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Handicap Index

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  1. I posted this to my college team on Slack today, but thought it might benefit some of you to read and see this type of stuff. Consider this my top five list of things that college players can generally do a LOT better to shoot better scores. These don’t ALL apply to ALL players, but… they all apply to all of you as a group for sure. In no particular order, the errors I regularly see: 1. Full swings almost all the time. There’s tremendous benefit and control from hitting partial shots inside of even 160-170 yards. You take off a little spin, hit it more solidly, and control distance and trajectory better. 2. Missing in the right spots. When the entire world exists to the right of #3, far too many of you miss in the left trees/rough/OB. When going long on a green is dead… too many of you miss long. You generally take on too many tucked pins instead of playing for the center of the green, and you take on too risky of a short game shot (leaving the ball in a bunker or still in the rough) when just chipping it to 15 feet and giving yourself a par putt will suffice. The latter in particular is a killer: I’ve seen so many of you make double after you miss the green because you won’t just put the ball to 15 feet instead of trying to hole it or something. 3. Lack of imagination when in awkward situations. Ball below your feet in a bunker? Ball on a downslope with a pitch to the green? I see too many people freak out and not be flexible, creative, etc. enough to find a way to utilize their club as a tool, and their body as a tool, to hit the necessary shot. Clubs are just piece of metal - make them do what you need them to do… and spend time practicing weird shots from time to time. They’re often the difference between 74 and 77 or something, even with only 1 or 2 per round. 4. Poor distance control putting. Often it’s from an accelerating stroke (short back, long through) or one that’s wristy, but if you can develop good speed, your reads improve from consistent speed, and your putting (both one- and two-putts) improve as well. Spend more time working on the “speed” aspect of putting, and less time when you practice putting just hitting the ball toward a hole and trying to make it. And if you think you’re bad at five footers… just leave yourself fewer five footers per round because of poor distance control! 5. Lack of a “B” Swing or a “Get it Around” swing. This one’s admittedly the toughest here, but when things are going awry, many of you just continue to bleed out all over your scorecard. Spend time on the range developing some sort of “cheater” swing - a shorter, more controlled swing, possibly without much weight transfer back and forward, where you can hit the ball solidly and control the clubface pretty well, to at least keep the ball between the ropes and near the greens.
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