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Senior Golfer - On The Green

Some reminders of how to improve our golf games

The Putting Green

After this year’s long, cold, snowy winter, my golfing buddies and I were discussing how to improve our golf games. Bob, John and Larry chose better golf through technology because they had all bought new drivers, and my buddy Mike had purchased a new set of irons. When I asked, “Why did you make these purchases,” they gave me different answers that can be summed up in these words: to help improve my game.

Their responses gave me pause because we all want to improve our golf games by hitting the ball farther with greater accuracy and lowering our scores. While this is our goal, we also all know that this is a maddening process, but one that keeps us coming back because we see signs of greatness in every round we play. Because we’re always striving to improve, get better, we often times forget some basics. So, I want to share with you some reminders of how to improve our golf games.

To drive the ball farther, new technology helps, but don’t swing harder. Most golfers know that they need to generate more clubhead speed to hit the ball farther. Unfortunately, they equate this with swinging harder. Experience tells us that swinging harder often means bigger hooks or slices, not longer drives. If we want to use that new driver to hit longer drives, we need a smooth swing produced by better techniques.

With today’s emphasis on distance, we often forget that one of the best ways to lower our scores is by hitting chips shots closer to the hole, so that we can one putt more often. While everyone has the potential to be a good chipper, not everyone can master it. If we want to be better chippers, the reminder here is that we have to work at it with specific drills and techniques. Everyone needs to spend time practicing their chip shots because practice makes perfect.

Another important reminder is that the quickest way to lower our scores is better putting. All too often, senior golfers complain that their putting has caused them to shoot higher, rather than lower scores. In many cases, this is caused by not having a putting routine. Here’s three simple things to follow for a sound putting routine:

  • Check your alignment—You can’t make a putt if you’re hitting it to the wrong spot.
  • Repeat the same routine on every putt—I recommend taking two practice strokes, looking at the hole, and then stroking the putt into the hole. Your routine can be different but it has to be the same for every putt.
  • Synchronize distance and direction—Always practice by aiming at a target and hitting that target from different distances.

Finally, remember that golf is not a game of perfect, which is Dr. Bob Rotella’s sage advice. Don’t get mad at yourself when you hit that wedge from 120 yards out into the front bunker. Instead, think of blasting the shot from the trap to gimme range, and moving on to the next hole. We need to enjoy the game by focusing on hitting good shots and not worrying about the consequences of bad shots.

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