How long a game of golf takes depends on quite a few things.
But the short answer is about 4 hours. Single players with an open course can take as little as 2 hours and on a difficult course with a full field, up to 6 hours. Read below for more in-depth discussion.
The average time of a golf round is generally about 4.5 hours (4 hours 30 minutes).
But I've done some deeper analysis of the situation below. Keep reading for major insight.
Most golfers think anything over 4.5 hours is too long to play a round of golf. When you find your golf rounds are taking more than that and going past 5 hours, you really want to look at finding new golfing friends.
If the group in front of you are the problem, hit golf balls into them. It does let them know you're very very serious.
If you've been drinking consistently from the first tee, expect to hit a few more shots especially putts. If you have a good caddy though, they can tell you where to hit the ball on the greens and you just stroke the ball there as best you can.
Generally drinking helps with driving the ball and working out swing problems. It loosens you up for a good long game. Another positive is you will get a very strong tan without feeling it, until the next day.
I find the short game really suffers. Chips and putts are not nearly as accurate.
On top of that, once you do work out the swing problem, you forget how you worked it out especially if you black out mid-round.
Take off maybe 15 or 30 minutes if using carts and hitting in the same area as each other. Add 30 minutes to an hour if you've been drinking.
If you're in the middle of a full field, expect to sit behind the group in front of you forever. Relax, take your time and practice your chipping and putting.
Try to hit golf balls into them or scream at them when you're on the par 3 tee boxes. Just as a friendly reminder of who's in control. This always works - not necessarily being let through but believe me, they'll move quicker.
Or leave. There's always the option of packing it in and getting some beers.
Golf cart golf is very quick if you're a single or in a two-ball. It's usually scoffed at by walking golfers who see you cruising by them in your car. They're just jealous because they didn't think of doing it themselves. Plus there's often a cooler box on the cart so you can keep the beers cold all round long.
Walking is quick but can wreak havoc on your health. Negative side-effects like weight loss, lower cholesterol, reduced risk of diabetes can be expected and if these occur, it's always best to replace lost calories with beer calories.
If you shoot 120, golf will be slower. Unless you pick your ball up after 6 shots and walk the rest of the hole. Then golf is very quick. It's not fun, but it's quick. If you want to break 100 or 90 check out my guide here.
If you're very good at golf and can shoot a 72, golf will be quick. Unless you regrip like Sergio Garcia.
At some point in your golfing career you're going to come across slow play. It's always a challenge to know how to deal with it but here are the general ways I've come across over the last 20 years. They all work to varying degrees and rely mainly on how big your balls are:
Forget the rules of letting the person furthest from the hole play first. That's what's slowing the game down and almost every group of golfers I play with now play ready golf:
Golf can be quick and golf can be slow. Just find a way to enjoy it and not complain too much because it kills your vibe and makes you play badly as well as your playing partners.
Enjoy the game!
Long irons are hard to hit right? I started playing left handed and you can see the video here. I couldn't play with an iron longer than 6 iron - NOT A CHANCE.
But I got myself a 4 hybrid and boom, that changed.
Did you know once upon a time golf iron sets had 3 and 4 irons?
Those days are long gone and hybrids have taken their place which is a very good thing. You'll struggle to find sets with 3, 4 and even 5 irons these days. Hybrids are that much easier to hit in the air that even the pros have switched out their 2 and 3 irons in favor of them. Even Tiger started playing a driving iron during his comeback rounds in the Bahamas.
The benefit to your game as a higher handicapper is two-fold. You'll be able to hit more par 3's in one shot and you'll be able to hit longer approaches into the greens more easily. Actually, we could add that one of the best hybrids for high handicappers might become your go-to club for any tee shot.
First thing you notice in a hybrid is the body behind the face like Jennifer Lopez before she got old. With that extra booty in the back, the face can be made thinner like a fairway wood.
This means the manufacturer can redistribute weight to the sole to get more of the weight under and behind the ball so you can hit it in the air MUCH easier than ever before.
See, long irons are thin and look like butter knives. Most of the time, we think we need to 'help' the ball get in the air because the faces are so flat. The hybrid solves this problem and hitting the hybrid like you would hit your 7 iron is ideal!
Essentially you're getting a shorter shafted, higher lofted fairway wood that is easier to hit than a fairway wood and far easier to control. In today's game, they're no-brainers and if you don't have one, you're really losing out.
The graphite shaft also makes them lighter so you can easily generate enough clubhead speed which is essential to lift a ball off the ground with a lower lofted club.
Long irons (3-4-5) need a bit of clubhead speed to get airborne and really are best suited to mid to low handicappers.
You should look at getting a hybrid if you:
Hybrids generally go a bit further than irons of the same loft. The manufacturers generally put the number of the iron on the hybrid to show which iron it replaces. So a 5 hybrid replaces a 5 iron.
Below is a chart to gauge which loft hybrid golf club to get in relation to your longest iron.
For high handicappers like yourself, I would recommend anything from 19 degrees (3 hybrid) and up. Feel free to have as many as you like. They really will change the way you attack the greens. For lofts lower than 19 degrees, I recommend fairway woods. <<check out my guide on fairway woods here>>
Cobra continue to make even better clubs that benefit the average golfer every year. The Baffler rails under this hybrid have been used by them in the past and actually, surprisingly, do work.
They run parallel to each other on the sole and are intended to glide through turf so you don't get those shots where you hit it a little fat and the iron digs into the ground, leaving a major duff.
This is great news not only for tee shots, but also the trickiest part of hybrids, hitting them off the fairways. The Speedback is easy from the fairway and is a perfect substitute for using an iron out of the long stuff as it glides through the tall grass instead of getting caught like an iron does.
You can literally replace your whole set of irons with the range of Bazooka Platinum Iron woods. They range from 18 degrees all the way to 50 degrees!
Tour Edge are famous for making maximum game improvement solutions especially in the fairway wood and hybrid department. These hybrids promote a high longer and soft landing ball but without the need to dig yourself a deep divot like a pro. If you struggle with arthritic hands and prefer sweeping the ball, you'll love these.
One drawback is that the head shape stays pretty uniform throughout so the shorter hybrids are quite bulbous so that's something to keep in mind. It doesn't affect the ability to hit your shot, just looks a bit weird.
You'll find the Bazookas get great distance on all shots even mishits from thin to fat to off center and slicing and hooking the ball is going to be difficult because these just want to go straight.
Cobra have made this thing very light but placed an internal weight pad low and in the back toward the heel to promote a higher launch and straighter flight. Off the tee, you'll find this one very accurate and forgiving, letting you start going for longer par 4's in two shots.
The best part about these bad boys is they come in so many lofts. You can get 19, 22, 25, 28 and 31 degree hybrids which pretty much replaces everything from 3 iron down to 6 or 7 irons!
Looking down at this club is not distracting at all and the Cobra logo simply painted on the top of the crown makes it easy to line the ball up to the sweet spot and with minimal decal and lines on the face, it looks classic and not full of gimicks. A real simple point and shoot.
This could end up being your go-to club off the tee on tight holes. By making the club in general lighter, you're able to make faster swings with the same amount of effort.
If you want to feel like you nailed every shot, this is the club for you. It's almost impossible to tell the difference between a good strike and a bad strike. With a selection of 17°, 20° and 23°, there's a forgiving and easy to hit solution for you. A 20 or 23 degree would be best for a high handicapper.
The crown of the C300 is quite large and a beautiful matte red satin finish makes you feel confident standing over the ball that there's a lot of club face there to put a good lick on the ball. Low spin rates mean this hybrid hits the ball straighter and on mishits, and with the super flexy face you get mishits almost as long as clean strikes.
The specially designed sole with special holes placed around it makes the face flex even more than usual which generates much faster ball speeds at impact. Remember, this is a higher handicapper hybrid so you can expect it to be a low spinning hybrid which it is.
That means longer shots with more rollout and less back-spin to hold greens but if you play for the extra roll, you're going to love this club.
You can adjust the lofts at the hosel like on the big name hybrids so by turning the adapter in the hosel, you can go up and down two degrees for more loft or less loft.
If you hit the ball a bit toward the heel, this is the perfect hybrid for you. That's where they've set the large sweet spot on the M2 Rescue from 2016. I haven't put the 2017 edition in this list because there's no need to spend the money on a product so indistinguishable from the previous model.
This model goes from 3 iron down to 6 iron so it covers the full range of lofts needed if you struggle with long and mid irons!
The M2 2016 produces a penetrating flight and give you a lot of rollout. What this little club will do is give you that extra oomph to hit those long par 3's that seem to catch you out.
On top of the extra distance, the club is a bit draw biased so it helps to eliminate those slices. If you have a faster swing speed, you'll get the most out of these clubs. The sweet spot feels a bit smaller than other hybrids but overall this is a moderately forgiving hybrid in the game improvement category of clubs.
One major drawback is the sound of the club. Unfortunately while making the face flex more for big distance, by putting in a slot between the face and the rest of the club, the sound just doesn't match the strike and is very muted. If that doesn't bother you and you just want the boom boom, this is a winner.
The HB (Hi Bore) irons are the new Super Game Improvement clubs from Cleveland designed to help beginners and high handicappers hit more consistent shots with ease. We're talking straight to the target and way up in the air. They're almost impossible to mishit.
It's not the first time Cleveland have produced these weird looking clubs. The older Cleveland Altitudes won over a lot of golfers with their extreme forgiveness and consistent ball flight. This style of progressive hybrid and iron combination set's really easy to hit and the only thing stopping most golfers from switching over to them is ego. A lot of golfers want to look like the pros with standard looking irons in their bag.
But if you're struggling to get the ball to fly decent distances with standard irons, these clubs could revolutionize your entire golf experience.
The set starts with a 4 iron shaped exactly like a hybrid and as the set progresses toward pitching wedge, the hybrid back of the club gets smaller until you can't see it on the pitching wedge. The thick sole created by the hybrid design of the irons makes them easy to hit out of any lie. It just can't be stated enough how easy they are to hit.
Cleveland have colored the hybrid back of the irons black to calm down the appearance to give it a more streamlined look because it can be distracting if you're used to standard irons.
Do yourself a favor and try these clubs. You might find they're the most forgiving irons you've ever hit.
I'm a huge fan of fairway woods for low to mid to high handicappers. They glide through the long grass, get you onto greens from longer distances and can take the place of a driver.
But I always find a nagging difference between my 4 wood and my irons. That's where the hybrids come in to save the day. If you have a 5 wood and a 7 wood, you probably don't hit your 4 or 5 iron too much and when you do it's not performing as you'd like.
Hybrids are a complement and not a replacement for fairway woods. They can bridge the gap between your fairway woods and your irons or they can take the place of your irons. There is no magic recipe so look at your distances and your priorities to have a bag with both fairway woods and hybrids to give you an all-round solid game.
I suggest for a high handicapper:
There are tons of hybrids available from full sets to just the replacements for long irons. Either way you can get your game into perfect shape by incorporating a hybrid or three into your bag. The Bazookas are a very good way to get into hybrids as a new player and as you get better, upgrade to bigger brands (if you really even need to).
Are you looking for a golf bag for a push cart with loads of storage?
Do you want enough supplies to live through the Apocalypse if it happens while you're golfing?
Whatever your goal is, you're in the right place. I hope my year-long golf bag debacle will help you avoid the mistakes I made! Keep reading to find out what I did wrong so you don't do the same!
Naturally, my push cart purchase was easy since I love and can depend on Clicgear, but I learnt these two lessons about cart bags...
• Stand bags are awful for golf push carts
• There are two different types of cart bag! Details below
You see, you get bags design specifically for push carts but and also for golf riding carts. The bags for each are quite similar but the design elements are different and having the wrong bag for your push cart can be a real pain in the ass. I found out the hard way when I bought a bag that was made for a riding cart instead of my Clicgear 3.5+ cart.
• The top part of the riding bags extends upward and gets in the way of opening and closing your push cart console.
• The top part of the push cart bag is laid out so that your driver is placed at the top and your wedges and putters at the bottom for easy access to all clubs. If you put a riding cart bag on your push cart, the drivers and fairway woods are at the bottom and putters at the top. The reason for that is a riding cart bag has an angled top to make your clubs accessible from the back of a riding cart.
To put your mind at ease, I’ve selected only the best options made specifically for push carts so you don't go buying yourself a dud.
First, I bought the cheapest stand bag I could find and put it on my cart. That lasted about 2 months before all the zippers broke and the fabric actually came off the club dividers which meant my shafts were clattering against plastic.
The bag also twisted and got out of place very quickly and I needed to adjust it on the cart throughout the round.To make me feel even dumber, when I was loading and unloading my gear, the stupid stand legs were always tangling in my cart! That thing ended up in the trash really quickly. Lesson learned: you get what you pay for and stand bags suck for carts.
Next I bought a more expensive cart bag. That's when I found out about the difference between a riding cart and push cart bag! The Sun Mountain C-130 is one of the best cart bags in the world, but not for my push cart. The angled top meant my putter well was at the top and the wedges would get stuck in the rubberized handles on the top of the bag. It was a nightmare. After obsessive research and trials, I settled on a PING Traverse as the best push cart bag.
The PING Traverse has been designed for us push cart users and you can see it in almost every aspect of the bag.
The PING series of push cart bags is always a winner and the Traverse is a sturdy well-sized bag with tons of storage pockets and intuitive 14 club full length dividers. There's no tangling of clubs and shafts in this beauty.
I love my push cart but one thing that's always bothered me with the bags is the lack of a handle near the top of a bag to place it on the cart. But not with the Traverse and it's one of the reasons I went for this bag. There's a strong sturdy handle on top and a fabric handle at the bottom for extremely easy mounting and dismounting of the bag.
If you're like me you also like your clubs not to tangle and the 14 club dividers mean there's a place for each club. The dividers stretch from the top of the bag all the way to the bottom. PING really designed the layout of the top of the bag to make it easy to quickly spot your club and get it out immediately. No more of those moments where you can't see your wedge and think you've left it on the previous hole!
10 pockets are all easily accessible while on the push cart. Your valuables can be put in a fleece lined pocket while the ball pocket has enough space for even the biggest loser of golf balls. Despite having so much storage space, the bag is very light at only around 5.5 lbs.
The insulated drink pocket can hold a couple of beers and is lined with plastic to stop leakage into your bag. A neat little drain hole in the pocket lets the water out so condensation doesn’t build up.
The bag fits well on push carts and won’t interfere with the use of your console. Accessing your shorter clubs is easy and they won’t bash into your cart and as I mentioned, you won’t need to rearrange your clubs to find your Houdini wedges!
If you do decide to ride, the bag has an area to slip the cart strap through so it doesn't fly off the back.
Sun Mountain are one of the hottest golf bag manufacturers and the Sync is one of the hottest push cart bags around. You won't hear too much about these guys besides in the golf bag niche because they're purely specialists in creating bags designed to please golfers.
You can store practically everything you need in the made in America Sync and you'd be able to survive the Apocalypse while out on the golf course with this big boy.
Eight pockets mean you can store enough balls for days, valuables in a soft material pocket, rain gear, gloves, beer cans in the insulator and if need be, a rifle would fit in the one side. Anyway, you get the idea, this thing holds everything.
15 storage slots mean you have a space for every club plus your ball retriever or to be more professional, your umbrella. So no more flailing umbrella hooking on everything you walk past.
The handles on the side of the bag and on the top make it quick and easy to load and unload the bag with nice balance so you're not doing an arm workout every time you take it in and out of the car.
They've also included a slot for you to slip the riding cart straps through so the strap doesn't interfere with accessing the pockets. That's a nice touch so you can feel comfortable ditching the push cart and riding along with your buddies without an issue.
Good news. If you're a Clicgear push cart user, this is the bag designed specifically for that cart. That's really all that needs to be said, but let's dive a little deeper.
Starting from the bottom, the B3 has a No-Twist Bottom to slot into the bottom of the Clicgear cart so your bag stays perfectly aligned without needing adjusting after a bumpy ride. I also notice that the bag has a slightly lighter bottom perhaps to make it easier to lift the front wheel of the Clicgear cart up when navigating. Or to load up with beer and ice?
Up to the top and you'll find it's been angled so when the bag's on a cart, it presents all your clubs to you without the need to rummage looking for what you need. When you walk, there's also no club chatter so you can play some sneaky ready golf.
Another one from the PING line that blows away the competition. The Pioneer is made of very high quality material in a design that's built to last. You won't need to replace this bag for years!
The really nice big zippers on the bag are high quality with nifty fabric pulls for quick and easy access to your stuff. I also like the velcro pad on the bag to attach my glove to when I'm not using it. I've lost so many gloves by leaving them resting on the top of my clubs. Another nifty little touch is the ring to hook your keys onto. There are few things worse on a golf course than thinking you've lost your keys!
Another neat feature is the magnetic flip pocket for quick access when you've hit 3 out of bounds and holding up the group. The magnet is so strong you don't want to get your fingers jammed in there.
The crazy 11 pockets mean you can store your rain gear, your shoes, rangefinder, valuables and a lot of beer in the cooler compartment. Your umbrella can slot into one of the 15 compartments from the top so there's no more bunching of clubs and umbrella anymore.
I've mentioned only the four best golf bags out there. Of course there are some cheaper options out there and they'll do well for you for a year or two, but both PING bags, the B3 and the Sun Mountain are bags that will last you 10 years easily.
The best golf bags for push carts in order of awesomeness:
Beginner sets don't come with a wedge and it's vital to have a great wedge to get out of bunkers and for chipping around the green.
We're price-conscious for beginners too so we've listed the most value for money options out there.
Forgiving irons that go straight and long are important when you're a high handicapper or beginner. They make it easy to hit the ball on the green.
Take a look at the most forgiving irons to help your game instantly.
Hybrids have changed the game in recent years. They're so easy to hit and are an instant replacement for 2, 3 and 4 irons in the set.
Even pros have put these in the bag in place of their long irons because they're just that effective
Fairway woods are a beginners secret weapon on the course.
They go longer and higher and are easier to hit than drivers. We've found the best possible solutions to hit more fairways and greens to slash your handicap and make golf more fun.
Knowing the distance to water, bunkers, and the green makes a huge difference to your game.
These things are generally expensive but we've sourced the very best budget rangefinders out there.
Are you unsure what to do in a bunker?
Do you get the sick feeling in your stomach when your ball's on the beach?
Scared of skulling it across the green into the other bunker or killing someone?
We all get these feelings when we start playing golf. Bunker shots for beginners are not easy but with a little practice and the technique I'm going to show you, you'll be out of there in no time. In fact, like me, you'll love showing off to your buddies from the sand pit.
I'm going to cover the very basics of bunker play to make it as simple as possible. You can take these ideas onto the practice area or the golf course and hopefully stop hitting bunker shots in the teeth or taking two (or three) shots to get out so we can lower your score!
Bunkers seem difficult because often we aren't taught the right technique. Major problems for hitting poor or inconsistent bunker shots are things like:
• Trying to skim the ball off the sand like a chip (works maybe 1 out of 5 shots)
• Using the wrong club from the sand
• Not following through to complete the swing
• Bounce and the sole width of the club are not fat enough
• Tension in the hands and arms
As a beginner, we want to use a Sand Wedge. This can be a 56° or 58° sand wedge. Lob wedges can be used when you're more skilled but sand wedges have a large amount of bounce and a very thick sole to slap the sand with.
Feet: Align feet left of the target. This can be anywhere between 2 and 10 yards, play around with it in the practice bunker - it's totally up to you and what works for you.
Club face: Open the face and have the leading edge pointing either at the hole or slightly right of it, no more than a couple of yards to the right.
Ball position: The ball should be played off the front foot. You can line it up with your heel or your toe, whichever gets the best result is fine. This will automatically open your club face and set your hands behind the ball.
Hands: Hands should be behind the ball. I also like to grip down on the club with my hands about 2 inches from the top of the club.
Imagine there is a cushion under the ball. It starts an inch behind the ball and extends a couple more past the ball. On the sides, it's an inch wide either side of the ball. Your job is to get the ball delivered to the green on that cushion of sand, like a magic carpet ride, like an engagement ring on a pillow.
When you hit the ball, you enter the sand an inch behind the ball and most importantly you MUST FOLLOW THROUGH. Don't stop the club in the sand. You want to feel like the sole of the club is slapping the sand like a flat stone skips on water. And finish your shot like any other iron shot you hit.
When you swing the club, swing it so your swing follows the line of your feet which is left of the target. It naturally happens for most golfers when you set up for a bunker shot with an open stance, but make sure you swing as if the head is travelling back parallel to your feet line and forward along the same line.
When you hit a bunker shot, you want to hear that thud of the sole slapping the sand. You know you've hit a good bunker shot when you get that sound.
Notice how the club enters the sand behind the ball. Then notice in the second video that my club goes back and through along the line my feet make. And notice the follow through after the shot.
There'll be difficulties learning to hit bunker shots as a beginner. But I promise, if you keep practicing these fundamentals and trust the process, you'll be a proficient bunker player. I've used these steps in my golf for years and love playing out of bunkers. You will too.
Hello Putting Maestro in training - this guide is going to show you how to shave strokes off your game with a few tips, tricks and drills for the putting green. There is no fluff in this guide, just actionable, practical tips to drop that handicap like a hot potato.
But don't worry, this isn't some guide written by a pro that talks about the putting arc and inside to outside - I still have no idea what they talk about. This is a no BS guide to get you draining more putts and having more fun on the greens. I don't want you to change your stroke and I don't want you to buy new clubs. Keep reading to unlock the potential you didn't even know you had.
I'll show you:
These two concepts go hand in hand for the ultimate in easy alignment on the greens.
I draw these on by hand with a Sharpie, but there is a product made by SoftSpikes which you can clip onto the ball so you can draw dead straight lines with a Sharpie. Remember to use a permanent marker because whiteboard markers will rub off.
As you walk up to the green, start looking at where the hole is in relation to your ball.
It's time to decide:
• Is it uphill or downhill?
• Is my ball on a higher or lower tier to the pin?
• Is it uphill or downhill after the ball goes past the hole?
If your putt is uphill, congratulations. You can be more aggressive on the stroke. If your putt is downhill, you need to be thinking about hitting it a bit softer.
Look at the green between your ball and the hole. Try to guess a line quickly. It doesn't need to be highly accurate because you will adjust it twice more in the next few steps.
If you think your putt is right to left, then first mark the ball with your marker that has a stripe on it with the stripe pointed to the right side of the hole. In the picture below, I thought the putt was straight initially so the line on the coin points straight at the hole.
Pick up your ball and stand back to check your alignment and onto the next step. Here's a video I made at the Els Club in Desaru, Malaysia for marking your ball:
Stand back after marking your ball with the striped coin and look at the line you think your putt might take to the hole. You might change your mind about your initial thoughts at this stage. Ask your caddie or use your experience for this step. After you decide on the line move onto the next step.
What you do next is important:
Stand away from your ball so you don't hit it on your practice strokes! Then look at the hole and swing the club back and forth to feel the distance to the hole. You've successfully lined up the ball so you don't need to worry about the line anymore. Just FEEL the amount of power you need to hit the ball past the hole by one foot.
While you do this, actually visualize the putt going into the hole. I want you to see it going on the line you chose and curving into the middle of the cup. You need full commitment to your line and length of stroke before taking your putt.
The feel will depend on uphill vs downhill and distance to the hole. It's always best to hit the practice green before a round and hit a few putts from various distances uphill and downhill to get a feeling for the greens. There is no secret tip to getting the feel of the greens. You just need to practice and keep playing.
Now comes the part you're gonna love the most.
Now you've finalized the line and you've felt the distance to the hole with some practice strokes, you're thinking you can finally hit the ball. Not so quick though my padawan!
Pre-putt, it is as simple as lining up the putter alignment line on the flange to the stripe on the golf ball. But when you putt the ball, there is ONE SIMPLE SECRET I teach every handicap golfer who misses a lot of makeable putts...
It doesn't matter if your stroke is open-to-closed, inside to inside, rounded, straight back and straight through - there is no ONE right way to putt a golf ball. Whatever works for you is perfect. But there is one thing you MUST NEVER DO on putts inside 10 feet...
DO NOT lift your head or even sneak a peak with your eyes on your putts. On lag putts it's okay after the ball has left your putter, but inside 10 feet, you MUST NEVER see the ball going into the cup. You should only hear it.
Remember this: 'Don't look up, just wait for the rattle'
Your head must remain completely still throughout the putting stroke. Your eyes must be lasered in on where the ball is resting. Your eyes mustn't even sneak a peak at the putt going in the hole.
This is MUCH EASIER SAID THAN DONE. You think it sounds easy, but once you hit the course, the anxiety of the unknown takes over and you find yourself looking up before you've even hit it. This is the number one reason guys miss shorts putts and I bet if you can do this one thing out of this whole guide, you'll drain way more putts.
Notice there is no head movement at all below:
You can stand with an open or closed stance. You can swing that putter how you like as long as you get the ball started on the right path. But my one plea to you sir is, NEVER LIFT YOUR HEAD!
Story time: This story has happened countless times when I play in betterball competitions or team matches. I usually pair myself up with a 12 to 18 handicapper while I play off between 3 and 6 handicap. This is a perfect combination for betterball. Back to my point though: like a lot of mid handicappers, my partner, Peter Nader was a consistent 17 handicapper. On a good day he could shoot a 90 with a few pars in there for a respectable day.
But what I noticed with Peter is he couldn't drain anything inside 10 feet like a lot of us when we're off a mid to high handicap. Stroke was okay, but nothing dropped. I did notice he looked up as he putted which meant he missed every putt to the right.
So what did I do after the third missed 6 footer on the 4th hole? I said hey Pete, wanna make more of those putts and win this thing? Take the ball back and putt it again. But this time don't look up at all, just keep your eyes pointed down and WAIT FOR THE RATTLE! I'll watch it for you.
So he makes that 6 footer with ease second time round, but what happened over the next 14 holes was beautiful. He shot an 84, the best score of his life and we won the betterball easily. He was a good chipper, so knocking it close and making the 5 or 6 footer for par made all the difference to his score.
He still remembers that putting lesson and reminds me every time I see him. I've copy pasted this same story with hundreds of golfers during a round and we almost always finish in the prizes. I just love helping guys have fun on the golf course and get that smile when the light bulb moment happens. And I love winning prizes!
Now onto the importance of a solid setup and stance with good fundamentals.
Try to get your left eye as close to directly over the ball as you can. Of course, it's not an exact science but it's very difficult to look at the line of the putt while standing over the ball when your eyes aren't over it.
Try to put your hands ahead of the ball at setup. That means the shaft will lean forward and that's perfect. It's not an exact science either so play with it. You might get good results with hands ahead by 6 inches or by a ball hair. Up to you.
This promotes a forward rolling ball without backspin on it so that the ball doesn't bounce and skid along the green. If it skids, you lose control of the putt quickly.
When putting, only your shoulders and arms should move. There should be almost no wrist movement and your head should stay absolutely still. Your eyes should still be looking at the place your ball was before you hit it after you do hit it. To further eliminate wrist movements, you can put a thicker grip on your putter like the Superstroke.
Your legs should be quiet and not moving at all. There's no weight transfer.
Short putts can be incredibly frustrating. I bet you know the feeling: you've done all the hard work of getting the ball within 4 feet for a working-man's par but your monkey brain takes over and you MUST see if the ball will go in the hole before you even hit it. So you baby it and lift your head and the ball lips out on the right.
Warning: This is a technique I suggest you practice a lot before introducing it on the golf course. If you miss the hole, you could have an even longer return putt!
Fixing one foot putts: Aim center of the cup and hit it hard. Do not lift your head at all. Yes, people do miss these and I've been guilty myself but it's impossible to miss if you go center of the cup with a firm stroke.
Fixing 2 to 4 foot putts: In 99% of cases, it's best to aim for a spot inside the hole. I don't go outside left or right lip for my line on these putts. Then I hit the putt firm so that it hits the back of the cup and negates any break there might be in the putt. Try not to make the ball trickle into the cup, but instead hit the back of the cup.
According to my statistics I keep on my scorecards, I make 94% of all putts inside 5 feet. I really hope you can implement this into your game and enjoy making those high pressure short putts. Just KEEP YOUR HEAD DOWN AND WAIT FOR THE RATTLE! Here is how I hit short putts.
To be aggressive on short putts, it's a good idea to use a short back swing and a long follow-through. In other words, your follow through should be longer than your back stroke. And keep your head down for eternity and wait for the rattle. Check it out below:
Don't be shy to even let the ball slam dunk on short putts when you're trying this out on the practice green. You can experiment there and see just how firm you can hit a short putt without fear and then take your new-found skill onto the course.
In summary here are the key steps for the way I've helped people putt better:
I hope this guide helps you make more putts short or long.
I'm sure we can agree golf is fun! You know what's not fun?
Skin cancer's not fun.
So you've come home again and you're burnt. What's worse than putting your head on the pillow to sleep and a fiery heat and pain scorches the side of your head? Nothing worse than burnt ears!
With the increased risk and of skin cancers as we get older, those long lazy days on the course take their toll without a hat. So many of my golf friends over 40 have had lesions cut out of their skin from overexposure to the sun playing golf.
For you and your family, it's best to wear something on that big dome of yours. This short guide will give you the most effective options to stop your skin turning into a leather handbag and protect you from the punishing UV rays.
I've used every hat out there. I've tried the normal caps and visors. Golf caps still expose your neck and ears and aren't great for sun protection. Visors are a little more useless because there's a hole in the damn thing!
No hat is going to keep you from getting burnt completely. The best options are going to have wide brims and will be made of synthetic materials to keep you cool.
You want to avoid the caps and visors. Visors should be totally avoided if you're thinning up top like so many of us masculine men are.
Also, use a golf hat in conjunction with a good sun cream. Biore Aqua Rich is the greatest sun cream I have ever owned and recommend it to everybody.
The DPC Outdoors Solarweave Treated Cotton Hat is a winner on so many levels.
The fabric is certified 50+ UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) and with the mesh in the top, you'll feel that breeze blowing through and your sweat will evaporate quickly. The top is totally closed so don't worry about the sun coming through the top part.
A built in sweat band will stop your sweat rolling down into your eyes and helps keep the hat in place. For extra security, there is a cord to adjust the fit of the hat.
The bucket hat is always one of the best golf hats for sun protection because of the all-round brim. This Coolibar Matchplay hat has a 4" brim which makes it unbeatable for shading your whole neck and face.
If you pop your golf shirt collar up, you have in impenetrable protection from the sun. It's like having an umbrella on our head.
The hat can feel a little heavy and to be honest, doesn't look very 'slick' or 'professional' but if your main concern is sun protection, this is the best golf hat for sun protection.
Super cool hat that's very light and breathable. This is a multi purpose hat for golf, tennis, running and hiking. You can use this thing everywhere if you're a multidiscipline sportsman.
It's a one-size-fits all and stretches comfortably to fit any head. The ArmourVent is synthetic so when you're sweating your bag off, you won't have a hot head and a soaking wet hat. UnderArmour make top quality products an this hat is no different.
My favorite hat for sun protection while playing golf is definitely a cowboy hat. I like to look like a maverick. The Stetson is a classic
The secret to a good cowboy hat is that is needs to be made of straw or synthetic materials. I've played in many kinds of cowboy hats but found the suede and leather types don't keep my head cool and get very stained by the sweat which doesn't evaporate quickly.
That's why straw or grass hats work best. Wind will blow through the small gaps and dry your head and keep you nice and cool. The brims have wire in them so you can also turn the sides up for a slightly more 'maverick' look.
The Aussies are tough. They live out in the stick and work hard with their hands. They're in the sun all day and they need something to stop themselves becoming leather hand bags.
These hats from Aussie Chiller are perfect for golf and are foldable. I also stuff these into the side of the golf back and it pops back into place when I play after a hole or two.
The Havana and Fedora looks slick. While the brims are not as wide as the bucket hats or the hunting hats out there, the Sunday Afternoons Havana Hat still offers you great sun protection.
On top of looking like James Bond on the golf course, the hats are also crushable so you don't need to worry about your bag crushing the brim or the head part.
I've used these hats countless times and even stuff them in the side pocket of my golf bag.
I like off-beat hats with floral designs or childish designs on them. Most people don't take me seriously on the course when they see my hats but once I hit a shot, they know I'm there to play.
Mix it up. Put your personality into how you dress on the course. I like narrower brimmed hats like the Ralph Lauren bucket and I like them bright.
This hat can just be thrown into the bag, into the car and can be stuffed in your back pocket.
Without a doubt, THE BEST sun cream I've ever used is this one my girlfriend bought me in Japan. Now I live in Thailand and the sun is vicious out here. Since using this sun cream on my face and neck particularly, people don't believe I live in the tropics.
Hands-down my sun cream of choice. I apply it once before the round and keeps my complexion delightful for the full 18. It also softens out the skin and your missus will notice those wrinkles getting shallower.
The best part is that there is no oily residue after applying so you can apply it on the first tee and rip your drive down the middle without needing to wash your hands.
In the end the choice comes down to how you like to look on the course. When I feel regal, I wear the Havana. When I'm feeling like a crazy man, I wear the cowboy hat. But in general, I use narrow brimmed bucket hats like the Ralph Lauren Bucket hat.
In general all of the hats above will be great for sun protection. I would strongly suggest avoiding caps and visors if you want sun protection. Your neck and ears are still too exposed leaving that opportunity for those little cancer spots so many of our buddies have cut out of their faces.
Are you looking to hit it longer so you can hit more greens?
Trying to break 80 for the first time?
Hitting the ball in the wrong fairway?
Do you even know where the ball's going on yuor tee shots?
I've been there. The anguish is real.
But modern technology is here to help. Having unshakable confidence standing on every tee box is easily the best feeling in golf. You just know where it's going and the shape it's taking to get there. It does take time to settle into a new driver but when you do, man...it's electric.
I've found the best golf drivers for mid handicappers right here to get you that same nonchalant feeling. You're going to be hitting it longer and straighter with the right club suited for your swing speed. I'll go through shaft flex as well as loft so you can select the correct one for you to have more fun on the golf course.
It's important to choose the correct shaft flex for your driver. To do this, you need to know your swing speed and as mid handicappers, we have a wide range of swing speeds.
Here's a quick reference to picking a shaft based on your driver swing speed:
70-80 mph : Senior Flex (A)
80-90 mph : Regular Flex (R)
90-100 mph: Stiff Flex (S)
100+ mph: Extra Stiff Flex (X)
You can easily test this at a golf shop or driving range. Most places let you hit in the nets for free because that way they can convince you to buy a driver. I use them to test my swing speed then buy my stuff elsewhere!
Loft is the 2nd most important aspect. Less loft is less forgiving which is evidenced by how much easier it is to hit a 9 iron than a 3 iron.
Your slices and hooks will be even worse with a lower lofted (8 to 10 degree) driver while more loft (10.5 to 14 degrees) means your slices and hooks will diminish and the ball will fly higher and straighter, giving you more carry and hence, more distance.
• Fast swing (100 mph +) and hit it reliably in the fairway, best driver is 9 to 11 degrees loft for extra forgiveness.
• Average swing speed (80-95 mph) it's best to get 11 to 13 degrees of loft for more carry.
• Slower swing speed, it's best to get a driver with 13 or 14 degrees of loft.
Paired with the right golf ball, modern drivers can add significant yardage to your long game. Some guys even notice 20 yard gains. Below are the best drivers mid handicappers.
WARNING: I do not advocate for the hyper-adjustable drivers on the market. While they appear to be 'more value' because you can adjust the settings to anything you like, the problem with them is this very benefit. You're going to be wondering whether you have the right setting every time you hit a drive in the trees.
I prefer making golf simple and making it fun. Removing decision paralysis by setting yourself up with a simple, moderately adjustable driver will serve you well mentally, which is all that really counts. By moderately adjustable driver.
I mean being able to change the loft setting up or down a degree or two, but not sliding weights around the sole of the club. That's where the head worms take over and crawl in your brain, making you question yourself on every tee shot.
Cobra have become one of the front-runners in golf club tech. They now make very forgiving golf clubs that are really aimed at the mid-handicapper, including their brilliant F7 and F8 irons. Their one-length irons are working magic for many golfers.
As with most drivers on this list, the crown is very simple without any flashy graphics or ridges. It's easy to align and it does so without putting you off while standing over the ball.
The name Speedback comes from the apparently aerodynamic design of the clubhead. Truth be told, I don't believe much of the aerodynamic hype out there. But this driver delivers regardless of these buzzwords.
The milled clubface is very reassuring to look down at when addressing the ball. This is half the battle of driving the ball. Feel comfortable. Cobra immediately puts you at ease when sliding this F9 behind the ball on the tee.
What they have done behind the face is also important to the performance. Behind the milled clubface, you'll find they've designed the clubface to deliver better performance where most of us hit the ball on our bad shots.
I personally hit it high toward the toe while others hit it low toward the heel. Cobra has both shots covered by making the sweet spot more elliptical.
You can switch the two weight plates back and forth but honestly, it's fine out -the-box. As with most drivers now, you can adjust the loft up or down to increase height in ball flight or lower it.
The Taylormade RBZ has been so popular over the years, Taylormade just keeps updating it and this update is one of the best, purely because it's no longer white. And it's much cheaper than the 'top range' drivers which retail for $400 and over. My good friend Didi still jams an old RBZ even after trying the Taylormade M5 and M6.
He decided to keep the $500 and play more golf with his RBZ instead.
The top of the crown is nice and sleek with minimal design to keep you focused on the shot and line up easily to your target.
Off center hits go straighter than normal on shots hit low in the heel and high in the toe - less duck hooks and poopoo slices. Not having the fancy weights to slide around under the club really puts your mind at ease knowing that you have no choice but to hit the ball and not worry about what setting is best for you.
Now that's not to say it isn't adjustable. You can still add or reduce loft from the club at address by turning the shaft where it enters the clubhead. Your standard 10.5 degree driver can therefore become 9 or 12 degrees.
The club is very lightweight and if you feel like you need a little extra help getting the club moving faster, the RBZ will add a couple more mph to your swing.
There's a reason the RBZ range is so popular among golfers and it's because it works. No fancy confusing technology, just a simple boom boom machine.
The Wilson D300 has a very tall dominating face and setting up to the ball, it looks like a Cleveland of old. Classic shape and tall face with a massive sweet spot. Definitely in the sleeper category, not many guys will know about this driver and at this price, it's a best kept secret.
The club is light and by light, I mean REALLY light. That might not appeal to everyone but it can definitely help pick up an extra couple mph in your swing. If you're hovering around 85 mph, this little beauty can bring you up to 90 mph and give you a few yards more off the tee.
A 10.5° Wilson D300 means you can adjust the loft to 11.5° and the 13° can adjust from 12° to 14° giving you plenty of opportunity to find the ideal ball flight for you. You can close the face by turning the hosel, encouraging a draw instead of a slice too. A great value driver overall. I really recommend the 13 degree option to give you the upper end of the loft for more carry distance.
From the same manufacturer of Cleveland, comes a very very simple driver from Srixon. The Z series is so good, you can see me jamming it in my latest videos on my Youtube channel. I play the Z785 which is adjustable on the hosel. I haven't used the adjustability which essentially means, I have the even easier to hit Z585 and that's why I recommend this highly for mid handicappers.
The best part of these drivers is how SIMPLE they look at address. There is almost nothing on the crown except a little mark to show the center of the face.
The stock shaft is a Project X HZRDS which is a high quality shaft indeed. The shaft really is the powerhouse of the club and these come fit with a very strong engine.
What I've noticed the most about this club is how on toe hits, the ball actually goes AS FAR AS solid strikes which is perfect for someone like me who hits it toward the toe more often.
The face has no fancy graphics on it. The crown is super simple and the sweet spot sends feedback up your arms, knowing you've hit it in the pantie.
PING has to be the most popular name in amateur mid handicapper golf. This is easily the most gamed club I have seen in guys bags who were NEVER able to hit a driver before. You get the guys who don't play PING and then you get the guys who do, and they LOVE it.
My friend Steve just upgraded to this PING G400 and I haven't seen him hit a driver like that before. He was using a Jetspeed from Taylormade, which he was great with, but the G400 just takes it to another level.
The main difference I see in the G400 and other clubs of the same spec and loft, is the higher ball flight. The ball flight is penetrating and high. It carries much further which gives guys a load more distance with the exact same swing.
There's only a single weight plate on the bottom of the club so you'll never be worried about the settings. The loft can be changed up or down a degree or two and that's about all you need to increase or decrease height of the launch.
PING keep it simple and are really geared toward the mid handicapper in every sense of the word making forgiving irons, forgiving woods and superb putters. On Tour you might find only a couple of guys like Lee Westwood and Bubba using PING, but really, these clubs are not Ferrari, but they're more like Ford, built tough and reliably.
Callaway came out with the Epic, which I owned until it snapped on the back of a golf cart. The Rogue is the upgrade to that driver. Now there is no real reason to go out and get the Epic Flash.
The Rogue is going to be lower in price due to it being an older model which means you can get yourself a bargain of a club and pick up some distance.
You can get this driver in 9, 10 or even 13 degrees which means you can really get some more loft and laucnh the ball higher for more carry. The Jailbreak technology is still in this one as a carry-over from the Epic.
Jailbreak technology is where they've put two pins behind the club face for more stability so you get even more ball speed. I can attest to this being true as I hit the Callaway Epic slightly further than my Srixon I own now.
With so many drivers out there to choose from that are designed to help the average golfer, I hope this cleared up some of the options.
Have you ever shot 43 on the front nine and thought, wow I only need 46 on the back side for an 89!
And what happens next is tragic. You shoot 50 for a 93.
The beer doesn't taste the same. You think about leaving your wife, giving up golf, and becoming the next Jack Reacher.
But what if I could show you how to break 90 in golf consistently?
What if there was a way to hack the game of golf and put up scores in the 80's whenever you play?
Because there is, and I'm going to show you actionable steps to take to actually do it. No theory, all action.
I put together my experience over 20 years on the course as someone who once lusted after an 89 but also as someone who's played countless rounds with guys who want to break 90. The result is this comprehensive guide to breaking 90 in golf consistently.
Anyone can break 90 and in this guide, I'll show you:
There's absolutely no need to make any swing changes. If you can shoot in the 90's, you can also break 90 without changing your swing. What I'm going to show you below are basic fundamentals and tricks that you may or may not have come across before. Good luck!
For years I turned my nose up at this idea. Until I tried it for the first time...in 2016! I'm draining way more putts and feel better off the tee that my club face is aiming in the right direction. This alone will shave 2 or 3 shots off your game if you aren't doing it already.
It takes a little while to get used to aligning the line accurately but pays off quickly.
Draw a straight long stripe on your golf ball to help you aim the ball toward the target off the tee and on the green! [check out my step by step guide to marking and putting your golf ball]
When you tee the ball up, align the stripe down the fairway. On your putts, align the stripe to the line of your putt. Then line up your putter's alignment line with the stripe on the ball. Works like a charm! Now all you need to worry about on putts is the distance control.
Yes. The pros use this same technique and it conforms with the rules of golf 100%. Henrik Stenson & Ian Poulter use it mainly for tee shots. Give it a try. Important: don't take too long aligning the ball to the hole on greens. Don't slow down pace of play.
This can be implemented by anyone and it will yield results:
We'll use this club off the tee on every single hole except par 3's where we might need another club.
160 yards is the minimum but essentially what you want is the LONGEST club you can hit STRAIGHT.
So select any club in your bag that you feel most comfortable with to hit 160 or more yards. The longer, the better of course. This could be your fairway wood, hybrid, driver or 5 iron. Whatever club it is, it must be consistent and straight. You should use this off the tee most often.
Your goal is just to hit fairways off the tee. Because we're looking for bogeys, there's no need to hit the ball as far as possible. We just need fairways with a decent enough distance to clear the rough before the fairway. With this tactic, we'll make bogeys but along the way, a few pars too!
When I was first broke 90, my go-to club off the tee was a 5 wood. It had a reliable shot-shape and I could hit it nicely 95% of the time.
While we're trying to avoid these 30-70 yard pitch shots on the course as much as we can, they'll inevitably happen. So it's best to learn to play them because they'll save you three or more shots per round.
You select the club you prefer to use. It can be a Lob Wedge, Gap Wedge, Sand Wedge or Pitching Wedge. Whatever you perform best with. I like to use a Sand Wedge or a Lob Wedge.
This will take some practice but there's a great way to learn how to judge these shots and build confidence. The system is based around the arms of a clock.
Below is Dave Pelz, the short game guru on how to actually do it. It works - I've been using this system for the last 10 years and this one technique took me into the single digit handicaps. In the video he talks about using this for all your wedges, but don't worry too much about using multiple clubs for now. Learn to control the distance with one wedge first. We want to simplify this as much as possible.
Find two clubs you know you can hit on the green from 150 yards or less. Just two. And the choice is up to you - whatever you like the most!
Mine are my pitching wedge from 120 to 130 yards and a gap wedge from 105-115 yards.
I may hit it longer or shorter than you, but that doesn't mean a thing. If you can hit almost every green with an 8 iron from 120 yards and pitching wedge from 100 yards, that's perfect.
You're going to use these two clubs for your final approach shots to greens. For instance, you might have 240 yards to the green after your drive on a very long par 4. You know you can't reach so what we're going to do is break the distance into two shots.
You need to be thinking 'how can I place my ball so that I hit my FAVORITE iron into the green for my 3rd shot?'
For example what I did in the video you'll see below was take a 240 yard shot and think 'I love hitting my pitching wedge from 120. 240 yards is two shots of 120 yards! Perfect! Two nice pitching wedges irons and I'm on the green. This works MUCH better than a 3 wood into the rough and a difficult 50 yard pitch shot from the deep grass!
Warning: Be prepared: people will think you're weird, but guess what - you're going to break 90 this way baby! Without question. Split your long approaches into shorter approaches and watch your partners crumble in front of your eyes when you break 90 easily!
Three-putts are score killers. Everyone can two-putt. It's just a matter of some practice. Hit the practice green after work once or twice a week for 30 minutes to an hour and you'll see your scores dropping.
Our aim is a PFP - Putt For Par. We just need to get onto the greens with a putt for par regardless of the distance from the hole. So if you can make one or two for par, that's a bonus. But be happy with a two putt bogey every time as well!
Golden nugget: Inside 10 feet, keep your head down forever. By this, I mean you strike your putt and don't even look up at the hole - keep your eyes like lasers on the point where your ball was resting.
Don't even see the ball going in, just listen for the rattle of the ball in the hole. This will help you make those pesky putts you always push right or leave short. It takes a conscious effort and a lot of discipline but works like a charm!
Here's a drill I highly recommend for lag putting that I used when I was trying to break 90.
Select a club you like to bump-and-run chip with. By that I mean a club you can consistently get onto the green and get it rolling to the hole. The flop or lob shot is too difficult and inconsistent for guys trying to break 90 and you'll skull and fluff too many.
I've always loved the pitching wedge to chip with and I've used it as long as I can remember. Select yours and practice with this one club whenever you can on a chipping green or even at home. Check out the practice routine in the practice section below.
Golden nugget: Remember the goal of chipping is not always to chip it CLOSE. The goal is to get the ball on the green. That means no dropping the toiletry bag and leaving it short of the green with another chip on the way. Be aggressive enough to GET THE BALL ON THE GREEN SOMEWHERE!
Something that is overlooked is the pre-shot routine. Think of when you take a shower. Maybe you start with a rinse, then in this order you wash your hair, ears, face, arm pits, do a little twirl with your arms in the air, then its onto the front, sack back and crack then the bottom of your feet.
Now if you don't do it like that one particular day, you might feel a little weird - like you've forgotten something and it'll be on your mind all day. That's the same thing with a pre-shot routine. It helps you to be at ease and forget anything else besides this next shot.
But not all pre-shot routines are created equal.
Swashbuckling flamboyant 'just-because' swings of the club are pointless. When you perform your pre-shot routine, have a super clear vision in your mind of the shot you're about to hit. Always have a plan in your mind. Always envision the shot and the shot thereafter.
I only realized I had this problem in 2015 after playing golf for 17 years. I just swung practice swings without any purpose like Jack Sparrow with his sword. Can you believe that? Don't be like me. Be better!
Below is a great explanation by Rick Shiels about pre-shot routines.
You'll notice in the explanations below that all you need to break 90 are the 5 shots I've suggested above whether it's long par 4's or short par 5's.
These holes are all reachable in one shot if you're playing off the correct tees.
You should look to be on or near the green on par 3's. Be happy with bogeys here and be sure to get on the green in one or maximum two shots. On long par 3's look for a safe bail out area where if you miss, you'll have an easy chip onto the green and then purposefully hit it there.
Don't be a hero and go for the green if you can't reach. A bogey is not a bad score!
Shorter par 4's are your target to try hit the green in two shots. If a par 4 is only 300-350 yards, you can hit it on or around the green in two shots. If you practice hitting the club we selected above for tee shots, you'll be in positions to hit the short par 4's in two.
On longer par 4's try to be on the green in three shots. For example on a 450 yard par 4:
A couple of the par 5's will be reachable for you in three shots. Try to hit one or two of them in three shots. It's not always possible but when you see a par 5 that's 480 yards, that's only 160 yards per shot and you can definitely reach that!
There's no need to boom drivers either if you're not accurate.
I took everything you've read above and put it into practice to show you how to break 90 with some tips and fundamentals along the way. It's about 20 minutes long. You'll find some tips and instruction in the video and I believe if you follow similar steps and work on the keys to breaking 90, you can do it within a few rounds.
Each shot was recorded once and no retakes were allowed. I shot it in Malaysia at the Kukup Golf Resort.
My tee shots on all par 4 and par 5 holes: SIX IRON (175 yards)
My favorite approach shots: PITCHING WEDGE (120-130 yards) & GAP WEDGE (105-115 yards)
My chipping club: PITCHING WEDGE
My pitching club: SAND WEDGE
Remember your selections from the previous section? Take only those clubs to the driving range. Try find a grass driving range because the artificial turf gives you good shots even if you hit the ball fat.
Here's an example (remember these choices are up to you):
Armed with only these 4 clubs, go to the driving range and run through a full 18 holes on your home course. Tee off with a vision of the hole in your mind and use the driving ranges flags or signs or fairway to identify where you need to hit the ball to 'hit the fairway'. This is way more fun than just beating balls like a robot.
Remember: Take your time on each shot throughout your imaginary round. Do your full shot routine. Take a 2 minute break between hits. Don't ever rush your driving range time. Consciously program the feelings you are getting from the shots and actually feel your confidence building up inside you.
Corniest (but most effective) driving range tip you'll ever hear: When you hit a good shot on the driving range with one of your 4 clubs, pretend to take that shot inside your hand and then deposit it into a pocket in your golf bag like fairy dust so you can take it out the bag on the golf course when you need it. I know I sound like an idiot now, but try it! It actually works!
Go to your local range, golf course or golfing mecca and practice your chipping and putting. If you don't have any of these things, practice in your yard and if your yard is too small, practice in your house and if your house is too small, take a break for two weeks, then give up golf completely:
If you've made it this far, well done. Because the next few concepts below will make the biggest difference to your score. You WILL break 90 by following these guidelines.
So important and impactful in fact, you may be shocked just how many shots under 90 you end up shooting. Check out these important concepts highlighted in red below:
You probably could've broken 90 already if you played off the correct tees!
How do you know which ones to pick? There are a couple of ways to select your tee box:
Average drive distance multiplied by 28. So if your average drive is 230 yards, a challenging length of a course should be 230 yards x 28 = 6440 yards maximum.
You can go 5% higher or lower. So a range of between 6000 to 6700 yards. You won't be able to match the yardage to a set of tees exactly, but close enough!
If there are too many par fours over 400 yards on the course you play, move up a tee.
Fuhgeddaboudit! Hey man, stay strong, it's your game and you're there to have the most fun. No one minds if you play off shorter tees during social rounds! If you're in a good mood because you're enjoying your game and that makes it more fun for the other guys, they really don't care. But if you're playing poorly and getting in a bad mood off the longer tees, then it'll make it more unpleasant for them
Those 300 yard drives the guys boast about? The pitching wedge that goes 160 yards? Those are unicorns and they might hit 1 out of 20 that distance. Scale back the ego and learn how far you REALLY hit your clubs MOST OF THE TIME. With your rangefinder or GPS watch telling you the distance, you can select the correct club and hit more greens.
This is such an underestimated factor in playing better golf. I can't stress enough how important it is to hit enough club on your approaches to lower your score and break 90 and even 80. Many guys use that one perfect shot they hit to gauge their club distances and never revisit their calculations.
If your perfect 7 iron goes 175 yards but you hit it 165 yards MOST OF THE TIME, then use 165 yards as your 7 iron distance. By using the 175 yards, you handicap yourself by very often being 10 yards short of the target which means more chips, more bunker shots and higher scores. You'll need to do this for every club in your bag but once you get past the dent in your ego, the better scores make up for the pain, believe me.
I was always the guy who scoffed at a rangefinder. I was pacing the distances and guessing but then I played with my friend Dietmar who uses a rangefinder. I double checked my distances and I was always off and sometimes by 10 yards. That explains why I was always one club short of the green and chipping all the time.
How to use it:
From the tee: measure distances to bunkers and hazards and select a club you can swing fully without worrying about reaching them.
From the fairway: measure to the pin and measure carry over water by shooting the bank. Shoot to find the distance to the front edge or carry over bunkers by shooting the lip with the rangefinder.
Calculate your distance: You can also shoot the rangefinder from where your ball is, back to the place you hit from to get an accurate gauge of the distance. This is incredibly valuable information. Scorecards and distance markers can be off depending on the day and your rangefinder will give you 100% accurate distances.
Armed with this info, you can adapt and learn your game as you go. Without this knowledge, you're doomed to keep repeating the same errors in selecting clubs and hitting less greens.
Another option is to get a golf GPS watch that has a feature to count your distance as you walk. Something like the Bushnell NEO-Ion is a good choice.
The difference between an enlightened golfer and a frustrated golfer is this one concept. You need to be thinking about the shot AFTER the shot you're hitting. This means you should be thinking where the shot you're hitting is likely to end up, and what you'll do after that. Below are two quiz questions to illustrate this:
Before we can answer, you must know your favorite club to hit into a green. It's important to understand which is your favorite iron for approach shots and from what distance. I have two: pitching wedge from 130 or a smooth 53° Wedge from 100-110 yards.
Now that you know your favorite club, hit a shot that will make your next shot the distance to the green where you can hit that favorite club.
So instead of booming a fairway wood 180 or 190 yards and leaving yourself a VERY difficult 40 or 50 yard pitch, rather put yourself into a position to hit the best club in your bag onto the green with confidence! The results will astound you.
In the picture above, I would hit my pitching wedge 130 yards and then hit my 53° wedge onto the green. I am so confident with it, I can almost guarantee I'll hit it to 10 feet or less.
For you it might be a 6 iron followed by an 8 iron. Or a 5 iron followed by a sand wedge. It's totally up to you, but find the club you love to hit into greens and if you find yourself in a position where the green is out of reach, split the remaining distance into two shots, leaving your favorite shot into the green!
Answer: Aim for 'A'
If you aim at B and hit it short or with a fade, you'll end up in the bunker and that's a nasty bunker shot. Aiming at C means you can hit the ball other side of the bunker and need to chip over the bunker to get onto the green. There's also a chance of hitting it in the bunker. Too much danger!
Aiming at 'A' means you can leave it short or even hit a draw and be in a position to chip the ball with a lot of green to work with and the ground is flat to the left without a big drop off like the right side. If you hit a little fade, the ball will land between your target and the pin but a straight shot will also be on the green just a bit further away. There is no danger hitting it at 'A' and is the high percentage play. You'll probably hit the green and two putt or chip and two putt for a bogey. That's all you need to break 90!
Golden nugget: Play for your shot shape but always aim to a position where even a straight shot won't be in danger and never hit a ball toward a hazard. So in the picture above: if you hit a fade, you aim at 'A' and if it fades, it's in a good spot. If it goes dead straight, it's still in a good position.
How many times have you addressed a golf ball and thought 'this isn't enough club' or 'this just feels like too much club'?
These little thoughts destroy your game because you hesitate when swinging and don't take a confident swipe at the ball.
It's essential, vital, paramount to have a vision in your head of what your shot will look like and what the result will be. If you're not sure where the ball is gonna go, redo your pre-shot routine and GET THE VISION! Then say to yourself 'this is the right club and it'll land on the right side of the green where I can putt for a birdie'
Golden nugget: When you have any thought in your mind other than the shot you're playing while addressing the golf ball, step away and reset. This takes discipline and is difficult to do at first but the benefits are amazing. Start implementing this strategy today!
Common thoughts that make me step away:
Simply back off, go through the pre-shot routine again and focus on the shot. Get a different club if you're not sure. Wipe your sweaty hand on your towel. Whatever it takes. It only happens a few times a round, but avoiding these bad situations where you hit a poor shot through lack of concentration will help you break 90 quicker than you thought possible.
If you ever play golf with me, you'll see me take another pre-shot routine and talk to myself out loud because my first one was a pointless swinging of the club like a fool. I take another two swings imagining a nice high fade with the driver and I say out loud, 'that's the one I want, let's hit that shot, easy' and 90% of the time, it comes out how I want.
100% of shots I'm not committed to end in disaster. Without exception.
It doesn't matter if you're a scratch golfer or a newbie, committing 100% to every single shot is the key to great golf.
Warming up properly and making a good swing from the first tee is vital to get a good start and break 90. Being 8 over par after 4 holes sucks and is difficult to come back from.
Take 5 balls onto the practice putting green and hit putts to holes from 20 feet away. Keep hitting the putts to different holes until you can consistently stop the ball within 2 feet of the hole.
Then take the same three balls and place them in a circle three feet from a hole. Make all the putts without missing any.
Take 5 balls and hit chips to a couple of holes. Try to land the ball on a particular spot and get a feel for the greens. Don't worry about being highly accurate - we just want to get our eyes and hands working in unison hitting the ball onto a spot on the green.
You probably sit at a desk all day and have turned into Quasimodo like I did. Don't tee off with cold Quasimodo muscles - warm up any way you know how because you know it's going to take you 4 holes to warm up properly. No good! I used to do it and it meant I was playing catch-up for 14 holes to shoot a good score.
If you have a driving range at your course, hit 20 balls. Hit four shots with each of the following in this order:
1. Your favorite wedge x 4
2. Your favorite iron x 4
3. Your favorite hybrid x 4
4. Your favorite fairway wood x 4
5. Your first tee shot club. You should stop hitting when you hit a perfect shot with this club even if you have balls left. Take that positive feeling to the tee.
After you're done, take 10 to 15 minutes to perform the following stretches and movements. This is exactly what I do before golf. If you have no driving range available, just do the stretches.
This is one of the most important ideas on this list and essential to breaking 90. The only way to break 100, 90 or 80 is to never count up your score until the end of the round. You can keep score but don't add it up halfway, in your head or otherwise. Just wait til the clubhouse and add it up there.
Neither I, nor any of my golfing buddies have broken through a score barrier while counting up the strokes throughout the round.
I broke 90 and 80 on the same golf course - a par 70. Breaking 90 is a mental barrier and when you've done it once, it happens more and more regularly. Choosing a course with a par of 70 means you can shoot 19 over for an 89. That's two extra strokes you can take compared to a par 72 where you need 17 over to break 90.
This isn't a requirement, but a simple idea that could help you get over the hurdle.
We all have our best golfing buddies and some of us are lucky to have good players as buddies. But often we get stuck playing every round with guys who aren't interested in progressing.
If your golfing partners are not as good as you, I highly suggest finding a group to play with sometimes where you're the worst player in the group. It doesn't have to be a huge difference in skill level but at least guys who shoot mid-80's every round (10 to 15 handicappers).
You might think better players don't want to play with higher handicappers, but that's not true. We're all a brotherhood on the golf course and with a good attitude and fun chit-chat, we'll play with anyone.
Playing with better players will let you take a bit more time on your shots, because the other guys do. You'll care more about each shot, because they care about their shots. You'll notice how they approach each hole and how they score in the 80's which will rub off on you and you'll be shooting mid 80's in no time.
If you have a matchplay competition league in your area or in your club, join up. You'll be forced to play against other people to progress in the league but the other golfers will be in your handicap range so they'll be moderately better or equal to you. The extra focus and determination when competing against other guys will improve your scores.
Do you get tense on the golf course? Do you grip the putter with white knuckles or wring the club's neck? Tension kills tempo and accuracy - both of which you need to get below 90.
A quick tip to relieve the tension is to have a relaxing habit. That can be putting a tee between your teeth to relieve jaw tension or it could be chewing gum to get the neck muscles and jaw loosened up. Find yourself something that will relieve tension on the golf course for those days when you're feeling extra edgy.
Before you even get to the course, you're probably thinking, 89 is just 17 bogeys and 1 par on a par 72 track. That's the advice everyone gets. While it's true and you should understand that, it's not really a strong mental game plan. We'll show you later how to use that idea to create an on-course strategy.
The best tip to get in the zone is to attach no value to the end result. It's difficult but the easiest way to break 90 is to have fun. Enjoy chatting with your buddies. Have fun being away from the women. Just immerse yourself in the golf experience and realize how lucky you are to be able to enjoy this hobby.
Golf Zen moment
"The detachment from desire to score will get you the score you desire" - Golf Sidekick Buddha 2017
Isn't it strange how we get to the ball deep in trouble and think we can hit it on the green through a small gap in the trees? I mean trees are 80% air, right?
But 95% of the time, we screw it up and have a blow out hole. If you want to break 90, you need to eliminate blow out holes (doubles or worse). If you find yourself in the trees, just get the ball out to a place you can play the next shot easily.
Try get on the green and make a putt or 2 putt for a bogey or maximum double bogey. Triples and quadruples are killers! Always look for the easiest most obvious route and silence that inner Seve Ballesteros!
"A golfer becomes what he hates. If a golfer trying to break 90 says 'damn another bogey, man', he himself will become a bogeyman" - Golf Sidekick Buddha, 2017
Yes. You only need a club that you can trust to go straight and hit the fairway. The only requirement is that the club can carry 160 or so yards to get you onto the fairways. In fact, it's easier to shoot 90 with a hybrid, 5 iron, 7 iron, wedge and putter than with 14 clubs. Leave the driver at home if it doesn't put you in a good position 90% of the time.
According to the USGA, 59% of golfers play off a handicap of 15 or below. That is usually someone who can break 90 consistently. But that's handicapped golfers. If we include every golfer that plays more than 5 times in their life, I would estimate only about 40% of golfers could break 90 in their lives. Unless of course, they follow my guide. Then I think 80% of you can!
If you can shoot between 90 and 100 you don't need a lesson. Lessons can be great value to teach you how to do things properly, but if you can hit a golf ball in the air every shot, all you need to do is practice, use the techniques and tips I've given you here and check out some more guides I put together like the putting, chipping, pitching, using the driving range and fitness guides.
I would actually say getting fitter and more flexible will improve your golf equally as much as practicing the shots.
Please leave a comment with any other tips you've found to improve your game and if you disagree with anything I've mentioned here let me know. Good luck and enjoy shooting in the 80's.
The golf course is scary. You have to wear certain clothes, worry about etiquette and rules and always be conscious of slow play. It's really not the best place to learn to hit a golf ball!
A driving range is perfect for beginners to learn how to hit a golf ball.
I'll give you actionable steps to actually learn to play golf instead of the usual theoretical stuff you find all over the place loaded with jargon. Let's get down to business...
The glossy golf magazines are the number one reason you'll fail to improve at golf because you'll get shiny object syndrome and want to try every new trick in the book.
I know, I was there. The day I stopped reading those filthy magazines was the day I started playing good golf. No more negative thoughts in my head or trying a new way of swinging because I saw David Leadbetter or Butch Harmon's latest attempts at screwing up my swing in Golf Digest.
My suggestion starting out is to get the timeless and incredibly valuable book below:
Despite being published in 1957, it's highly relevant to modern golf and the starting point for a lot of good golfers. I started the game in 1997 loaning this book book from the library. Instantly I saw my game take off to register my very first handicap of 21. After following the principles of the great Hogan's book, I was a 9 handicap in two years with very old hand-me-down golf clubs.
Follow one teacher and learn only from him. Bouncing around to new instructors will mess you up quicker than a marriage to Tiger Woods. Hogan is a perfect start.
You'll learn the key elements of a golf swing from this book. The 5 keys are:
Going to the driving range is fun and whacking some balls can really de-stress you, but doing it wrong can make you feel worse! Our vision is to make golf fun for you whatever level you play at so below we've outlined how to use the range to get better while still having fun. You'll be able to take what you practice on the range to the course and blow your own socks off and have some serious fun.
This is an excellent video to teach you the basics of the grip. In the Ben Hogan book above, you'll find a similar lesson. I seriously encourage you to get the book so you have a hard copy with you as a golf bible.
You should put in 30 minutes a day for one week working on the grip. That's how important this is as a fundamental.
In Ben Hogan's book, you'll find an illustration like this. The ball gets closer to your body as the club gets shorter. Your stance also narrows as the club gets shorter.
A lot of teachers will tell you to move the ball progressively further back in the stance with the shorter clubs but this complicates so many things. As a beginner we want to simplify your game for maximum enjoyment!
Take your stance and place the top of the grip an inch above your kneecap. Let the club rest on your knee and the club head on the ground. The ball should be placed where the club head is resting on the ground. That's an easy way to know how far to stand from the ball.
Eventually your body will recognize the right distance from the golf ball and you can stop actually placing the club on your knee. It may take a few months, but you'll get there. I did.
This is a perfect illustration from Hogan's book of the ideal set up. You need to work on having a relaxed setup and posture.
Very important is to not hunch your shoulders forward like Quasimodo. Your weight should be on the balls of your feet, just behind the big toe and not on your heels.
Once you master the grip, stance, ball placement and posture, you'll be seriously enjoying golf. Follow Hogan's simple instructions and forget about the other noise you hear from people at the course or your friends who think they know everything about golf.
I've played for 20 years and this setup and ball placement is the easiest
It's not easy to align your body and golf club to the same target. You might feel like you're aiming correctly and you probably are but not correctly for golf!
See, what happens is most golfers aim their feet at the target. While the club face must aim at the target, you actually want to line up your feet parallel to the line of your club face, like railway tracks.
Notice the blue disk in the picture. That is a point along the line from the ball to the target that you can easily align your club face to. It's difficult to aim your club to a target 200 yards away, but by selecting a dot or blade of grass a few feet from the ball will make it much easier.
So on the driving range, we recommend you lay down two golf clubs parallel to each other. One should point just right of the target and the other should point just left of the target.
Select a spot a foot or so in front of the ball to aim the club face and make sure your feet align with the club closest to you. This drill will do wonders for your alignment and confidence!
If you want to be fancy, you can get some alignment sticks to use on the driving range. They're usually bright in color, lightweight and easier to align than clubs. I always used clubs but after receiving bright orange alignment sticks as a gift, I changed my mind and realized how much easier it is to use them.
Once you're comfortable with the grip, posture, ball position and alignment, you probably want to whack as many drivers as far as you can! Slow down there partner, we need to build up to it. Once again, learn the fundamentals of a sound swing from Mr Hogan in his book above.
Most golfers are self-taught and usually ingrained with terrible habits they can't remove.
If you can afford a lesson or three, go see a pro to get your fundamentals set. It's a great investment to build the foundation for the rest of your golfing career. If it's a little steep for you, you can still learn this game without the help of a pro. I played off scratch for a while in my 20s and have only ever taken one 15 minute lesson because I forgot how to hit a driver.
Don't try murder the ball on every shot. This leads to terrible shots, frustration and blisters. Use a 75% effort swing and focus on hitting down on the ball and hitting the ball before the ground. This is easier said than done but once you get the hang of it, you'll start hitting longer and nicer feeling shots.
I suggest hitting range balls with only a pitching wedge and a 7 iron. These are 2 of the most common clubs you'll hit on the golf course so get confident with them first. The pitching wedge has a lot of loft and is easy to hit giving you plenty of confidence hitting the sweet spot. Seven iron is a little more difficult to hit but probably everyone's favorite iron in the bag.
Start the bucket off with the pitching wedge and hit a third of the balls always focusing on a smooth and easy swing. Hit the next third of the bucket with only a 7 iron. Finish off the balls with another round of easy pitching wedges.
DO NOT RUSH! The worst thing you can do for your progress is rush your sessions at the range. Take your time. Take up to 5 minutes between shots if you want to. That's what it's like on the course where you're waiting for other guys in front of you and in your group to hit. Put the cell phone away and forget about the wife and kids!
Once you're confident with these clubs, start introducing the others from your bag into the range sessions.
A pre-shot routine is what you do right before you hit. It starts from when you pull that club out your bag.
From that moment, you need a little routine that gets you into the mindset of hitting a shot. You must have something that makes you feel comfortable and centered. The importance of the pre-shot routine can't be underestimated!
This takes me no more than 15 or 20 seconds. If I don't do it before every shot, I hit a bad shot. Pre-shot routines get you in the comfort zone to hit the ball well - kind of like a brain association game.
Always aim to have an efficient pre-shot routine that isn't excessively lengthy so you don't slow down the pace of play.
With these few steps containing a few tips and drills for beginners on the driving range, you'll be able to maximize your efficiency and really start to hit better shots. You'll build in confidence and that confidence will translate into better scores and more fun on the golf course.
Like I said earlier, get your hands on the Ben Hogan's book on the Fundamentals of Golf and watch your game improve dramatically!
So you've got the book by Ben Hogan and you want to hit the range. There are two types
A grass range is always preferable. You see the real result of your shots. At an artificial turf range you are able to hit the ground before the ball and still get a good result. If you're concerned about that, start off with the artificial turf range and once you get a feeling of how to get the ball in the air consistently, move onto the grass range.
Clothes: Wear whatever you like because there's no dress code.
Pay for a bucket of balls from either a cashier or a vending machine.
Take the bucket and your clubs to a hitting bay and hit the balls onto the driving range. Easy.
Safety of others is always the number one concern. While some people think it's funny to hit golf balls at driving range employees picking up balls, imagine being in their position. When someone is picking up balls, aim anywhere but at him. Pick a club that won't reach them.
Try to pick a bay near the ends of the driving range so you can feel comfortable no one is watching you. This also means you can hit without endangering others with some of the crazy shots you'll hit as a beginner!