The great--and vexing--thing about the game of golf is that no player ever totally masters it. No golfer has a perfect, flawless swing. A PGA Tour pro who shoots 10-under-par is just as likely to mutter about the fact he could have shot 11-under as he is to celebrate the ten birdies he made. Golfers, amateur and pro alike, are on a lifelong quest for game improvement and employ a variety of training methods to reach their goals.
Improve Physical Conditioning
Getting in better shape allows golfers to hit the ball longer and straighter and not become fatigued near the end of the round, which can cause a loss of strength or timing. Before you begin a stepped-up exercise regimen, consult with your physician. Improving flexibility is important to developing a long, smooth swing that generates lots of power. Try yoga-style stretching exercises. These gentle stretches can help you loosen up your back and shoulder muscles, allowing you to widen your swing arc. Strong legs give your swing a firm foundation and supply power on the downswing. Swimming, walking or jogging can help you build stronger legs, as can working out on a stationary bike or treadmill.
Take lessons from a PGA professional. Having someone watch you, who understands the mechanics of the golf swing and can quickly identify flaws in your swing, can help you improve your game much more quickly than if you tried to do it on your own. Get in the habit of playing with golfers more proficient at the game than you are. Watch the smooth tempo of their swings, how they concentrate, eliminate distractions and maintain a positive attitude in the face of adversity. Read golf instruction books and watch videos. They can show you how to break down your swing into component parts and how to work on improving each component.
Practicing is most beneficial if you do it on a regular basis, at least once per week. Good players make practice time count by approaching each shot as though they were on the course.. Make sure you pick out an imaginary target for each shot and go through your set up and aiming routine just as you would when you play. These repetitions on the driving range help you build confidence that you can execute good shots when you are playing for real. Take your last few scorecards out with you to the range and try to recall what shots really gave you trouble. Maybe you were slicing your long irons. Devote extra practice time to curing the most damaging swing faults.
Learn how to relax when you address the ball. Anxiety can make your muscles tighten, shortening your swing and reducing swing power. Make a conscious effort to slow down when you get to the tee. Try deep breathing exercises to release tension. Visualize the successful result you want for each shot, even putts. See the flight of the ball, and where it will land. Focus on the ball rather than on the hazards that you are facing on the hole. Have a short memory. Quickly put bad shots behind you, rather than assuming another bad shot is inevitable. Learn how to play strategically. Know your limitations. If you are having trouble driving the ball straight that day, select a 3-wood or even a long iron on a tee where the fairway is narrow.