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Senior Golfer - On the green

ON THE GREEN is courtesy of the Senior Connection Newspaper, visit their web site. The author is Jerry Koncel, a free-lance writer who lives in Schaumburg, IL.

The Putting Green

Practice tips to lower your scores

Unlike some other sports, the high score doesn't win in golf. The goal is to keep shooting lowering scores, and, as we all know, golf is not a game of perfection. In short, "perfection is not attainable, but we all strive after it."

If we want to lower our scores, we need to identify our weaknesses, and then strive to rectify that particular weakness. The problem with golf, is that there are so many possible weaknesses and so many possible solutions to the question, "What did I do wrong?" It can be as simple as having a bad grip and poor posture, to playing with the wrong shaft, to a simple lack of confidence.

In my recent experience, here are some practical tips to help lower your golf scores. They came to me from Brendan Evans at Village Greens of Woodridge.

Resolve to never hit a practice chip, pitch or full shot without having two clubs on the ground. One will be placed along your feet and other will be a parallel line pointed to the target. Evans noted that many people tell him they're hitting the ball great, but they freely admit that they don't have a target. If you're aimed at a target and the ball isn't going there, then you know what you have to work on.

A second tip I got from Evans is a resolution to use three-quarter of one's practice balls on drivers and pitch shots. He came to this conclusion by analyzing the average person's golf games.

He noted that most golfers will hit 14 drives on the average course and have twice as many shots from 100 yards and closer. Hence, one needs to practice with those clubs that one would use most during a typical round of golf. This reasoning is sound and explains why one sees so many people hitting drivers on the range, but it does little to explain why golfers are not spending more time hitting chipping and pitch shots.

The third tip was to resolve to find a drill designed to help your particular ailment, and use it during your practice swings on the course. Evans noted that most people take one or two practice swings before they hit the ball, but they usually serve no purpose. If these swings are focused on one particular drill, the result will be 75-100 quality practice swings during the weekly round of golf.

Another tip I found on Golf, and came from Rosie Jones, a former LPGA player. Jones said one of the most common problems facing average golfers is a lack of commitment to the shot at hand. She noted that golfers may be between clubs in terms of distances, they may not be sure of the wind direction and/or speed, and they may be afraid that the shot they're hitting from the rough is a 'flier." All these are examples of why people aren't committed to hitting a shot.

Jones makes a good point about being committed to the shot. So many times, at the very last second, a player will remind him or herself of the hazard to the right or the bunker that is short of the green or suddenly realize that this lie promotes a fade or a draw. "These are all disastrous thoughts that lead to mishits or bad results," Jones said.

Jones urges all golfers to be more committed to their decisions and the ability to hit each shot as they wish. "To be committed is to have total faith and no fear of where the ball will end up," she added. "Have fun and hit the ball!"

I leave you with those words of wisdom from Rosie Jones.

ON THE GREEN is courtesy of the Senior Connection Newspaper, visit their web site. The author is Jerry Koncel, a free-lance writer who lives in Schaumburg, IL.

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