Building consistency is harder than it seems

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I won’t sugar coat it, in my opinion, golf is the hardest sport in the world.

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Hitting a 100mph fastball is attempting the impossible, but being a great golfer may be even harder especially for the recreational golfer. Becoming a consistent golfer takes a lot of time and anyone with a full time job knows, there are only so many hours in the day.

So I have complied a few tips to help you become a little bit better than you were last week and hopefully this will allow you to reach your goal of becoming a consistent golfer and possibly win some vacation time from your boss the next time you hit the links.

Alex Noren of Sweden plays a shot during the first round of the Dubai Desert Classic at the Emirates Golf Club on February 4, 2016. AFP PHOTO

Here we go with this week’s Golf Tips:

The long layoff
Of many golfers like myself, you go a week or sometimes even longer between rounds. Or if it is this wonderful Ohio weather, you may be forced to stay away from the links for a week or two. I won’t even mention winter. So next time you go back to the course after a long layoff, make sure you do a bit of practice before you begin your round. Be sure to concentrate on the little things like your grip, stance, posture and setup. Work your way out on the putting green starting with short putts moving out to the longer putts. Make sure you concentrate on making solid contact on your chips instead of hitting it to a target. The more confidence you can build up when starting again after a long layoff, the better you will play. Be patient, getting your game back after a long layoff could take a few days or even weeks depending on how much you play. Do not expect to play like a pro your first time out.

Build consistency
If you are like me, you will pull out an amazing shot out of nowhere then follow it up with a nice bladed sand wedge or a chunky pitching wedge. Your scores go up and down more than gas prices. So if you are like me, you need to build consistency. The best way to do that is to keep things the same. Have a pre shot routine, keep the same grip, swing speed, stance, posture and mindset. If you can keep as many things as possible the same, you will find you will have more consistent scores and ball striking. But only keep the part of your game the same that yield good results. If you do the same thing every time with bad results, you are only hurting your game. Work on making small changes until you find that perfect and comfortable swing. If you have trouble remembering how you did something, take a pocket notebook out with you and write it down. Make not of any small change you made that produced a good shot. Then go through it before you head out for your next round and focus on keeping those changes.

Know your numbers
A lot of golfers prematurely decide the distance on their clubs. Such as a 9-iron should go 150 yards. Then when they have that perfect 150-yard shot and they pull out that 9-iron, they come up short and wonder why. Stop making it all about the numbers on your club. Focus on the kind of lie you have, how is the wind, what is the elevation to the green? Take in many other factors other than yardage when deciding what club to hit. If you find you have been hitting a club a little shorter than normal, go up a club. No one will make fun of you for hitting a 7-iron from 150 if you stick it by the pin and birdie the hole earning a little skin money in the process. Stop letting pride get in the way of letting you become a better golfer.

Learn from the Ladies
For the recreational golfer, most of the ladies on the LPGA Tour have swings and games that are more related to their own. On the men’s tour, the field is filled with tall guys who kill the ball 350-yards straight down the fairway. If you are one of those people, you may want to stop reading, go get a sponsor and try out for the US Open. The ladies on tour have very good mechanics that are easy to recreate into your own swing. They have great balance, rhythm and tempo. They also have some of the best accuracy of any golfer out there. You can learn a lot more from watching the ladies play beautiful rounds that mostly relate you how you play rather than watch the men put your game to shame.

Strike it well
Becoming consistent starts with striking the ball. The more consistent you are in ball-striking, the better off you will be. Start with a very effective drill. Hit the driving range and go to a grassy part. Take two tees and place them six inches apart at a 45-degree angle with the front tee pointing forward and to the left. Place your ball between the tees and hit shots from that position without hitting the tees with your club. To do this, you must develop a slight inside-out swing creating a perfect swing path. As you swing more and more, you will find that this is the best way to hit solid shots and avoid slicing the ball. Practicing this way every time you go to the range will help you become a more consistent golfer.

Finish your putt
In a lot of leagues and especially when you are playing with your buddies, it is never uncommon to hear, “Ah thats good. Pick it up.” While a gimmie is always nice, go ahead and finish out the putt. One thing that does and proves to yourself that there isn’t a lid on the hole and you can make putts. Plus it helps you work on your putting stroke and can help you when you have a challenging 10-footer to make. Do not rush when finishing off a 2-foot putt. Go up and make sure you take a solid, consistent putting stroke and finish off the hole. You are old cheating yourself by picking up a challenging short putt just because your playing partner told you to. Plus the golf ball dropping into the hole is one of the best sounds in the world.

TNS

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