2020 has brought uncertainty to many industries, but golf has been uniquely positioned to keep running despite the pandemic. With people looking for an escape from being stuck indoors, the result has been more golfers out on the course than we’ve seen in a long time. Odds are you’re one of them, and whether you just picked up clubs for the first time or returning to the game after some time away, you may be looking for ways to take your game to the next level. Here’s 5 ways you can go from “someone who occasionally plays golf” to being a “golfer”:
Play by the rules
You should already know that golf is a game built on honesty, but have probably been granted some bending of the rules as you learn the game (not that there’s anything wrong with that). If you’re ready to take your game more seriously, you’ll need to start playing the ball from terrible lies, putting out, counting every stroke, etc. I’m not saying you need to memorize the rule book, but you should at least carry a basic knowledge of what you can and can’t do out on the course (the SCGA Rules Hub has great resources to help you get started). Not only will you feel more accomplished for playing the game the right way, but you’ll also get a better sense of where your game needs work. Speaking of which…
Put in work on the areas where you struggle
For now, you may be content with just whacking some balls on the range or getting some exercise out on the course. However, if you don’t actually focus on improving, the game can grow stale quick. While it may be tedious at times, there’s few feelings better than finally developing shots you’re happy with, shooting lower scores, and simply feeling more confident with the club in your hands. You could consider lessons with your local teaching pro, or just get started by watching some of our swing tips.
Play more consistently
As with anything, you’re never going to get better at golf if you don’t keep at it. You’ll likely never have less excuses for not playing than right now, so start making it a habit. Get in the routine of hitting the driving range or playing a round at least once a week and you’ll be shocked at how quickly you progress.
If you’re looking for an excuse to shake things up out on the course, check out the SCGA Member Outings schedule. These are casual, non-competitive rounds at some of Southern California’s most elite public and private courses, at discounted rates!
Track your Handicap Index
It’s hard to feel like your game is improving if you don’t have a tangible method of measuring progress. There are a number of stats you can track on your own game, but the most comprehensive picture of your game comes from keeping a Handicap Index. Your Handicap Index tracks your scoring potential based on the difficulty of the courses you’re playing, plus it will allow you to play against golfers of all skills once you’re ready to compete. (Hot tip: you can start keeping your Index for free for 60 days here.)
Play with experienced golfers
Even if you don’t have the money to pony up for professional lessons, that doesn’t mean you can’t learn a thing or two for free from other golfers. If you find yourself playing with golfers that are more skilled than you, start paying attention to how they approach each shot and what their shot looks like depending on the situation. Everyone’s swing is unique, but that doesn’t mean you can’t emulate aspects from others to improve your own. One of the easiest ways to find groups of experienced golfers is to join up with your local golf club.
Besides, despite generally being an individual sport, golf is a social game and much more enjoyable when you have friends to share in the joys and miseries. Which leads to the last, and most important, step:
At the end of the day, golf is a game and meant to be a good time. Odds are you’re not going to be the next Tiger, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Your journey is going to have some frustrations, but golf is meant to be an escape from the frustrations of life, not an addition to the list.
In case you missed them throughout the list, here’s some resources to help you get started on your journey:
Kevin is a born and raised Southern California golfer. His golf highlights include occasionally breaking 90, losing an entire dozen balls in one round, and sinking a 20 foot putt on camera on the first take. Kevin is a member of Tiny Putters Golf and his current Handicap Index is none of your business.