Most golfers find that their scores reach a plateau after they have played for a year or two. Muscle memory kicks in and meets their physical abilities, which can be both comforting and frustrating. We want to improve, but the game just seems to find our limitations. Fortunately, we can still improve our games and our scores by setting a few goals.
1.Warm Up Pre-Round
I’m big on warming up and doing so at River’s Edge, the best golf course in Central Oregon is practical and comfortable. But before you hit the putting green or chip some balls, do some stretches. Your muscles will work against you if they are stiff and tight. If you don’t stretch and loosen them up, your neck and shoulder area will cause difficulty with your backswing and follow-through.
Another advantage of setting a goal to stretch is that you are more likely to arrive early, unhurried, and you’ll have your mind on the fun of the game instead of how your golf partners are going to feel if you arrive late.
2. Keep Up with the Latest Rules
The rules of golf change regularly, and you should keep up with them because they can improve your game. Did you know that it’s now alright to repair spike marks in your line? How about putting with the flagstick in?
That last rule is designed to speed up play, but I’ve found that having the pin in the hole helps me visualize long putts. Your mileage may vary.
3. Play a Round with a New Plan
If you’re like most golfers, you’ve gotten to a point where you know just where you want to be after each drive at your favorite course. But what if it’s not really the best spot? Is it possible you should lay further back on River’s Edge’s sixth hole before the pond and the waterfall so you can make your next shot with your favorite and more accurate club? Yes, that contradicts most thinking, but how will you ever know if you don’t try?
In the movie, “The Enforcer”, Clint Eastwood famously said, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” And, it takes guts to admit to your limitations, but again, it makes sense to learn precisely what they are. Just because you’ve gotten in the habit of playing a hole a certain way may not mean you are playing it the best way.
4. Take a Lesson with a Local Golf Pro
Admitting we need help is tough but taking a lesson or two never hurts. It’s incredible how quickly a golf pro can improve your game. The last time I took a lesson, my instructor immediately said, “don’t grip the club so tight; it’s not a baseball bat.”
Well, I didn’t think I was, but by gripping more with my fingers than with the palms of my hands, I saw instant results. The pros know more than we do, and that’s a good thing!