Practice Better-Cut Your Handicap

by : Norman Stanley

When you examine your golf game which you should do on a regular basis what do you concentrate on?

I would be willing to bet it's the drive, and the drive and the drive; got to be longer, got to be straighter, draw the ball, fade the ball or whatever is the problem you see at the time. Stop, consider this, how many driving shots do you make on an average round. Eighteen, and with a driver? Four or five? This depends on where you play of course but driving is only small parts of the game of golf so put the machismo away and concentrate on the finer details.

Ideally, you will be noting down as you play which clubs you use for which shot and the result, for instance, I will have notes such as; PW .L/G,SW/cog/. This means a pitch shot (PW) went left of the green and the sand wedge put the ball centre of the green, I will also add more details on yardages, feet from the pin. You get the idea, this gives me the data needed to examine my game, without this information I may as well forget any hope of improving because if I do not know where the problems are I have no chance of correcting them.

This is on ongoing thing and whilst you should not need to write a book on each shot a few notes will help you pinpoint the areas in your game that need attention.

So, what have I found out? Well the place I waste most strokes is in the twenty to ten yards area from the green. Twenty yards from the green! All the driving practice in the world is not going to fix that. I now leave the driving range alone and hit the practice green for an hour or so and do you know what?

My scores in that area are dropping like a stone. My regular playing partner has done the same process and his weakness was in his putting, so now he takes half an hour on the putting practice green before every round and is cutting his putts down dramatically. No more on the green in two and down in six.

All this leads me on to the point of this article and where you should be spending your time and money, not on the latest square head, adjustable weight make any ball fly straight $600 driver but on the places where you get the biggest bang for your buck; your wedges and your putter.

Find a good set of wedges, most sets will come with a sand wedge and a pitching wedge but to really carve up the course consider investing in a lob wedge, at 58 or 60 degrees the little beauty can save you shots from 60 yards out and with practice, will make the three putt a thing of your past. Phil Mickleson carries up to five wedges now, leaving the driver out of the bag, this is probably a step too far for most of us but it shows the importance he places on this part of his game.

64 degree wedge, anyone?