Lower Your Golf Handicap By Setting A New Goal For Yourself
It’s every golfers dream to lower their golf handicap (GHIN) and play better golf. At the beginning of a new season such dreams can become a reality by taking a few practical steps towards that goal.
First: Find out where you stand by reviewing your past peformance:
Look back over the past season and consider how you did. Questions to ask:
- How often did you play? and where?
- What courses did you enjoy playing?
- Did you do better on a 9 hole course, or an 18?
- How was your short game?
- How was your long game?
- How was it playing out of the sand?
- Is there one area you know is weak and in which you need to improve?
- Is your equipment still the best for your game?
- What about the ball you played? Was it important to your game?
- Did the time of day you played make any difference? or the people you played with?
- Bottom Line: what was your handicap at the end of the season? did it improve from the beginning? Do you even know?
Second: With these answers in mind, set some clear routines for the coming season:
- Every time you play, keep your own score card. Keep track of a few essentials from your round:
- Number of fairways hit
- Number of greens hit in regulation
- Number of sand shots
- Number of putts
- Number of lost balls!
- KEEP YOUR SCORE CARDS so you can see how far you’ve improved at the end of the season.
- Be sure to input your handicap to the GHIN system after each round.
- After each round, evaluate your round – where can you improve? If in more than one area of your game, make a choice: long game, short game, putting.
- Before the next round, focus on that one area and spend some time practicing.
- If you can, get some instruction from your club pro that focuses on that one skill.
- Exercise to stay flexible. Ask our fitness expert for advice if you don’t know what to do.
- Did you have one club that really “worked” for you? Was there a club you found difficult to hit or never used? One you really should remove from your bag?
- Was the type of ball you used for your round easy to hit? Did it feel too hard, or too soft? Did you get the distance you wanted when you did hit the ball well?
Three: Set clear attainable goals for yourself, and track your progress.
- Check with the GHIN website or your club’s handicap system at the beginning of the season so you know your handicap. If they have a printout card that has your handicap score on it, get one and keep it in your wallet.
- Be realistic in setting a new handicap goal for yourself. If you only play once in a while and have little time to practice, then it will be very hard to get your handicap down. But if you play regularly, can devote some time to practice and can get in some instruction throughout the season, then a drop in your handicap score is very possible.
- If your equipment is giving you problems, consider having it evaluated by a pro who knows about golf club fitting. You don’t have to buy all new clubs, but perhaps one replacement for that one club you never use or hate to use is warranted.
- If you love the golfball you are using, great. Otherwise, check out some options. Read the article on ball choice for some advice.
The Bottom Line: Golf, as they say, is not a game you can win. You can only play it. With practical goals your game will improve, your handicap will go down and the game will become all the more enjoyable for you.
May every hole be a birdie!