Golf Improvement Tips from a Touring Pro

Golf Improvement tips from a Touring Pro:

Early in my golfing life, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to play with a number of touring pros as a result of my first marriage. Since then, I often get a lot of questions about how pros think about the game. While there are a number of differences, one surprising fact is that even pros think this game of golf is no easy matter. For example, I can recall a number of dinners when my father in law would scratch his head and exclaim with an absolute straight face, “Man, golf is a really, really hard game”. With that, here are a few nuggets I took from him.

Nugget #1  Don’t Forget that Golf is a Really Hard Game

It is that time of of year when many of us are working to get our golf game together in time for spring. This means swing fixes and outright overhauls are on the horizon. As you may recall from an earlier post about Bob Rotella’s book, amateurs tend to have little patience and expect change to happen, happen fast, and happen painlessly.

My father in law would tell me it took him at least three weeks of playing every day to incorporate one new idea into his swing. For those of you without calculators that’s 21 rounds of golf for a guy who played golf for a living. So if a guy who really knows his swing mechanics, and who has been a true student of the game throughout his career could hold out for 21 rounds before demanding improvement, do you think we can play some rounds and, god forbid, practice a bit before bailing on a swing change?

If you think this is hard, try golf

Nugget #2: Since golf is a really hard game, remember to have fun and make it easy on yourself when you can

You might be surprised to learn that when family was around and he was working on his game at home, my father in law would roll his ball around to get a good lie, even on the pristine fairways that we would play. I think he understood that the mental boost of confidence you get from hitting a good shot from a good lie was worth a lot more than many amateurs seem to undertand. Golf is hard enough without spending all of your time hitting out of bad lies, especially when you’re working on your game. Nicklaus actually recommends hitting off of tees with all of your irons at the driving range when you’re working on any kind of swing change to simply take the ground out of the equation. Of course, I’m not suggesting that my father in law rolled his ball when he was in a tournament, or playing in a more official game; but on his own time or with family and friends, he made it a little easier on himself.  I guess he figured he had to hit out of plenty of bad lies during his countless rounds on tour so why torture himself when he did not have to?

Finally, go easy on scoring snowmen. I can never recall a time he did not roll the ball back to any of us who were playing with him and say “that’s good,” when we were putting for a double bogie.  Perhaps the most valuable piece of advice he gave me was was that golf was supposed to be fun, and he knew that unless you cultivated it, the game could take it from you.

Written by Wade Baynham
Single-digit handicap, who learned golf in his early 20′s from my former father-in-law, a long time PGA tour and Champions tour player. I enjoy studying the golf swing and occasionally give golf lessons.