Yes, I mean it. Here are four ways to lower your score that you don’t take weeks of pounding balls at the range.
1. Grip down. I’ll bet you hit your short irons—PW, 9-iron, 8-iron— pretty well. The longer clubs give you problems. The solution is to grip down on the longer clubs so they feel like a short iron. Hold the club with about 1¼” to 1½” of the shaft extending beyond your left hand.
Get a club and try that right now. The balance of the club will change dramatically. You’ll feel connected to the clubhead and in full control of the club. You will hit a very good shot.
2. Slow down. You swing too fast. I don’t have to see you swing, I know you swing too fast. By that I mean on the downswing. Your downswing doesn’t flow naturally out of your backswing. You swing back OK, but you rush down into the ball.
Swing like you’re chopping wood, in that taking the axe back and bringing it down on the wood are part of the same motion. The striking movement, while faster than the upstroke, is a natural continuation of the upstroke. Slow down. Let clubhead speed build up by itself.
3. Take a religious vow to develop a perfect setup, then do it. That’s grip, stance, posture, and alignment. OK, you’ll have to practice this, but the first three you can do in your living room any time. The pros work on this constantly because they know that a good shot will not come out of a bad setup. Don’t guess. Get a lesson if you have to. It takes no athletic talent to set up correctly—only knowledge and perseverance.
As for alignment, when you hit balls at the range, hit every ball at a different target and align yourself each time. The pros work on that constantly, too.
4. Learn to play the game. Knowing how to hit good shots is only half of golf. Knowing which shot to hit, with which club, and to where, is the other half. I know you know how to play the game when I see you don’t always pull a driver on every par 4 and par 5. Sometimes a shorter club off the tee is the better play. Or when you play short of the green on a long par 3 to chip on for a sure bogey or a possible par.
In other words, play a recreational game within your skills instead of mimicking a pro game that you don’t have.