Golf is a relative game, but still a competitive one. Whether it is prestigious tournaments, local club matches, or just competing with how you played last month, golfers are always looking for a way to measure themselves against other golfers. For many, a handicap provides this measurement. Which begs the question – what is a good handicap?
I think the answer goes beyond just a number, so here we’ll take a look at what a handicap is and add some context to create a better answer.
While commonly called a handicap, the USGA’s official terminology is a “Handicap Index.” The purpose of the handicap index is to give a measure of player ability relative to par. One of the unique things about golf compared to other sports is that the handicapping system allows golfers of different ability levels to compete against each other fairly.
It’s a fantastic thing if you think about it; after all, even if I’m given 20 points in a game of one-on-one basketball with LeBron James, I’m still going to lose. Give me 20 handicap strokes in a match with Tiger Woods, though? I might be competitive, making it a challenge for both of us. (author’s note: If you’re reading this Tiger, that’s an open invitation)
A player’s handicap index is different from their average score. Instead, the handicap index looks at recent scores and adjusts based on the course’s difficulty, expressed in the course rating and slope, two numbers that appear somewhere on the scorecard. Rating and slope are judged by a review committee, which determines what a 0 handicap index “scratch golfer” would usually score on the course and assign that as the rating. The USGA Slope Rating is a numerical value that indicates the relative difficulty of a set of tees on a golf course for a bogey golfer compared to a scratch golfer.
So score performance along with course difficulty goes into generating the handicap index. Instead, it is better to think of the handicap index number as what you can reasonably expect to score on a good day. Especially for golfers who play frequently and post many scores, what they shoot for a given round can be significantly higher than their handicap index.
Now that we’ve explained a bit about golf handicaps in general, let’s get back to the main question, what is a good golf handicap?
The most straightforward answer to what a good handicap is might be found by merely looking at the percent of golfers by handicap. Fortunately, the USGA gives this data for all golfers with official handicap indexes. Also, multiple shot-tracking companies are now sharing this data publicly, which offers a good opportunity to capture an audience that might not have an official USGA handicap.
So, if we want to define a “good handicap” based just on having a lower handicap index than most other golfers with indexes, we answer a handicap lower than 14 for men and less than 28 for women. Here are handicap distributions for men and women in the United States:
However, this answer gets more complicated if we try to use a “good handicap” synonymous with a “better than average” golfer. Only around 2 million of the estimated 24 million-plus golf participants carry a handicap index. It’s reasonable to assume that players who do have an official index are both more avid and perhaps more skilled on the whole than golfers who don’t. Fortunately, modern technology has given us more data on the question as many golfers are using apps to keep their scores and statistics outside of official indexes.
Here is what the distribution of handicaps looks like for Shot Scope users:
With a strong plurality of users in the 11-15 and 16-20 ranges, we wind up with a very similar distribution compared to the official USGA index statistics.
This theme remains consistent if we look at the current handicap range for users of theGrint:
In this case, the average handicap across users was 14.5, similar to the USGA information and just lower than Shot Scope. Another interesting data point we can pull from theGrint that’s not available from the USGA is a breakdown of handicap by region:
Outside of a few strange outliers, we can see a general trend in this information. Golfers in year-round golfing climates tend to have lower handicaps than short-season counterparts. So a good handicap in Maine might not be the same as a good handicap in California.
Additionally, even as we increase the amount of handicap data, we still cannot equate a “good handicap” to a “good golfer” as the vast majority of golfers won’t be using services like these. At this point, I think we have to add to the question. Instead of just asking, “What’s a good handicap?” we should be asking, “What’s a good handicap for an avid golfer?”
Even that question is missing a critical variable, so let’s look at that next.
One outlier in the average handicap by region data above that caught my eye was Florida. Florida is world-renowned for golf and a year-round golf destination, so why is the average handicap higher than fellow Southeast region-mates like Georgia? A possible explanation might be that the average golfer in Florida is significantly older than other regions given the high number of golfing retirees in the state. So how does age impact the average handicap? Unfortunately, the USGA doesn’t publish official handicap index statistics by age, but we can get some data from theGrint once again:
While I would question if the average 19-year-old is really a single-digit handicap (we’ll have to save vanity handicaps and sandbagging for another article), I believe the trend lines tell us an understandable story. Junior golfers who haven’t fully matured yet have higher handicaps on average than adult golfers aged 20-50. As we get older and the physical ability to play golf diminishes the average handicap increases. Now, instead of asking, “what’s a good handicap?” we probably need to ask, “what’s a good handicap for an avid golfer my age in the region that I live?” That’s not a question that most golf websites will have an easy answer for, but if you really want to know, then some of the data sources above should at least give you an idea if you really dig into them.
Still, I think the real question we are trying to ask with “what’s a good handicap” isn’t about the handicap index at all. Instead, we’re trying to figure out if we’re a “good golfer.” That is something I think we can give a clearer answer to.
It might just be my opinion, but I firmly believe that if you consistently break 90, then you have earned the right to call yourself a good golfer. The majority of golfers will never accomplish this, so even if the average USGA official handicap index is carrying male golfer scores a few strokes better than this on a good day, it is still a significant accomplishment to shoot 89 or lower.
For those of you who frequently break 90 already, congratulations! However, if you are always seeking to break 90 (or break 100 for that matter), I want to give you some good news. It is also my firm opinion that any golfer (playing the correct set of tees at a regulation course of appropriate difficulty) can break 90 through practice and proper course management. The Practical Golf Archives would be a great place to start as the site is filled with information that can help you achieve this goal. You can also find great additional resources among other readers in the Practical Golf Forums, a community dedicated to helping everyone enjoy and play “good golf” regardless of what their handicap index card says.
Cory Olson is an avid golfer and writer for Practical Golf, a website dedicated to being an honest resource for the everyday golfer who is looking to enjoy the game more, as well as improve. He is passionate about all parts of the game, from equipment to training, and especially the mental aspects of performing your best on the course.
When faced with a difficult hole, golfers often decide between hitting their driver or 3-wood. The conventional wisdom is that taking a shorter club will result in more accuracy and give you a better chance of posting a lower score. However, with modern analytics, we are starting to discover that many assumptions we’ve made about the game are just not right.
In this article, I’m going to share with you the following:
I think many of you will be surprised by the results!
Performance-tracking companies have helped dispel a lot of myths over the past few years.
Shot Scope, a Scotland-based company, has a popular GPS tracking system used by thousands of golfers worldwide. As a benefit, they can spot trends in their database based on millions of golf shots (you can read my review of their V3 system here).
Recently, I got a hold of their findings on golfers’ use of driver off the tee versus their 3-wood. The conclusions are interesting and dispel some commonly-held beliefs about accuracy.
The first table explores how far golfers hit each club by handicap level:
On the whole, you can see that at every handicap level, golfers are giving up distance with a fairway wood off the tee—nothing surprising there.
Here’s where things get interesting. Let’s take a look at fairways hit:
At every handicap level, golfers were only able to hit about 1% more fairways with their 3-woods versus their driver. You would think if fairway woods were that much more accurate off the tee, the number would be significantly larger.
And now, we can arrive at the critical calculation. If golfers are not more accurate with 3-wood but are giving up anywhere between 20-30 yards in distance off the tee, they are making it harder to score. I’ve used this image before from Shot Scope, and I think it’s worth another look. When you sacrifice about 30 yards off the tee, you lose almost 1/3 of a stroke per hole. That adds up!
One last point I’ll make is that hitting into the light rough is not as significant a penalty as most assume. It’s worth the equivalent in distance between the two clubs. That is why I’ve written before that sometimes golfers overvalue the importance of hitting fairways.
As a whole, we have been focusing too much on lateral dispersion (left to right), and not taking into account distance as much as we should have.
Understanding the fundamental differences between a driver and fairway wood is also essential. Every golf club has tradeoffs in performance, and it’s part of the reason we see the trends in the data.
Luckily, I’m good friends with one of the top clubfitting experts in the industry – Woody Lashen, the co-owner of Pete’s Golf in Mineola, NY.
When I shared the Shot Scope results with Woody, he wasn’t all that surprised. Based on his knowledge of how each club is designed, and the results he sees daily in fittings, he believes that a 3-wood is no more accurate than a driver when used off the tee. One of the reasons is that fairway woods are not designed to be exclusively used off the tee. When they fit golfers, their primary goal is to have a fairway wood that performs effectively when used on approach shots, which is what the club is mostly designed to do. However, he cautioned that there are exceptions, which I’ll get to later in this article.
From a design perspective, Woody spoke to me about the concept of strike patterns and MOI. Moment of Inertia (MOI) is a term you’ll often hear when describing how “forgiving” a golf club is. Without getting too complicated, MOI measures how resistant a golf club is to twisting at impact. When a golfer misses the center of the face and hits the toe or heel of the club, the clubface will twist open or closed. The result is twofold – the ball with travel farther offline (due to gear effect) and lose distance.
Woody told me that most modern drivers have about 2-3 times the amount of MOI compared to a 3-wood. That means that when a golfer fails to hit the sweet spot, a driver can help the ball travel farther and straighter. When you factor in the smaller face of a fairway wood, and golfers who generally struggle to strike it consistently, it’s not a surprise that a driver can produce straighter shots overall (or equivalent) off the tee.
Another concept that Woody spoke about is dynamic loft. Generally speaking, when you have more dynamic loft at impact, it helps produce a straighter golf shot. While he hasn’t tested extensively, his suspicion has always been that a driver and 3-wood have a very similar dynamic loft at impact when used off the tee.
Overall, Woody (like me) always urges golfers to test. Some players could hit a 3-wood straighter off the tee than their driver, but based on his experience, that golfer is an exception to general trends.
To give all of you more context, I decided to put my fairway wood against my driver. I’ve been custom-fit for both clubs (by Woody Lashen), so the shaft/head combinations are optimal for my swing. My results won’t necessarily indicate what you would experience, but my goal is to get you to experiment on your own and figure out the answers in your golf game. You can also check out my testing on irons versus my driver in this article.
For the test, I set up a very difficult fairway on my launch monitor. I also set the turf conditions to firm to be even more challenging to hold a ball in the fairway. I hit 25 shots each with my driver and 3-wood. Currently, my handicap index is a +.3, and I consider myself an above-average ball striker.
I’m paying attention to the following data:
Here are my pertinent stats with my fairway wood:
Overall, I’d say these results are pretty poor. The one thing I noticed is that my mishits with my fairway wood suffered quite a bit in terms of distance and accuracy. When I did miss a fairway, some shots went only about 225 – 230 yards total. If you look at my dispersion in both directions, it was more erratic than my driver – a couple of major “foul balls.”
Here’s where things got interesting. You would assume that my fairway wood would be more accurate than my driver, but it wasn’t the case.
Here are my driver stats:
It wasn’t a surprise that my driver went about 30 yards farther than my 3-wood, but my dispersion was tighter, and I could hit more fairways. Usually, when I do these tests, my driver dispersion is about 65 yards, so I would say this is an above-average session, but I didn’t see any evidence that my fairway wood could outperform on accuracy.
As a reminder, you might see different results. But I would say these are consistent with what I notice on the golf course. Generally speaking, I only use my fairway wood off the tee when I am looking to decrease my distance (if the driver would bring penalty areas or other big trouble into play). I believe this is a strategy most golfers should employ as well.
The aggregate data from Shot Scope and my launch monitor results paint a reasonably clear picture. Hitting a fairway wood off the tee does not seem to produce more accuracy, and combined with the loss of distance, it doesn’t seem like the right strategic play. You have to take into account the loss of distance and weigh that against your left-to-right dispersion.
However, every golfer is unique. You all have different tendencies with each club in your bag. You might be more erratic with your driver, and a 3-wood could keep you out of big trouble. The goal of this article is two-fold:
Often, our memories and the truth don’t match up very well. You might assume trends in your game are accurate based on what others have told you, or based on your hazy memory of rounds. This is where performance-tracking comes in handy.
Using a system like Shot Scope to track all of your shots can reveal trends in your games. You might find the same results – that your driver is more accurate than you think, and your fairway wood is not the solution on difficult tee shots. Or it could be the opposite. You won’t know until you gather enough rounds to see your trends.
Launch monitors can also benchmark your performance to give you more information to make smarter decisions. More and more teaching golf professionals are offering these sessions to golfers to figure out trends amongst their clubs.
If you’re interested in discussing further, join the conversation in this thread in our new community.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve become less focused on how my swing looks holistically and more focused on how it looks around impact—what Bobby Clampett called “the moment of truth.” Specifically, I’ve homed in on the concept of face stability—that is, the ability to deliver the clubface with the intended alignment at impact. I’ve been blessed/cursed in the fact that I’ve always had elite clubhead speed. Even today, at 40 years old, I average around 117 mph with the driver. At that speed, however, even a slight misalignment of the clubhead at impact can send my ball deep into the trees or even out of bounds. I’m convinced that learning to have more control of my club at the bottom of the swing is one of the keys for me to break through from being a middling state amateur to competing in national events.
For the past nine months, I’ve made significant improvements in my clubface stability using the Tour Striker PlaneMate
. But like many swing aids, I have found success using it in a slightly different way than its makers intended. Let me explain.
The PlaneMate is marketed as a tool to help you shallow the club on the downswing. Shallowing helps golfers keep the face stable through impact—to be honest, I’m not quite sure how, but it seems to be a generally accepted principle among swing instructors.
Here is a video from Andrew Rice explaining the concept further:
I’ve always been quite steep on the downswing, so the PlaneMate seemed well-suited to help me improve my clubface stability. A former college teammate of mine recommended it to me last summer. I sat on the fence for a few weeks as it is not cheap (it sells online for just under $200). But I was hooked after I saw a video of Rory McIlroy practicing with it last winter.
— The McIlroy Legion (@RoryLegion_GC) October 7, 2019
My ultimate goal when I bought the device was to learn how to “exit right”—the left-handed equivalent of leaving impact with low hands that rotate to the right around my body. Traditionally, I “throw” my clubs down the target line, which leads to a very “flippy” release.
If ever a device would help a golfer get the feel of shallowing out, the PlaneMate would be it. It consists of what is essentially a weight-lifting belt with a rail glued on to it. You attach your club to the rail using a stretchy cord (think resistance band or bungee cord).
When you get to the top of the swing, the tension in the stretchy cord pulls your hands down into a shallower position on the downswing. As you turn through impact, the device encourages you to “exit left” (for righties). If you throw your hands down the line you get tangled in the cord.
When you take the PlaneMate
off, your muscles retain the feel of shallowing, thus (in theory) helping you continue the movement pattern without the device. The device comes with three different bungee cords—a short one for wedges, a longer one for mid-irons and woods, and a “heavy-resistance” band made for home or gym training without a ball. The teaching professionals behind the PlaneMate offer a free, online 7-day protocol to help familiarize new users with the device. The protocol requires the golfer to start with little chips and pitches and progress over the course of a week to full shots.
Here is a demo of how the PlaneMate is used from its inventor, Martin Chuck:
The device is bulky and slightly ungainly. You will look a bit like what the Australians would call a “golf tragic” with it on (think Tin Cup in the scene after Costner develops the yips).
So if you’re an image-conscious golfer, you may want to work on the protocol at home with indoor golf balls so none of your friends can mock you on the range. Personally, I’m of a belief that golf is so hard there should never be any shame in experimenting with new ways to get better!
I followed the protocol to the letter and continued to practice with the PlaneMate for many, many hours after finishing it. But in the end, I found that I couldn’t get the “shallowing” movement pattern to stick.
As soon as I start adding speed to my practice regimen without the PlaneMate, I revert to a steeper downswing. Perhaps shallowing is just too foreign to someone who had swung differently for so long. I am tall with short arms, so perhaps my body just isn’t biomechanically suited to a “shallow swing.”
Perhaps I have physical limitations and inflexibilities that prevent me from shallowing— I have very limited internal shoulder rotation with my trail shoulder thanks to an old tennis injury, for instance. But whatever the reason, despite all the hours drilling with the device, my downswing is no shallower than it was when I started. So, despite all the hours invested in the PlaneMate, I’ve given up hope that it will help me learn to shallow.
I still feel the PlaneMate has done wonders for my game. The key has been the ingenious feature whereby you become tangled in the resistance cord if you get too flippy with the release. I learned that hitting dozens of wedge and half-shots with the PlaneMate without getting tangled up greatly improved my control at and around impact.
To be sure, I am not shallowing and “exiting right” like a left-handed Ben Hogan. But my “flippy” release has been muted and mellowed, as I explain in the below video (sorry for the wind noise!). And that’s made a huge difference to the consistency of my ball striking all the way through my bag.
I’ve since recommended the PlaneMate to three friends who also have steep downswings and flippy releases. All three have gone through a similar journey. After using the device for many hours, they still can’t “shallow” once they add speed to their swing. They are all quite steep on the downswing. But nonetheless, they feel that the device has helped calm their overactive hands at impact, giving them more control and making their “big miss” less disastrous.
So I can heartily recommend the PlaneMate for golfers who struggle with clubface stability at impact—particularly golfers who get steep on the downswing and throw the club down the line after impact.
Unfortunately, I don’t think the PlaneMate
will suddenly have you looking like Sergio Garcia on the downswing, nor Ben Hogan shortly after impact (Hogan was the king of “exiting left.”) But it may help you learn to be a bit more stable and less flippy through the hitting zone, and the result should be an immediate improvement to your score.
Eben Harrell is an editor, writer and competitive amateur golfer who splits his time between Colorado and Scotland.
Since 2015, more than 5 million golfers have visited Practical Golf from around the world. I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with many of you directly and made a ton of friends. Now it’s time for all of you to meet each other and help build a community around our shared interests in the game we love.
Today I am launching the Practical Golf Forum! I hope to build a strong community, and I think a lot will be possible down the road (trips, special offers for members, giveaways etc.)
To get the “conversation started” I have a ton of prizes available. These are all products that I support and use myself, and I want to thank my partners for their support. There are close to 40 chances to win and $6,000 worth of prizes available. We will be giving prizes based on who are the most engaged users in the first 30 days. Honest participation will be rewarded
Here is the list of prizes available. I hope to see you there!
Throughout the past decade, more and more independent golf companies have been formed. In my experience, I’ve seen smaller companies put a lot more attention, detail, and quality into their products versus some of the larger brands that most golfers are familiar with. One company that has become a leader in the indie golf scene is Stitch Golf.
They started as a headcover company, but have quickly grown to offer a significant breadth of products that now include golf bags, luggage, apparel, and plenty of other accessories. I got a chance to try out some of their products, and they are one of the best options for golfers who are willing to invest more in premium products.
Stitch initially got its prominence as a headcover company. Several years ago, I bought these knit headcovers for my bag, and love them.
Their brand is built on their attention to detail and quality of materials used, and it’s evident when you see and feel these headcovers in person.
If knits aren’t your thing, they’ve got a pretty extensive selection of leather headcovers as well. There are tons of options now when you’re looking to add some flavor and personality to your golf bag, but Stitch remains one of the best choices if you’re looking for classic designs with premium materials.
While I didn’t get a chance to try out their newer golf bags, I have seen a ton of SL1 and Sl2 bags when I’m out playing lately, and they offer the same classic style.
If you are someone who likes to invest in your luggage, Stitch has built an impressive line of travel bags that are well thought out and stylish.
While I’m not someone who generally travels too much, backpacks have always been essential to me because of their versatility in everyday life. The Stitch Traveler is pretty impressive.
Whether you are using it for your work commute or a weekend getaway, this backpack can handle either scenario. It’s large, comfortable, and features a 2-in-1 design. You can load your laptop and items as you would like any other backpack. Or, you have the option to unzip the entire length of the bag like a duffle bag and throw in some of your golf clothing if you’re planning on playing after your workday is finished.
Every little detail is well thought out in the Stitch Traveler, which makes it an excellent choice for someone who wants something extra in a backpack.
Stitch also has garment bags, duffle bags, and other accessories in their travel section.
Last but not least, Stitch is also a golf apparel company.
I’ve been wearing their Speedster Pullover, which is very lightweight and easy to swing in – perfect for a slight chill on the course.
Also, I tried one of their polos out, which was equally comfortable, and I liked the subtle pattern.
Overall, I think they did an excellent job on the apparel side. However, I think their prices are a bit steep, even compared to other premium brands I’ve tried. If materials are vital to you, I’d say other brands like Redvanly or Rhoback offer better performance fabrics at a slightly lower cost, with similar designs.
You won’t buy anything from Stitch if you are budget-conscious. But if you are looking for the best materials, classic designs, and intuitive features, I can see why the company has become so popular.
They’ve put a lot of thought and detail into every product, and it certainly lives up to the company name, which promises “precise attention to detail, all the way down to the last stitch.”
As you know, golf is incredibly challenging because there are so many different facets of the game. While most golfers don’t have the time or resources to become an expert, that doesn’t mean you can’t be proficient enough to see progress.
A common trap that golfers fall into (myself included) is avoidance. Sometimes, one part of the game is so daunting that you choose to try and avoid it at all costs. Recently, I played with a golfer that reminded me just how damaging this strategy could be, and I’m here to offer you all some advice on how to get through these hurdles.
Several weeks ago I was playing with a golfer who was quite skilled. He was a 4-handicap, and I was particularly impressed by his driving ability. Although he was two decades removed from playing Division 1 tennis, it was evident that his athletic skill allowed him to drive it relatively straight at 275+ yards.
But I noticed on shorter par 4s he kept hitting irons. Since my thinking on that strategy has changed, I asked him why he was keeping the driver in the bag when it was obviously his best club (which he also believed). He told me that he was terrified of 30-70 yard wedge shots, and tries to avoid them at all costs. I also asked if he spent any time practicing from those distances, and he told me that it rarely happens.
That fear came on full display when he putted from roughly 60 yards on the next par 5, which I hadn’t seen done on a course other than Phil’s “stunt” at the final round of The Memorial.
“I saw that playing out differently in my mind.” 😂 – Phil Mickelson after putting from 78 yards outpic.twitter.com/okBuTfzuhC
— GOLFonCBS (@GOLFonCBS) July 19, 2020
In my head, I knew this golfer was completely capable of hitting those wedge shots with his physical talents. And to be honest, I knew how he felt.
I’ve been playing golf for more than 25 years now. I’ve dealt with pretty much every single fear and problem that all of you have. The only part of my game that I’ve ever felt consistently confident in is my iron play. I have no idea why that is, but that just seems to be my golf DNA.
Over the years, I’ve played the avoidance game quite a bit myself. I, too, was terrified of those awkward wedge distances. Also, I spent many seasons trying to evade my driver as much as possible and hit other clubs off the tee, thinking they would give me a sense of security. Lastly, I spent most of my time as a golfer, never working on my putting all that much.
The result was frustration, mismanaged expectations, and a level of play I was generally not happy with.
But, I’ve learned a few things on how to conquer these avoidance issues in my own game, and by also closely watching other golfers.
Golf will expose all parts of your game eventually. If you want to become a better player, sweeping problems under the rug just won’t work. That’s not to say that you need to spend countless hours honing every single part of your game.
So if you find yourself in this situation where one (or several) parts of your game are becoming a major mental hurdle, I have three recommendations.
A lot of golfers reserve themselves to an inevitable fate. For a long time, I told myself, and anyone who would listen that I wasn’t a great putter, or I couldn’t drive the ball well. Every time I stepped on the course, I had this identity hanging over my head. When faced with a 60-yard wedge shot or a difficult driving hole, I felt the anxiousness building as I approached my ball.
I believe the best way to handle this problem is to try and flip the script. If you do want to become better, you need to embrace these deficiencies in your game and have a positive attitude that you are going to try and work on them. Negativity becomes a nasty self-fulfilling prophecy on the golf course.
While it will take some work (I’ll get into that), your goal is to change your identity. You want to go from the player who thinks they are a horrible wedge player, to the golfer that can address those shots with a healthy attitude. Of course, you’re never going to be perfect, but you can get incrementally better at these parts of the game where they aren’t the big gaping hole.
As always, I want to remind you that this process is relative to each golfer, their experience in the game, and skill level. For some of you, addressing some of these problems could help you break 100, and for others, it might be the last piece of the puzzle in becoming a scratch golfer.
This is perhaps the most challenging part because you are going to deal with a mixture of mental and physical issues.
My advice to the golfer who inspired this article was to seek professional help. I knew he was perfectly capable of hitting those wedge shots but needed some direction from a swing coach on what his core technical problems were.
I do believe golf lessons can help with this process and make your path to getting more confident on the course more efficiently.
However, I know a lot of you might not have the budget for lessons, or if you’re like me, sometimes prefer to do some experimentation on your own.
For example, reading Dave Pelz’s Short Game Bible
over a decade ago helped solve my wedge play problems. I took his framework and applied it to my practice sessions until I felt comfortable. Also, I created this wedge practice routine. Granted, I’m not a tour-level wedge player, but the fear is gone now. Which leads me to my next point…
If you want to improve any deficiency in your golf game, changing your attitude is not enough. At some point, you’re going to have to take a different approach and put some work in during your practice sessions. Getting lessons is perhaps my number one recommendation to make sure you are doing the right kind of work.
It’s impossible to predict how long it might take you to move from a state of complete avoidance to mild, or even supreme confidence. But if you never address the problem at all, it will continue to plague you on the course.
Currently, bunker play is an issue for me. Tendencies in my swing that work for me in my iron play seem to work against me when I’m in the sand. As such, throughout the season, I need to spend about 30-60 minutes in a bunker to re-establish the technique necessary to get the ball on the putting surface and avoid heavy, or bladed bunker shots that seem to arise when I play in tournaments under more pressure. The longer I go between bunker practice sessions, the further and further my confidence seems to wane.
I know all of you have a part of your golf game that gives you above-average anxiety. There are days we play when we feel like our whole game is the problem, but I want you to think about one issue in particular that maybe you have completely avoided. Unfortunately, they don’t tend to go away on their own.
To summarize my recommendation:
Hopefully, I have given you some new direction on how to solve the part of your golf game that you want to lock away in a mental closet. If you have any stories of your own on how you conquered an issue like this, please feel free to share them in the comments section!