Disclosure: We may receive a commission from some of the links on this page. Please know that we will never recommend a product or service that we do not believe in. Read full disclosure.
Let’s be honest – scratch golf is a pipe dream for most of us, but that doesn’t stop us from playing. The second we arrive at the golf course we get excited and tell ourselves, undoubtedly, today is the day we break 90. We do our stretches, tee up, and then slice our first shot into the woods. Why do we do this to ourselves?
I think it’s safe to say that we don’t just enjoy the game, we love it. There’s an inexplicable compulsion in all of us that makes us walk out on 100 acres of land and whack a tiny ball with a stick for 4 hours. This, however, often leads to insurmountable frustration and leaves us wondering why we don’t just go home by the time we reach the 9th hole. At this point, we’ve all but forgotten about our love for the game, and this just makes us play worse. How do we rekindle the flame before we lose all of our golf balls?
Embrace the Suck
I suck, you suck, we all suck at golf. Don’t get mad at yourself every time you hit a shot that ends up in the woods. Go into it knowing that you suck and you’re going to lose some balls. In fact, your day will probably be full of poor shots, and that’s okay. Just embrace it and your day will be far more enjoyable.
Focus on Your Mental Game
I know, it’s easier said than done, but next time you’re standing in the middle of that sand trap, don’t just hack away in frustration cursing the golf gods. Take a moment for self-reflection, clear your head of all the bad shots that got you into this mess, and stop thinking about how many strokes you have left until par. Just concentrate on the shot you are about to take.
Practice Tiger Woods’ “10 yard rule” and get your frustration out by the time you’ve walked 10 yards from where you took your shot. Practicing this method will make it easier to focus on your next shot, and is essential to improve your mental golf game.
Get Back to The Fundamentals of Golf
You know, things like grip, stance, takeaway, position at impact, follow-through, balance, etc. It is not uncommon to forget about these things when we’re having a bad day on the golf course. Every one of us is guilty of trying to gain a few strokes by overpowering our tee shot. Rarely does this end well.
The pros are able to practice this day-in and day-out, but If you’re like most of us, you’re not able to golf seven days a week. You might even only be able to golf on the occasional Saturday and Sunday. Luckily there are a ton of resources to practice your fundamentals when you’re not on the course. There are countless golf instructors on YouTube. Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book is highly regarded in the golf community. We have a nice collection of golf instruction articles here on Prevail Golf.
Get Some Help
If you really can’t stand how much you suck, you need someone to give you personal feedback on your game. Sure, your buddies will give you tip after tip on the golf course, but, unless they are a pro or an incredible golfer, I would take what they say with a grain of salt. A lot of mediocre golfers have developed bad habits and made those habits work for them. Their advice probably isn’t the best way to improve your game.
It’s not necessary to seek out instruction from Butch Harmon, but your nearest golf pro should be able to quickly identify how you can improve your golf swing in the shortest amount of time. Even if you can only afford to take one lesson, do it. That one lesson will open your eyes to things you would have never noticed on your own, and give you a game plan next time you go to the range.
Practice, Practice, Practice
We all know it’s true – practice makes perfect, and practice does not mean going to the driving range and hitting a large bucket of balls as far as you can with your driver. Unless you’re practicing for a long drive competition, this will be nothing but a waste of your time. Besides, we all know that your short game is what makes the difference on the golf course, so why are you swinging your driver at the range?
I’m not saying you should never swing your driver, but it shouldn’t be your primary focus. The 7 iron is the most ergonomic golf club in your bag, so start with that. If you can’t get good consistent shots with your 7 iron, you’re never going to get there with your other clubs. After loosening up with your 7 iron, move on to your other most troublesome clubs. Most importantly, don’t focus on distance, focus on hitting the ball where you’re aiming.
If you want to truly enjoy golf, you have to understand the golf is primarily a mental game. Just know that even Tiger Woods has bad days on the golf course. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Golf is a very humbling game; you’re going to top the ball and hit awful shots all the time. If you can’t laugh it off and move on to the next one, you’re going to have a bad time.
If you want to suck less, you’re going to have to commit to improving your game. How you do that will ultimately depend on you, but a lesson or two from a pro should be at the top of your list. Last but not least, get the most out of your practice regime. Stop focusing on driving the ball as far as you can, and start focusing on properly swinging your club. All of this will make playing golf a far more enjoyable experience.