How To Get Better At Golf

How To Get Better At Golf

Daniel during a round in June 2011.

My son, Daniel, has wanted to know how to get better at golf from the time he first played the game about two years ago. He and I decided to start this site as a journal of sorts for his efforts. Along the way, we hope to share lessons he learns and helpful products and services as he seeks to improve his golf swing and lower his scores. We have put together our 2012 golf club reviews and even discovered where to find reasonably priced golf clubs.

 

We’ve looked at lessons learned from tournaments on the PGA Tour, including the Northern Trust Open and AT&T Pebble Beach.

 

We also would love to hear from other golfers who are learning how to get better at golf. One of the great things about the game of golf is the never-ending quest to get better. Any tips, suggestions, websites and ideas you have would certainly be appreciated.

 

Starting to Learn How to Get Better at Golf

 

Daniel’s first real exposure to playing golf was on his middle school golf team in the spring of 2010 when he was in sixth grade. We live near a golf course, but he had never played a round. He and I had played a par 3 course a time or two, but had not played a regular course.

 

I was happy when he started playing because I have loved golf since I first took it up when I was in college. When I was younger, I used to play at least once or twice a week and spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to get better at golf. At one point, I was a halfway decent player, but was never very consistent.

 

My best 18-hole score was a 75 at a nine-hole course while I was working on a master’s degree. My previous best was in the 80s. When I shot 38 on the first nine, I nearly quit, but then decided to play nine more hoping to shoot in the 70s. I played even better. Par was 35, so I shot five over. That was more than 25 years ago. I have only shot in the 70s a time or two since. These days a bad back keeps me from playing much, and when I do I’m almost always in triple digits.

 

Discovering How to Get Better at Golf

 

Daniel’s first official round with his middle school team in the spring of 2010 was a 69 for nine holes. The tournaments had a rule that double par was the worst you could score on a hole, so he finished three under that mark. By the end of that year, he improved considerably. During his last tournament he shot a 53 with only a few double par holes.

 

The middle school team played from the front tees. Like many of the players Daniel struggled with length off the tee. During one tournament, he played with a couple of pretty good golfers and was almost always 50 to 75 yards shorter than they were on drives.

 

In fact, Daniel could hit two good shots on a par four and, even from the front tees, still be short of the green. That was an area he needed to focus on as he learned how to get better at golf.

 

By early this year, Daniel had an improved swing that helped him hit it farther. That was good because he played on the varsity team, which teed off from the middle tees. He goes to a small, private school, where some of the best players from the previous year had graduated or moved to another school.

 

Daniel played a few matches with the middle school team, but most of his time was spent with the varsity. By the conference tournament, he shot 100. He likely would have shot in the mid 90s, but the course inexplicably decided to water the greens in the middle of the round. I expect the sprinklers were on a timer and all the players had to deal with the situation, but Daniel three-putted several times before he adjusted to greens that were much slower than they had been previously.

 

Finding Out How to Get Better at Golf

 

Daniel’s best nine-hole score on varsity that year was 47, although he shot a 43 in a middle school match. He continued to improve and learning how to get better at golf had become a major goal for him.

 

How To Get Better At Golf Now

Daniel, left, and a playing partner walk down the fairway during the junior club championship.

Over the summer, Daniel played numerous rounds of golf and placed second in the junior club championship. He shot an 89 the opening day and was leading by seven strokes.

 

The second and final day, he hit his opening tee shot in the water. After taking a penalty stroke he had to chip back into the fairway. He hit his fourth shot just off the green and then chipped in for bogey.

 

Daniel had a few rough holes, but was still tied for the lead at the turn. He was leading again on the back nine until he took a quadruple bogey on a par five. A rain shower hit when he was close to the green and bad advice from his caddie (that would be me) suggested he finish the hole.

 

He was still tied for the lead going to the final hole, but his tee shot bounced into a lake on the left side of the fairway and he ended up losing by three. He was a little disappointed, but I was proud of the way he played and how he handled himself throughout the tournament.

 

The 2012 golf season has started. Daniel has recovered from an injury and continues to improve. He looks forward to finding out how to get better at golf along the way. Meanwhile, he continues to work on his golf practice routine.

 

11 Responses to How To Get Better At Golf

  1. Nice site. I have bookmarked it and look forward to following Daniel’s progress. Don’t let it get too complicated and technical – youngsters have a refreshingly simple approach to things us adults tend to complicate.
    Good luck young man and may you have many many years of enjoyment out of this wonderful game.
    Lawrence

  2. Steve says:

    Hi Lawrence,

    That’s good advice that I should take to heart. I was talking to Daniel the other day about keeping his right elbow tucked on his backswing. He has what is commonly known as the “flying right elbow.” In truth, he hits the ball pretty well, so I should probably just leave his swing alone. :-)

    Steve

  3. Ahhh………the famous flying right elbow. The problem that something like 96% of golfers suffer with. This elbow usually “takes off” when trying to hit the ball too hard. I find the best way to keep it in is to remember not to take away with the arms but to rather turn the shoulders allowing the arms to follow naturally and then …………the important transition. Again don’t use the arms but start the transition by turning the HIPS back to the target.
    The arms will follow and that damn right elbow should stay in!!

    • Steve says:

      Hi Lawrence,

      I’m pretty sure that Daniel developed the dreaded flying elbow trying to hit the ball hard. In his early days, he was playing against fellows who could hit the ball about twice as far as he could so it’s kinda understandable. I appreciate the tip. I’ll pass it on to him. Or better yet, let him read it himself.

      Thanks.

      Steve

  4. Cham says:

    Steve, this is a really nice approach in teaching people how to advance in golf. This is great because it is based on personal experience and experience can never be wrong.

    Cham

    • Steve says:

      Hi Cham,

      Daniel and I have put some thought into the site. He even helped decide on its name. I’m looking forward to warmer weather when he’s playing more often.

      Thanks for the good words.

      Steve

  5. hannah says:

    Great site! I’ve learned alot and actually I’m thinking of taking up golf too!

    • Steve says:

      Hi Hannah,

      Thanks for the good words! Golf is a great game. I highly recommend it. A good-natured word of warning, however, once you start playing, you may never stop!

      Steve

  6. daniel says:

    Well i do really think my swing is fine, but as golfers we think our swing is perfect until we actually see it.

  7. Golf Advice says:

    You can never discover too much when it comes to golf. You are constantly learning. I bet the professionals still discover something everytime they go on the course. – Thie

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