How to Pick the Low-Hanging Golf Fruit and Lower Your Scores
I am almost positive that every single golfer who reads this site wants to find ways to lower their scores. That can be a complicated proposition because the path to golf improvement can be difficult and confusing. Luckily for you, Practical Golf is watching out for you! One of my goals is to help organize your efforts and make sure you are spending your precious time wisely.
In this article, I want to highlight four main concepts that I believe are the low-hanging fruit of golf improvement. These are areas of the game that are relatively easy to fix (compared to your swing), and will not require a lot of time in order to see results on the course. In each category, I will give you a few action items and links to other articles you can explore to dive a little deeper.
If you make an effort to improve each of these categories marginally, it is possible many of you will lower your scores by more than 5-10 strokes.
No, I’m not kidding.
I consider putting to be a separate game inside of golf. It’s more difficult than we think, and even the tour pros struggle mightily. That doesn’t mean that many of you can’t shave 2-3 quick strokes off your score by focusing on two concepts that I believe are well within your reach.
The first is speed control. If you can’t control your distance on the greens you will be three putting several times a round. Every single golfer on the planet has the ability to improve this skill. If you put in a moderate amount of work I promise you will see results.
Bonus Content: Be sure to check out my complete guide to putting.
The second area of putting you can vastly improve is putts inside five feet. This is a distance where you actually have a chance to make the majority of your putts. When you are inside of this distance the quality of your stroke is mainly the key to success. This means controlling the path of the putter, and your ability to square the face at impact. This is how you make more putts for par and bogey, and eliminate double bogeys.
We have a number of drills and practice games available to our Insider Members to help with this.
Some training aids I recommend are Tiba Putt, The Pill, Puttout Pressure Trainer, and Blast Golf.
Not every golfer can learn how to hit 250+ yard drives and towering iron shots that hit the majority of greens. However, every single one of you reading this article can improve your wedge play.
The main goal of any golfer should be to get the ball safely on the green a minimum of 50% of the time with a wedge in their hand.
So how do you do it? Well first off, you need to practice. If you are not devoting any portion of your range sessions to working on your wedge play, then you are missing the boat big time.
Here is a drill that I personally use that will test your feel and get your competitive juices flowing.
Additionally, learning the proper technique is necessary. If you are a reader then I would suggest looking at the Wedge Book from Brandon Stooksbury. It’s a great overview of how you can learn the basics of every single wedge shot. Brandon has also shot a series of videos that will give you more in-depth information for our Insider Members.
This is another area of the game where a small, but consistent amount of effort can easily save you a few strokes per round.
The strategy you take out on the course is absolutely crucial. This is one area of golf that I believe has never been taught properly to golfers when they take up the game. Making a few small adjustments can yield big results.
In concept, it is not terribly complicated to learn, but having the discipline to stick with a proper course-management plan during your round is difficult.
If you want a nice overview then be sure to check out my free 30-page eBook that you can download here.
You also should read the following articles:
How to Study a Course Before You Play It
If you really want to take course management seriously then I recommend checking out an online course called The Scoring Method. It is designed for average golfers, and the best collection of advice I have seen to date on the topic.
The Mental Game
By now you know that golf is an intensely mental game. I can tell you from personal experience that getting incrementally better at controlling your emotions on the course can be a huge breakthrough in your game.
This is another area like course management that is easier said than done and requires a lot of discipline to stick with the plan.
I have written a number of articles on the site related to the mental game. Here are a few that I think are worth exploring further:
Lose the Ego – Lower Your Scores
5 Reasons You Should Never Give Up on Your Round
There are also a number of books that I would recommend as well on this topic; here are a few:
Every Shot Must Have a Purpose
Lower Scores are Waiting, It’s Up to You!
None of the topics I’ve discussed mention fixing your golf swing or learning how to hit the ball much farther. That’s because concepts like those take a lot more time and effort. That’s not to say that you should not pursue them, but I am well aware of all of the things in life that get in the way of golf.
If you are serious about improving your game, I believe if you pursue even just one of these topics and take it seriously, you will see a positive impact on your game.
Good article. I see golfers nearly every round who duff a tee shot, are 250+ out and automatically reach for their 3W. If I know them, I’ll ask them what they’re trying to accomplish and invariably the answer is ‘get as close to the green as possible’. An admirable goal but not as smart as hitting iron, wedge. They’ll need 2 shots anyway and taking 3W out of their hands usually takes double or worse out of the equation, too. But that logic seldom sticks.
Thanks for the article and links to other content. The free stuff is good and so is a chunk of the Insider content.
Trevor Knight says
Good article, good list of information. I’ve opened several links to read them as well. Thanks for sharing!