Odds and Ends

› One course you play on all the time you shoot your handicap consistently. Another course you play on from time to time you shoot five to ten strokes over your handicap. Guess which course you should be playing on if you want to improve?

› Play one round where you give up distance in order to hit shots that keep the ball constantly in play, for all 18 holes. You’ll have to hit something other than your driver on most holes, and play short of the green a number of times. You’ll have more fun and shoot a lower score, I promise you. The test is, will you play this way the next time out, or go back to your usual game?

› How to practice the mental game: Put a ball on the mat in front of you and take ten identical practice swings while you look at the ball, but without hitting it. After the tenth swing, step up to the ball without hesitation and hit it. Was that swing the same as the ten swings before? If not, practice this exercise until you’ve learned to stop letting the presence of a ball control your mind.

› Setup is grip, stance, alignment, posture, and ball position. If you aren’t pleased with the way you hit the ball, fix your setup before you start tinkering with your swing. If you hit the ball well but inconsistently it’s because your setup is inconsistent. Spend as much time practicing your setup as you do your swing. It’s that important.

› Those tips you read in the golf magazines? The ones that promise you more distance, cure your slice, fix your swing problem? They’re pure entertainment. Pay no attention to them. If your swing needs fixing, get a lesson.

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