Golfers are constantly striving to become better players. It’s this room for growth that makes the game so fun. Most of the time, you’ll place your focus on ironing out bad habits and forming good ones in your swing form. What you may not think much about, though, is the positive effects that other shifts in your approach can have as well. Take advantage of these ways to improve your golf game without changing your swing to lower your scores further.
Go for Safer Shots
Ambitious shots pay off when you’re able to perform them successfully, but miss them, and you’re in for a lot of trouble. For example, if you focus too much on covering the most distance possible in your tee shot, you might be more likely to land the ball in a hazard or out in the rough. Similarly, you might want to aim for the green rather than the hole when your ball has landed far off to the side in a bunker. It’s sometimes better to aim shorter so that you can set yourself up for a subsequent shot that you know you can hit accurately than to try for a risky play that could land you in a worse position than before.
Know Your Average Shot Distances
You can’t accurately gauge when to go safe unless you have an idea about what your average shot distances are with your different clubs. During practice sessions, measure the total distance and the carry with the clubs you use. Total distance is the amount the ball travels after it comes to a full rest on the ground. Carry is the amount of distance the ball moves in its initial arc from the point you hit it to the point where it first touches the ground. When you know these, you can determine whether you’ll be able to hit the ball over an obstacle, like a water hazard.
Adjust With the Wind
The wind can shift the trajectory your ball takes through the air more than you might realize. It can push the ball forward, backward, to the left, and to the right depending on which way it is blowing in relation to the direction you’re hitting it. You should adjust to account for the wind’s effect as you find ways to improve your golf game without changing your swing so that your ball does not go off course. If you want to hit straight ahead, but the wind is blowing from right to left, you would hit the ball more toward the right than normal to compensate. Arcing the ball high in the air could also increase the wind’s influence on it, so you might try to avoid this or use it to your advantage.