This is probably a question that you and thousands of other golf players have asked themselves over the years. If only the answer to this question were simple, we’d all be expert golf players! Despite the inherent restrictions of things like “skill” and “ability”, there are actually plenty of ways that you can improve your golf game beyond your raw natural ability. There are no shortcuts and it’ll take a lot of work, but if you follow these relatively simple steps you’ll see your handicap improve significantly.
Take Your Time
One of the biggest mistakes that golf players routinely make, is that they attempt to play a perfect game. For example, you’ll feel more inclined to get your ball down the green as fast as possible. The problem with this approach is that it only really works in a vacuum where you are playing on the same course under the same conditions all the time. The reality is that it is often more productive and efficient to take your time and plan to use more strokes to reach your target.
Sure, this approach means that you’re less likely to get any stunning hole in ones, but it also means that you will take fewer strokes overall then you would if you dramatically overshot or landed in a bunker.
This also applies to when you find yourself stuck in the sand. Rather than trying to get your ball free in one smooth stroke, instead, think about using a few to get yourself out.
Play in Sub-Optimal Conditions
One of the other barriers to improvement that is so often faced by some golf players is that they refuse to play in anything less than optimal conditions. This is a good way to maintain a consistent handicap across numerous games, but it hampers improvement and development as a player. Just like with everything else in life, the best path to getting better is to challenge yourself. Playing in poor conditions or against opponents who are much better players than yourself will drive you to improve your game significantly. While your handicap might suffer in the short-term, the long-term improvements to your ability will be well worth the cost.
Form Over Power
One of my own personal demons when playing golf is fighting the overwhelming instinct to just whack the ball as far as I possibly can, no matter how far away from the hole I am. Obviously, this is not ideal for playing a good game, but it is still surprising to see so many players on the course choose to really put their back into a swing when it was completely unnecessary.
The best approach to golf will always be to put a focus on form instead of power, choosing your strokes carefully and prioritising accuracy. Once you’re consistently hitting the ball directly on target with careful, calculated strokes, you can start to work on improving your power and generating distance.