How to Lower a Golf Score

By James Roland
Practice is the key to success in golf.
Practice is the key to success in golf.

You're playing yet another round of golf and no matter what, you can't break 90 (or 80 or 100) or whatever target you've been shooting for lately. You're trying new clubs, a new ball and all the training gadgets you can find. But there are simpler ways you can refine your game and consistently bring your score down. In fact, there are a few you can try the next time you tee it up.

Examine Your Game

Explore where you seem to be adding to your score and your mind patterns, such as not hitting enough fairways off the tee. The next few times you play, count the three- and four-putt greens and how often you're hitting the green (or close to it) in regulation and focus on reducing those extra shots.

Be aware if some clubs are giving you trouble. If you can't hit a driver and keep your ball in the fairway, think about keeping the driver in your bag and sticking with fairway woods or irons off the tee for awhile.

Look for other mental or physical patterns that may be keeping your scores up, such as getting fatigued or losing concentration on the last few holes, or letting a bad putt carry over to the next tee, where you promptly shank your next drive.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Get some driving range and putting practice done in between your weekend rounds of golf. If you only play once or twice a month, you're not likely to make much progress.

Get the putter out and practice reading the slope and speed of greens. The best way to shave strokes off your score is to start two-putting greens. One easy way to start is to visualize a car tire-sized circle around the hole and aim to putt the ball into that circle.

Chip, chip and chip some more more. The big hitters on the course always lose strokes in the short game, so get that pitching wedge out and practice those short, choppy pitch-and-run shots, as well as the gentle 50-yard chip onto the green.

Get in Golf Shape

Start exercising your core muscles, such as your abdomen and lower back. By making them stronger and more flexible, you may add length to your drives and better control of all your shots.

Lose your gut. Aside from a big belly just not being healthy, you'll find you have greater flexibility when rotating your hips and greater stamina on those hot days on the course if you can slim down now.

Exercise your body (focusing on aerobic, strength, flexibility and balance activities) to keep your mind sharp. It's a lot easier to concentrate on your golf game if you're not thinking about sore muscles or how tired you are on the 12th hole.

Play in Control

Hit smart shots. It may not be as macho to lay up in front of the lake as it is to try and blast your ball over the lake to the green, but if you're after a lower score, you'll play like the pros when they have a one-shot lead in the final round.

Remember that the most important shot of the day is the next one, not the last one. Focus as much as possible on making your next shot good, rather than cursing the golf gods about that missed 4-foot putt that would have given you your first birdie of the day.

Take a deep breath and relax before each shot, rather than let a foursome behind you on the hole get you rattled to where you rush your next shot.

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