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IMGCA Article - The Mental Game of Golf


Taking Your Golf Game to the Next Level

Paul Wilson

Here is a quick guide to help you take it to the next level.

If You Shoot Over 100

If you currently shoot over 100 you are probably new to the game. Golf is game that takes plenty of practice and understanding. At your level, you're probably very excited to just get out to play. You always have a big grin on your face because you've found a new hobby that gives you a little exercise and gets you breathing some fresh air. Unfortunately, shooting over 100 will get old very quickly especially if you're a competitive person by nature. So your smile will start to turn into a frown and you may end up giving the game up. It is quite easy to break 100 if you know what to do.

What to Do To Break 100

If you're new to the game you have not ingrained any bad habits yet, so before you do, take some lessons from a qualified pro. It's usually quite easy to teach you the proper fundamentals of the golf swing because you're eager to learn and never second guesses the teacher. If the relationship between the student and teacher is good, the speed at which you will see results is very quick. Usually within a month or two the "over 100" shooter can easily take 10 - 20 shots off of their game. Once you break 100 on a regular basis you'll start to see the game differently. Although shooting in the 70's is a few years into the future it may be attainable because taking lessons initially has given you a great start on the game.

If You Shoot Over 90

If you currently shoot over 90 you're someone who has to play more often. You're probably playing about 20 - 30 rounds a year and most of these rounds are in corporate tournaments. Corporate tournaments are a definite game wrecker. The usual scramble format leads you to just bashing the ball as hard as you can trying to get that one drive that helps your team. Unfortunately this leads to a HUGE slice with the driver which doesn't help your team at all. I know it's fun to try and hit the ball as hard as you can but if wailing away at it was the way to play good golf, everyone would be a pro. You will also find the short game very difficult. Although the short shots around the green look easy they quickly become a nightmare to you because of the amount of touch that's required.

What to Do To Break 90

For starters, you have to get out to the course more often. You can still play in corporate events but you have to do so with a new attitude. You have to quit trying to be the hero and start actually helping your team. This can be done by swinging easy and trying to get the ball in the fairway or the middle of the green. If you swing easier and try to become more accurate you will be amazed at how many of your shots the team actually uses. You would greatly benefit from weekly lessons. The lessons would not only give you a better swing but they would get you out to the range and course on a regular basis. Finally, you have to take at least one short game lesson to see how easy it can be. This will create a better understanding of the short game which will then make practicing it more enjoyable.

If You Shoot Over 80

You're the kind of person the major club manufacturers love. You think that you can "buy your game" so every opportunity you get to try the latest and greatest clubs you take it because you don't think that your swing is the problem. So you buy that new driver and for a while you hit it great. A few weeks later that great new club isn't so great anymore and it's back to your old game. This leaves you scratching your head because you thought you had it and now it's gone. At some point in your golf career you probably have taken 1 - 3 lessons and you always try every golf tip you hear about. Because of these constant changes in both your swing and your clubs you never really have the opportunity to get used to anything so you are left in a state of limbo always thinking that the elusive 70's are just around the corner.

What to Do To Break 80

In order to break 80, you have to admit that it's not the clubs. It's about developing a repeatable swing and a great short game. To create this repeatable swing and great short game, you have to work with a qualified teacher on a weekly basis. You're going to forget trying different tips and quick fixes because you will destroy the changes the teacher is trying to make. This whole process is not going to be easy because you basically have to re-learn the swing (making changes to your swing may cause you to hit some very poor shots at first because you're not used to it and you're in between swings). If you stay determined, you'll start to hit some shots that will totally amaze you. These amazing shots are telling you that your hard work is paying off and pretty soon you will be playing in the 70's.

If You Shoot Over 72

You have a great swing. It'll still go astray on them from time to time but you can usually get it back rather quickly. You usually make a few mistakes in a round that you just can't seem to let go of. This creates stress and pressure that effects the rest of your game. Your short game may not be as good it could be. You know this but actually finding time to practice it is sometimes a challenge. Finally, you may be taking the game a little too seriously causing you to try to hit every shot perfectly. This may lead to second guessing your swing which is definitely trouble when you are on the course.

What to Do To Break Par

You have to find the time to do some serious work on the short game. If it's difficult to make it out to the course you can always chip and pitch balls in your backyard and putt on an indoor carpet every night. This dedication to the short game is what will allow you to still shoot good numbers when your swing is not at it's best. It will also reduce pressure on your approach shots because if you can get the ball up and down regularly it's not that big of a deal if you miss the odd green. When you do work on your full swing try to work on the weaker clubs in your bag and hitting the ball from poor lies. Also, forget distance. At your level you are probably long enough. Concentrate on never swinging over 80% of your ability. If you can resist the temptation to hit the ball too hard your miss hits will not stray to far off line eliminating the need for that miraculous shot to get you back it the game. Finally, have fun out there. If you lighten up a little you will reduce your stress levels allowing you to switch into automatic mode instead of having to grind it out all of the time.

Until next time,

Paul Wilson

Paul Wilson teaches how to copy the perfect golf swing of the Iron Byron swing machine. For more information please visit:

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