I constantly get asked how I got down to a plus handicap, and typically my response has something to do with habits.
They are that important to me!
So whatever handicap goal you are looking to achieve, you are going to need to change how you approach the game.
Here are 7 habits that I know will make you a better golfer...
1) Practicing With Intent
So many golfers fall victim to "zombie range sessions" They show up and hit a bunch of balls with no plan and don't pay attention to the proper feedback.
And then they wonder why they don't get better!
Intent looks like:
- Having a target on every shot
- Evaluating feedback (impact location/ball flight/etc)
- Going through a routine
- Challenging yourself with games or skill-based drills
2) Choosing Smarter Targets
Most golfers have strategy completely backward.
They are too "conservative" off the tee or too "aggressive" with approach shots.
Learning how to pick smarter targets can instantly lower your handicap. But it requires the right knowledge and discipline.
Great resources are Mark Broadie's book Every Shot Counts and DECADE. And, of course, The Four Foundations of Golf 😉
3) Growing Your Grit
Angela Duckworth defines grit as "perseverance and passion for long-term goals"
Golf is a challenging game that will test your patience, determination, and emotions.
You are going to get dejected at many points throughout your journey on and off the course.
But you have to find a way to:
- Stay positive
- Problem solve
- Keep a long-term view
4) Review Your Rounds
All of the clues to becoming a better player are hiding in plain sight!
Every time you play, you should regularly review your rounds afterward while the information is still fresh.
These are the blueprints for practice and other changes.
What you are looking for:
- Strategic mistakes
- Skill deficits
- Mental engagement
- Overall attitude
- Tracking your stats is *very* helpful (think strokes gained).
So many golfers overlook this!
Golf is truly a gift. Be grateful every time you play.
- Getting exercise
- Spending time with friends
- Interacting with nature
- Unplugging from the world (hopefully)
- Satisfying your competitive desires
- We are lucky to get to play this wonderful game.
6) Manage Your Expectations
Unrealistic expectations are easily the #1 thing holding golfers back from improving and enjoying the game more.
Players get needlessly angry at themselves for shots that are quite reasonable for their skill level.
7) Having a Process
Golf is unique because *you* are initiating the action versus reacting to an opponent in other sports.
You need to get into a "reactive state" before each shot to play your best.
See target, hit.
But so many get stuck over the ball.
This is where routines can help. You want to have pre-shot routine that is like hitting an auto-pilot button.
Productive habits are the keys to success in any endeavor, and golf is no different.
You will see positive changes in your game no matter what your skill level or experience is if you adopt some of these.