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10 Ways to Lower Your Golf Handicap

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Knocking strokes off your golf handicap can be a daunting task. I've listed ten easy ways you can reduce your golf handicap by a couple strokes below.

Keep a Positive Attitude

There's nothing more frustrating than hitting a bad shot. For me, I especially get frustrated when I hit the ball out of bounds. It's important to keep a good positive attitude when on the golf course to avoid making more mistakes. When you play with a negative attitude it takes your focus away from your next shot and increases the likelyhood of hitting another bad shot which is where many golfers "Blow Up" and end up taking 8's and 9's. Keep control of your game and don't let yourself get frustrated. Afterall, It's just a game, right?

Play Smarter

I know it's fun to pull off a miricle shot or try to drive a reachable par 4 green but before you consider the shot you should always weigh the consequences first. Ask yourself the question "What is the worst that could happen if you don't pull off the shot?". If you might end up pulling the ball out of bounds or in a hazard you might want to reconsider the shot. You can't always get to the green in regulation but sometimes you might be able to lay up and salvage par or bogey.

Count Points, Not Strokes

Good scores come from a cummulation of good shots. Instead of focusing on the number of strokes in a round, I've found it to be helpful to count the number of good shots instead. When I play a round, I've created a points system designed to keep track of your overall performance shot by shot instead of for the round as a whole.

Fairway Hit from Tee 1 pt
Green in Regulation (GIR) 1 pt
Up / Down for Par 1 pt
Par or Better 1 pt
Three Putt -1 pt

Recover

Hit a bad shot? No need to worry, just make sure your next shot is good so you can recover from your mistake. On most holes on the golf course you can still get par if you just lay up and then get up and down. There's no need to be too aggressive and try to force a very difficult shot. Sometimes the best play is the safest.

Join a League

By joining a league or playing in a weekly group you'll ultimately have a reason to go out and play. By playing more frequently you'll start feeling more comfortable playing and can focus your attention on other areas of your game.

Learn the Rules

Sometimes knowing the rules can be to your benefit. Say you hit a bad shot that ends up rolling 50 yards off the tee into a thick cut of grass. Under rule 28 of the USGA you may declare the ball unplayable at any time as long as it's not in a water hazard. You may be better off reteeing the ball and landing 3 in the fairway then you would trying to dig the original ball out of the grass.

Learn from the Pros

I'm not talking about expensive lessons with your local PGA professional, although that would work as well. What I'm talking about is watching golf tournaments on TV. A lot of times during these televised events the commenters will analyze the pros swing in slow motion and draw lines on the screen so you can see how a pro hits the ball. Pay attention when the commenters do this. A lot of times you can learn something about your golf swing.

Know your Game

Knowing your strengths and weaknesses on the golf course can definately help lower your handicap. Keep track of your stats in order to determine where your game is the best and where it could use some improvement. Once you determine these areas go out and practice them.

Learn the Course

Knowing the course can definately help you improve your golf game. By knowing which side of the fairway you want to be on you may have an easier time approaching the green. Knowing the greens helps too as you can strategically position yourself below the hole for an easy uphill putt as apposed to being above the hole and risk three putting.

Practice

Practice makes perfect! Although, make sure you get good use out of your practice. If you just go to the range and hit the driver everytime, you may not be focusing on the right part of your game. Hit several clubs on the driving range. Learn how far you hit different clubs and work on shaping your shots for different types of shots on the golf course.

Article by: Jay Seigneur - June 27, 2012

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