Another thing is as certain as death and taxes – golf is hard. It’s a love / hate relationship for most of us. You can have the worst round of your life, but that one shot you stuck pin-high on the 15th is the one you’ll talk about… the one that keeps you coming back. You can also quickly play better golf if you practice properly and regularly. Here are some of the best tips on how to get better at golf and shave strokes off your score.
Learn How to Play Golf by the Rules
What is a good golf score? The National Golf Foundation says that about 55% of golfers surveyed break 100. But how many of those golfers surveyed actually play a legal round of golf? Here are some things most of you do on a regular basis that are not allowed:
- Mulligans. Some of you take one on the front AND the back nine. And if you hit a “safety” when your first ball shanks into the woods, it’s still a penalty.
- Out of bounds. If you hit your ball past those stakes on the course, it’s out of bounds and costs you a stroke, even in if you play the ball where it lies.
- Improve your lie. Use the ole toe wedge much? If you’re not on the green, you can’t touch your ball or move stuff around your ball to make your next shot easier to hit. There are some exceptions so consult a rule book.
- Whiffs. When you take a swing at the ball with the intent to move it forward and miss it completely (yes, you’ve done it), it’s a stroke penalty. Period. Don’t act like it was a practice swing. We all know.
- Gimmies. Most of you are not good putters because you never practice putting. You get it within 2 feet and you expect your foursome to “give it to you.” No. Putt it out, even if they tell you to pick it up.
Want to know how to get good at golf? Your goal should be to break 100 playing a totally legal round of golf. Think you can do it? Prove it to yourself.
How to Practice Golf at Home
If you focus on golf fundamentals, you will improve your golf swing. Get to the driving range when you can and don’t just pound away with a driver. Use all the clubs in your bag. To practice golf at home, here are some tips and things to keep in mind:
Speed then line: Your goal should be to 2-putt every green. Speed is way more important than line. You don’t have to hole it out from 30 feet. Just get it within 2 feet. So, imagine the hole is 4 feet in diameter rather than 4.25 inches.
Putting “Green”: At home you’re putting on a rug or carpet that is flat, straight, and not too challenging. Put a golf ball or other small item under the rug in various places to simulate an actual green. If you’re on a carpet, put cups at different distances and learn how to control your speed.
Chipping: If you have a yard, chip balls into a bucket or at a target from various distances. Get used to using different clubs for different distances. If you’re indoors, don’t hit toward a window!
Watch: Watch more golf on TV and see how the pros swing. Are you “reaching” for the ball? Is your tempo too fast? You can learn a lot from those guys.
Read: Get “Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons” by Ben Hogan and “Little Red Golf Book” by Harvey Penick. And if you’re never heard of these guys, stop playing golf. 6
Strengthening Exercises for a Better Golf Swing
To improve your golf swing, you need an exercise routine that works your entire body. Here are several isometric exercises that will increase your strength and improve balance, so you can get a better golf swing. None of these exercises require any equipment and can be done anywhere.
- Stand up straight and bend your left elbow by your side, fist up.
- Place your right palm on top of your left fist. Your right arm should be parallel to the ground with your elbow bent about 90 degrees.
- Press your right palm into your left fist and hold this for 10 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
- Do this complete exercise 10 times.
- Place your left palm on your right shoulder.
- Keep your right arm relaxed by your side.
- Keep your back straight and both hips square. Rotate your torso to the left as you push your left palm into your right shoulder.
- Hold this for 10 seconds and repeat on the other side.
- Do this complete exercise 10 times.
This classic yoga pose works your entire body. Combined with isometric holds, it is an effective, efficient way to get in a full-body exercise in just a few minutes.
- Stand up with your knees and feet touching.
- Extend both arms in front of you.
- Slowly squat down as if you’re sitting in a chair.
- Squeeze your thigh muscles together and contract your abs.
- Hold this pose for 10 seconds, then return to a standing position.
- Do this 10 times.
Congratulations! You just worked almost every muscle you use in a golf swing. Good exercise combined with good practice equals good golf.
How to get better at golf with Activ5
While axioms can be overused, they will help you play better golf. Consider this the next time you step into the tee box…
“Keep your eye on the ball.”
“Don’t look up.”
“Low and slow.”
“Keep your left arm straight.”
There are a million of them, so find the one that works for you. And to help you get a better golf swing faster, try the Activ5 portable training device and coaching app. Activ5 has over 100 gym-based exercises that can improve your strength, flexibility, balance, and power. Activ5 makes workouts fun, tracks your progress on a sophisticated smartphone app, and functions as a game controller. Every golfer should use it!
Remember to consult with your physician before beginning any exercise routine.