Lowering one’s handicap is, for many golfers, an infinitely more challenging game than any competitive round of golf. It requires you, as a golfer, to explore the ways that your game can improve beyond your natural ability. You’ll also have to face those ways that you’re not yet ready to develop your golf skills. Improvement means practice, but it also means having the proper swing in the first place so that your repetition yields the right results. Even if your “A” game leaves you in the middle of the pack, with habit there’s hope. Here are five ways to support your practice so that you improve your chances — and your handicap.
1. Work on your focus
Behind everything you do in your golf game is your mind. By learning to focus properly, you’ll help your mind to let go of the tensions that pull your swing away from true and add inconsistency to your game. Focus is neither effort nor relaxation; it just keeps you in the zone, letting your well-trained, physically fit body follow your mind’s instructions without question or distraction.
2. Train your swing at the range.
Make sure that you get some help improving your swing from a golf pro or clinic, and then take it to the range and make it stick. Use focus and intention to release the odd tension from your body, and then keep it smooth and consistent.
3. Improve your short game.
For many golfers, the shots add up on the green. By working on your short game, you can dial down your handicap even if your distance game still leaves something to be desired. Your short game can be a bit tedious to work on, but it’s such a pleasure to quit chasing the ball. Then, what about that distance?
4. Improve your overall fitness.
Start with a daily stretching routine to improve your body’s resilience and avoid injury during play. If you’ve put your clubs up for the winter, make sure to start well before you head out for the first round. Take some time at the gym to focus on your core strength, which will help your stability and add distance to your play. Distance is, of course, another important factor in improving your handicap.
5. Take on the varying challenges of different courses.
As a counterpoint to reinforcing your swing at the range, test your training by facing a variety of challenges on new courses where your experience won’t save you.
When you’ve taken these tips to heart and put them to work, you’ll be looking for a new course that provides a good challenge. You’ll want one that’s rewarding to play, both for the difficulties and the pleasures of playing somewhere inspiring. The best golf course in Central Oregon, River’s Edge in Bend, is just such a course. It has beautiful scenery and a few surprises in store that will help you test your new golf skills.