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Your number 1 tip for the casual golfer ...


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I am your pretty standard casual golfer. I love the game and love playing. I try to play as much as possible but other things like work seem to get in the way during the week and I'm not really into competitions so only play the weekends sometimes.

This of course is just my opinion. I'd say the #1 thing is get instruction(s), either by taking them or reading them and get your fundamentals down, (grip, alinment and stance). If you want to get good at any sport it is very important to get the basics down, especially in golf b/c there are about 83 subtle moves in a golf swing; and they need to be in sequence.

I see why too many "causual golfers" who think that a bigger club head, more off set, fatter sole are a fast track past basics--its not. A bad swing is a bad swing and if you use "band-aids" you won't get much better. What I did when I started to golf again after 43 years was get a lesson package of 3 lessons. Don't go more than every 2 weeks and try not to get a month or more between lesson(s). Also golf as much as possible between lessons working on what the instruction was. After that what I noticed was that after my drive on par 4's it was usually a 7 or 8 iron into the green. So I started to practice with my 7 and 8 irons, which is 150-160 yds for me. After that I started to get to know approximately what distances each of my clubs was goof for. Practice putting working on speed first and acurracy will come. Its never an error to practice your short game. Again, IMO the only drawback is that its all feel and takes more time. LOL and if you do all of this you will become hopelessly addicted. Heck you mite as well just go shoot up some heroin--just kidding. Enjoy the journey.
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without a doubt work on your short game ... i used to go out and play 12 holes in the eveving whenever i could ... rather than that i spend more time pitching 50-70 yds and play just a few holes for fun .. my chipping has got very good and it's helped my longer irons too, i've dropped a good 4-6 shots. Also, i used to try and par every hole, now i play every hole aiming for bogey, the pars come along the way, and i don't get doubles (or worse) on my card anymore as i play more sensibly. Good luck!
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Like most people on this forum, I have lots of tips, but I'll keep it simple and not give any actual swing tips or technical tips. My advice is to practice your game from the green back. What I mean by this is work on your putting first. Once you have gotten good (or at least consistent), then work on your short game (chipping and short pitches), then work on approaches to green (especially the yardages between about 150 and in). Let the tee and long game be the last thing you work on.

Part of the reason so many players improve at such a slow pace is that they try to fix everything at once rather than concentrating on getting better in one area before moving on to next area. Driving is, at most, about 18 shots per round (and that's only if the par 3's are really long), so that should be the last area of focus. Putting and short game should be the first priorities. The thing is, if you get good at hitting short pitch shots this will also help with approaches (and even driving) because it helps you develop a good tempo. My Dad has been a teaching pro for 20+ years now and prefers to start new students of the game with only putting and chipping lessons and often can go several lessons without a full swing.

Have fun is the best tip anyone can give you. Of course if you are playing better you'll have more fun. Check on getting some lessons and work on your game from the green back and you'll get much better a lot quicker than you might think.
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#1: Wear SPF 30 sunscreen

Wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience...
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I'm like you. I'm not that great, but i love the game. Practice, practice, & more practice! I live on a golf course now, & i walk out in the evening & practice pitching, chipping, & putting. What a difference. Most high handicappers lose it around the green. That is where the "feel" shots come in. It's hard to practice this stuff during a round of golf when it's busy, & most people @ the ranges put the emphasis on the "big drives". The pressure of having that "one" shot to get it on the green gets the nerves tingling, & the skulling starts. I realize that not everyone can live on a course, but to go out, with a dozen balls, & practice anything u want, by yourself, is remarkable. My confidence level is already rising. By being alone practicing, i'm also more calm. That feeling is now ingrained in me during my round.

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Wear sunscreen.

Haha, I thought the same thing. Silly Baz Lurhmann. Or however you spell his name. Classic speech.

I Most high handicappers lose it around the green.

Yea, my goal is always to just get within 60 yards or so and then let my short game take over. It makes a world of difference. Another tip for the casual guy: Try playing 9-hole practice rounds for a while rather than going to the range. You'll get used to swinging within yourself, but more importantly, you get a million different short game opportunities. Great way to improve that aspect of your game.

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My #1 tip would be to just swing easy. A lot of people seem to think that they need to try to kill the ball and swing out of their shoes, but all that does is cause problems.
If you focus on swinging easy (only swing at about 80%) you will make much more solid contact, stay in tempo and on-plane and you will hit longer, straighter shots.
I would much, much, much rathar hit shorter shots than end up in the fairway and on the green than to swing out of my shoes all the time and be hitting out of the rough all the time.
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Check your divot. Take a practice swing and see where your swing is by looking at the divot. Thia will tell you alot more than just about anything else.
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Swing smooth and watch for the impact.....this will keep you in good positions throughout the swing.
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A misleading bit of advice by most famous teachers on the internet and vids and books is make a full turn,but when I clicked on a swing vision sequence of Zach Johnson with an iron or you see Villegas is that they make a 3/4 swing at most.

This has worked brilliantly for me shorten your backswing then your mechanics hold together more,and that means less fat and thin shots.This also means although it doesn't mean much of a distance loss,is that you will naturally take that one club more to compensate for a shorter turn back.
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A misleading bit of advice by most famous teachers on the internet and vids and books is make a full turn,but when I clicked on a swing vision sequence of Zach Johnson with an iron or you see Villegas is that they make a 3/4 swing at most.

Ah, but what are you using to measure "turn": club position or their shoulders?

No need for me to follow-up, since I'm guessing you'll figure out what you posted is a bit misleading.
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Don't take a practice swing. Just look at the hole and hit the ball. If you are a beginner, you do not have control of your swing, so why practice what you can't control. Allow your natural ability to get the ball on the green and into the hole. If you want feel, take half practice swings. I never take a full practice swing, I take little rhythmic 1/4 swings just to get some fluid movement going.
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Ah, but what are you using to measure "turn": club position or their shoulders?

Ok yes it isn't clear,because even professionals like all of us have differing swing planes and amounts of flexibility and club position isn't always the best thing to use as a barometer for saying whether someone has gone all the way back. I was just trying to say find out your limit of a full turn for your own swing and then make sure you swing within that range,no need to go all the way as it's easy for those of us who are higher handicaps for our arms and hands to continue on to the top when the shoulders have stopped. Hope this has cleared it up as I don't want to give the wrong advice.
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How about 3 tips:

Stay healthy .....my knees are killing my golf right now. I know that I could have taken better care of them over the years. Stay healthy. Make sure you fully stretch and warm up prior to playing.


Practice .....have at least one practice session for every round you play. There is nothing better than having a lazy range, chipping and putting session to work on weak areas......weak clubs. I know some guys who will only hit the clubs that offended them in their prior rounds....this way they erase the bad club memories with improved shots.


Celebrate your victories. I'm not saying get smashed or anything.....but take time to enjoy your successes. For instance, I played last Saturday week on a tough track with some buddies. I shot the low round of our foursome...beating the next nearest by 6 strokes. I've never beaten this guy before and he was admittedly driving and putting wonderfully. I took the time to celbrate this later on. My wife was laughing at me.....even mentioned later that..."Hey, aren't you the guy who beat _____ ________ by 6 strokes?". It was hilarious.

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