All golfers seek lower scores. Breaking through a longtime barrier, such as shooting below 90 for the first time, can be tremendously exciting. But golfers should have reasonable expectations about what they can achieve. It is not realistic for most golfers to lower their average score by 10 strokes from one year to the next. Some factors that affect a golfer’s score are under his control. Others are not.
If family and work take up most of your time, you probably won’t be able to improve your golf scores as much as you would like. Golf rewards players for dedication. If you can find a way to practice or play twice a week rather than just once, you will have a much better chance of consistently lowering your scores. Sporadic play leads to scores that vary wildly. Scoring in the 70s requires a substantial time commitment--playing or practicing as much as three or four times a week.
If you take lessons from a PGA professional with a reputation for being a highly effective instructor, you can raise your expectations. Nearly every golfer has flaws in their swing that can be corrected, but the first step is identifying them. A golf swing is a complex physical activity to master, and the instructor will provide tips, drills and techniques that will speed your progress. Lessons can lower your scores by five strokes or more.
Improving flexibility with stretching exercises is important to building a wider swing arc that will generate more power. Strong legs give your swing a solid platform, and leg drive through the ball contributes to swing speed at well. Swimming, running or working out on stationary bikes are good ways to build stronger legs. A conditioning program can help you lower your score by at least three to five strokes per round.
Golfers know that playing in strong winds will add strokes to their score. Wind makes it much more challenging to judge distance accurately and can blow even a well-struck shot well off target. High temperatures can cause dehydration and loss of strength, and make it more difficult to concentrate. Rain makes the course play longer and more difficult. Cold weather makes it harder to warm up and loosen the muscles you need to hit long, accurate golf shots. The effect of weather on your score on any given day can be as much as five to 10 strokes.
Time of Year
Golfers in cold climates are thrilled when the last snow melts, the days warm up and they can head out to the course after the long winter layoff. They are usually disappointed their scores are not as good as they were at the end of last season. In his book “My Golden Lessons,” Jack Nicklaus tells how he used coming back after the layoff as an opportunity to rebuild his swing and get rid of bad habits he may have developed the previous season. Give yourself time to sharpen your skills and don’t expect too much the first few rounds of the new year.