How to Lower Your Handicap

By Steve Silverman

Once a golfer understands the basics of the game--the grip, the stance and the swing--he should feel confident that he can play a respectable game every time he steps on the course. However, the process of improving takes a series of adjustments--and those adjustments have to be constant. You have to continue to learn about your game, and you have to pay particular attention to the course you are playing and your scoring opportunities if you want to lower your handicap.


Difficulty: Moderate
Step 1
Take note of where the hazards are on the course. Every time you are on the tee or have a long fairway shot, the idea is to hit the ball down the center. However, you may notice that one side of the fairway may be stacked with hazards, such as trees, water or bunkers, while the other side may be relatively hazard-free. In those cases, take advantage of the terrain and make sure you err on the side of the hazard-free side of the course.
Step 2
Use a gap wedge and a lob wedge for your in-close approach shots. To improve your scoring and lower your handicap, take advantage of the technology and use those high-loft wedges. The gap wedge should be used on shots from 50 to 80 yards, and the lob wedge can be used on any shot under 50 yards. These clubs will give you a better chance of sticking your approach shots much closer to the flagstick.
Step 3
Keep your hands ahead of the clubhead on chip shots. When chipping, keep the ball low and straight. By keeping your hands ahead of the ball, the angle of your clubhead on impact will be closer to perpendicular, and that will keep the ball on course.
Step 4
Post up when you are on the tee or facing a long shot from the fairway. Keep your front side firm and don't bend your left leg at any point. Your left leg will support your golf swing at the moment of impact, and if you are wobbling or bending your knee, you won't get all you can out of your drive.
Step 5
Putt the ball without hesitation. Get behind your ball and take a look at the path your ball will travel as it rolls to the hole. Walk up to your ball and take one practice swing. Then hit it. Taking more than 15 seconds and attempting three or four practice swings will throw you off track and could lead to anxiety before you putt.

Tips & Warnings

Go to the driving range to work on your swing and mental approach at least three times per week.

About The Author

Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who's Better, Who's Best in Football -- The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.


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