Try your best to only think about where you want the ball to go, especially when you’re swinging well. Golf is not about how far you can hit it, or what club you should be able to hit a certain distance! Think about how well you are hitting it, then decide where you want it to go!
To play golf well, you need to know your own capabilities, and how to manage yourself. Don’t try to be someone else! Know yourself and the shots you elect to play, and you’ll know how to play YOUR game.
Here are four tips that will improve your chances of hitting more fairways and greens. Swing within yourself, and make good contact!
1. Grip down on your driver, relax your grip, and let your arms hang. Keep your head behind the ball at IMPACT. Gripping down on your driver will shorten the club and improve control, so set up to play it at about 43” in length. That means gripping down 2-3” on most modern drivers. Relaxing your grip and letting your arms hang loosely allows you to increase the whipping action of the club improving club speed. Keeping your head back of the ball at impact will increase the trajectory height of your drive automatically and you won’t have to think about swinging up – it will be automatic! Note: Tiger Woods plays with a shorter driver than most touring pros set up at 42” because he says it gives him more control.
2. Throttle back. Most golfers swing too harder with their driver. Instead, try swinging your driver with the thought of the same power and swing speed you’d apply to a smooth 6–iron shot. Imagine the rhythm of your swing speed at 30 mph on takeaway – and accelerating to 60-70-80 mph on your downswing. Your rhythm, balance, timing, line, and distance control will improve.
3. Play to the set landing areas on each hole. Every golf course architect will design in a fat part of the fairway – the landing area – and place hazards like fairway bunkers and lateral water nearby challenging golfers with longer carries from the tee or short cuts over water. Hazards are there to wreck your game, not improve it. The landing areas give the average player a bigger and much safer target. Here is a tip on “how to find the landing area”. As you play a golf course for the first time, look back towards the fairway or tee box when you reach the green. You’ll be surprised to see and figure out where the best landing area is that the golf course architect set up. Same rule applies to the area around the green and the greens themselves – the water hazards, traps, and steep slopes are there to trap you!
4. Play target golf. Golf is about thinking one shot ahead. Instead of just looking down the fairway somewhere, pick out a very specific line and target, or the best place to play the next shot. Don’t think about the fairway bunkers, water hazards, and out of bounds markers. Focus on a target in the distance. It’s really easy to pick the top of a roof or tree in the distance and imagine the flight of your ball. Always aim laterally away from the corner of a bunker, a hazard, or trouble and pick a house or tall tree in the distance. The key is to really focus on something off in the distance when driving the ball towards a specific target, not just “out there somewhere”.
Put these practices into play the next round, and I promise your game will improve measurably. And remember, your pre-shot routine and setup before attempting each shot. Swing within yourself, and make good contact!
Note: Every golf swing hinges on the setup. Make a mistake there, and the problems that follow in the swing are hard to fix before impact. Check out my tips on the Pre-shot and Setup routine to your right.
Practice without fear! Play without fear! Golf is just a game!