember that last perfect drive you hit? It split the fairway, leaving you a mere 85 yards to the green? Unfortunately, your 56 degree wedge either went left, right, came up short into the wind or spun so much after hitting the green that the ball retreated right off the front.
Improving these scoring shots will reduce the number of strokes it takes to get on the green, and by hitting the ball closer to the hole from within 100 yards, your putts will be shorter and more makeable, reducing the number of putts on your card, instantly lowering your scores.
Play with Better Players
Golf is a game with never-ending challenges. A round of golf is like 18 consecutive hurdles that we have to leap - one after the next after the next after the next. However, it’s easy to get complacent on the course, and lose concentration, especially when playing with friends or new golfers who’ve got nothing on your skills.
Playing with better players will make you better. What better challenge than within your own foursome? You’ll be more focused and regimented in your routines, and won’t have the distractions of helping your friends find their balls in the rough, woods or water.
Play, Play, Play
There’s no earth-shattering, game-changing message here. Play the game! The more holes you play, the more you’ll learn about your game and abilities, your yardages, your strengths and your weaknesses. The time will come when you won’t risk it all for that almost impossible shot, instead patiently awaiting those few holes that are set up just perfectly for your ball flight and improving set of skills.