All golfers are looking to improve their games and get to the next level. The difference between professionals and amateurs, however, is that most pros are reaching at least, most of their potential.
Amateurs like you and I, however, are cursed with families, day jobs, home repairs, making time for the wife and jury duty, etc.
Alright, fine, not all of these things are curses (except the home repairs and jury duty) per say, but they do keep us away from the course, away from the range and away from fulfilling our full golfing potential.
That being said, there are always ways for folks like us to get better and tap into a little more of that potential.
Here are 15 tips to help you become the best golfer you can be:
15. Master the Takeaway
If I told you that the takeaway is the most important part of you golf swing, would you believe it? You should — I mean, it stands to reason. Your takeaway dictates what’s going to happen with your swing the rest of the way. A bad takeaway can create problems in an otherwise fine golf swing.
To keep those problems from happening and manifesting in a bad shot, PGA teaching professional David Brown is here to show you how to become a master of the takeaway.
14. Choosing the Right Grip
It’s impossible to understate the importance of your grip when it comes to being the best golfer you can be. Ben Hogan said it and thousands of golfers after him have reiterated it. Of course, there’s more than one way to grip the club — and that’s where this tip comes in.
PGA teaching professional John Mason is here to help you pick the right grip for your game and, in turn, improve your game from standpoint you may not have thought about before.
13. Eliminate Body Rotation, Add Clubhead Speed
It might sound counter-intuitive to stop rotation to increase clubhead speed — but NASCAR analysts are also forever talking about “slowing down to go fast.” Eliminating rotation to add clubhead speed isn’t exactly that, but it is a way for players who may not have the range of motion they think they have to increase speed.
PGA teaching professional Zach Allen is here to show you exactly what he means and how you can add more clubhead speed to your swing.
12. Control the Speed of Your Putting
Putting is the single most important aspect of the game — and the one amateurs pay the least attention to. Putting comes down to two things: speed and line. Without good speed, the will won’t matter. The three keys: grip pressure, same tempo and length of motion.
PGA teaching professional Rick Sessinghaus is here to explain the importance of those three key thoughts to help you control the speed of your putts.
11. Stay on Plane!
Something a lot of amateurs struggle with is keeping their swing on plane. For many, the thought of planes and being on the right or wrong one is a difficult concept — but when you see it illustrated, it’s a simple one to understand and see how it affects your golf swing.
PGA master professional Alison Curdt is here to show you what it means to stay on plane.
10. Against the Wind
When you don’t get to play golf as often as your like, it becomes imperative that you get used to playing in less than ideal conditions. That means learning what it takes to be your best — rain, cold, wind or whatever mother nature has to offer.
PGA professional Scott Mahlberg is here to help you play better when the wind starts blowing.
9. Improve Your Weight Transfer
One of the most difficult things for amateurs it to make an efficient weight transfer during your swing. If you do it wrong or not at all, you’re never going to be able to hit the golf shots you want. Improper weight transfer leads to all sorts of bad shots and almost never yields the outcome you were expecting.
PGA teaching instructor Craig Freeman is here to help you get your weight shifting correcting and get your scores coming down.
8. The Chop and Roll Chip Shot
If you’re going to get better fast, you’ve got to get good around the greens. So many players struggle with getting the ball close and leaving themselves makeable par putts after they’ve missed the green with their approach. Being a bad wedge player isn’t quite a golf death sentence — but it will feel a bit like life in prison if you never get better.
San Diego State’s head women’s golf coach Leslie Spaulding is here to show you a new shot around the green that could save you strokes.
7. Better Course Management
The mentality of most amateur golfers seems to be, “hit it as far as I can and then hit it again and then hope it’s close enough where I can make par.” That mentality, however, isn’t going to make anyone better. You’ve got to learn how to manage a course. You’ve got to know where to miss, where not to miss, how pin placement should affect your approach shots and more.
This tip from PGA teaching professional Rick Sessinghaus was originally aimed at juniors, but course management is something that is utterly invaluable for all golfers.
6. The Correct Way to Release the Golf Club
A lot of players with good swings never quite reach their full potential because they fail to release the club properly. With everything else in their swing looking good, they lose all that good will by failing to release the club.
PGA teaching professional Phil Machamer is here to show you how to fully and properly release the golf club and unleash your full potential.
5. Learning Through Analysis
Not playing golf often leads to inconsistency — it’s just a fact but if you pay attention to your own game and stay diligent about keeping stats, your game will improve.
Roger Gunn, Director of Golf Instruction at Tierra Rejada Golf Club, is here to show you how important it is to analyze your shots and learn what you can expect from yourself every time.
4. Eliminate Golf Course Distractions
PGA Tour players and elite athletes talk a lot about finding the zone and being able to block out all noises and distractions on the course. Amateurs have no idea what that feels like and probably never will. Remember the scene in Happy Gilmore where Kevin Nealon is telling Happy to harness the energy and block out the bad? To feel the flow? He was talking about “the zone.”
PGA pro Rick Sessinghaus is here to help do for you what Kevin Nealon couldn’t for Happy Gilmore.
3. Become a Great Lag Putter
As an amateur golfer, we’ve already established that consistency is tough to come by. Usually, that means that when we hit the green with our approach, we haven’t exactly stuffed it, as they say. We’re probably looking at a putt of 30 feet or more and because of that, it’s an absolute necessity to be a good lag putter.
Geoff Dean, Director of Golf Instruction at Escena Golf Club, is here to help you stop three-putting from long distance.
2. How to Fix Your Wedge Troubles
There’s nothing more frustrating in golf (besides maybe a lip-out) than hitting a bad chip shot. It’s generally a short shot that, mentally, you perceive as being tough to mess up. However, that couldn’t be farther from the truth — especially if you’re using a wedge. The margin for error is so slim that it’s actually easier to make a mistake with a wedge around the greens — but you can’t be good at golf if you don’t get good with your wedges.
PGA teaching professional Paul Bucy is here to help you find some consistency with your wedges and bring your scores down.
1. Look at the Hole, Not the Ball
If you’ve watched any golf on TV this summer, you’ve probably heard golf commentators talk about the way Jordan Spieth looks at the hole when he rolls short putts. This isn’t anything new, but it could be a great new thing for you to try with your game. As far as I’m concerned, if it’s good enough for Jordan Spieth, it’s good enough for you.
Coachella Valley PGA teaching professional Peter Klug is here to show you how doing what Jordan does can help you reach your full potential.