How to Lower Your Golf Handicap

One of the best aspects of golf is that you’re always trying to improve. That’s why having a golf handicap is so important. It helps you gauge what level golfer you are and gives you a baseline for setting new goals.

As you’d expect, it’s a lot easier to lower your scores when you’re new to the game than if you’ve been playing for several years. No matter where you land on the spectrum, the following tips can dramatically improve your game if you’re willing to invest the time and effort.

Cut Your Strokes with these Golf Practice Tips

Use the right golf clubs

If you’re serious about golf, get fitted for clubs. Regardless of your skill level, having equipment that suits your body and swing can make a huge difference.

Stay fit

Don’t make the mistake of thinking 30 seconds of stretching before teeing off is exercise. You can prevent injury and improve your swing by working on your fitness year-round. Golfers should work on core strength, which can help add distance to your shots.

Visit the golf range

Golf practice and the range should be synonymous. It’s not enough to hit the course as often as possible. Hitting balls at the range helps to form a repetitive swing (and hopefully, a good one!).

Practice your short game

You’ve probably heard plenty of putting tips, but how often do you actually practice your short game? To do so, choose a putting drill and commit to practicing it for 15 minutes before or after every round. Be sure to work on three-footers and four-footers. Also remember that chipping and pitching are just as important to your game as putting. At the range, don’t just grab your driver and start swinging. Pick a short iron—a wedge, 9 iron or 8 iron—and warm up with quarter- or half-swings.

Play alone

We all look forward to the weekly game with friends, but getting out on the course yourself, even for a quick nine holes, can do wonders. With no one else around, you can use the time as golf practice, playing multiple balls on the same hole. Just be sure not to hold up anyone behind you while hitting and looking for those extra balls.

Play many courses

Playing the same course over and over won’t serve you well in terms of your golf handicap. Yes, it makes it easier to shoot lower scores, but that’s likely due to your familiarity and comfort with the course. Challenge yourself by playing different courses when you get the opportunity. This will help improve your all-around skills and give you fresh new greens to play in the process!

Track your stats
You always remember your score, but you may not remember why you played well or poorly. Keep track of hit fairways, regulation greens and putts per hole. Want to get more insight? There are plenty of apps to download that provide shot-by-shot feedback. This will help you determine what you need to work on most.

Once you have an official handicap be sure to maintain it. After all, you don’t want all those putting tips and practice swings to go to waste!