Sometimes you need a quick fix to improve your game.
That’s why I created this list of 101 ways to lower your golf score. Review this list and try some of these techniques out on the course. Let this list be your cheat guide for helping lower your score!
1. Take Golf Lessons
Probably the most obvious of all of these options, taking golf lessons will help you lower your score. Golf professionals help students achieve their golfing goals through a series of drills, exercises, and in-game lessons. Read this article here for why every golfer should take lessons.
2. Watch Golf on TV
Watching golf on TV will teach you things that the pros are doing. Just by observing how they handle themselves on the course and what types of shots they play, you will be able to pick up new habits that can help you on the course.
3. Watch Videos
Use instructional videos to your advantage. Youtube is a perfect place to find quick lessons about something you are struggling with your game. Also, did I mention that it’s free!?
4. Start Practicing
Go to the driving range every week. Practice your timing and tempo so that you are getting consistent contact with all of your shots. Many golfers don’t practice enough and are disappointed that they don’t score well…. START PRACTICING.
5. Get Fitted for a Driver
Getting fitted for a driver is essential to your driving consistency. Call your local golf store or search nearby driving ranges to find someone that can fit you for a driver. You will swing multiple drivers with different shafts and lofts to find a driver that works best for your swing. (I have an entire article on why you shouldn’t buy a driver online that you should check out!)
6. Read Golf Blogs
Use this site or similar golf websites to help you soak up valuable information. Participate in discussions and read all of the posts to learn as much information as possible that you can use out on the course.
7. Get New Irons and Wedges
I’ve had many students tell me that they have been using their same clubs for over ten years….
GET NEW CLUBS EVERY 3-5 YEARS! The grooves of your irons and wedges will start to fade with time, and you will lose distance and accuracy.
8. Videotape your Swing
Sometimes, it’s just this simple. I’ve videotaped my swing before and immediately saw that I was taking my club inside too quickly. Boom. Cured! Having a second pair of eyes is always good, especially when they are your own!
9. Swing Softer
These days everyone wants tour distance and to hit 350-yard drives. However, it’s very had to get distance when you do not get good contact on the club. SLOW DOWN. Take a breath and slow your swing down by 25%. This will help you have a better rhythm, and you will notice improvements to your ball striking immediately
10. Be Prepared
Be prepared for your round. Make sure you know where the course is located and you (book your tee time). Look at weather forecasts, so you know what to expect. Being prepared helps put you in a more focused state of mind that you will nice when playing golf.
11. Wear Golf Shoes
There’s a reason why the best golfers wear golf shoes, THEY HELP. Many beginning golfers don’t even use golf shoes. Golf shoes will help you keep your traction when swinging, so you don’t slide. Also, most are waterproof which will save you from wet socks!
12. Play with Someone Better than you
Playing with someone better than you forces you to focus more on shots, which will improve your score. Also, you can observe how someone better than you handles different situations so you can learn from them and use it in your game.
13. Purchase a Rain Suit
Having a rain suit WILL come in handy. It’s only a matter of time before it rains out on the course. You will be extremely happy when you have a suit to put on so that you can continue your round and not be soaking wet. (I have a full article about MY FAVORITE RAINSUIT)
14. Stick with One Shot Type During your Round
Jack Nicklaus once said that if he was hitting a fade that day, he was going to stick with it through the whole round. Don’t try and make too many swing changes during your round as it can cause more harm than good. So if your ball is going to the right all day, aim left and keep that same style shot for the remainder of your round.
15. Use Lower Clubs Around the green
Use a 9 iron or pitching wedge around the green instead of a sand wedge. The goal is to get the ball on the green hitting a nice, low shot that will roll on the putting surface. Hitting a sand wedge can sometimes cause chunk shots or thin shots as it is a more difficult shot to hit. (Learn to avoid poor chip shots here!)
16. Hit Irons Off the Tee
If you are struggling with driver and keep spraying the ball, start hitting a 4 or 5 iron off the tee. You may lose some distance but your second shot will give you a better look at the green and a better chance to par.
17. Learn the Rules
Educate yourself on the rules of golf. Know what to do if your ball is in a hazard or when you aren’t allowed to ground your club. (You might save a stroke or two learning where you are allowed to place your ball)
18. Walk the Course
Walking the course is not only good exercise, but it helps keep you focused on your ball. You can get easily distracted when you are in a cart While walking; you can get a better feel for the course and walk off the yardage to know how far you need to hit.
19. Research the Scorecard Before the Round
Use the scorecard before the round looking for hard holes and where hazards are located. Also, decide which tees you want to play based on your skill level. (Learn everything to know about scorecards here!)
20. Hold your Breath with Short Putts
If you know anything about shooting a gun, you know when taking a long shot it’s best to hold your breath to steady your aim. Do this when putting so that you keep your body from making any sudden movements that might cause a missed putt
21. Keep your Head Down for 3 Seconds
The dreaded topped shot. So many beginning golfers get too excited to see where their shot is going to go that they pick their head up, and miss the ball. KEEP YOUR HEAD DOWN! After contact, count to three and then look up. You’ll notice an improvement in your contact immediately.
22. See 2-3 Knuckles on your Top Hand
Having a stronger grip will allow you to release the club faster at impact. If you are struggling with slicing the golf ball or pushed shots, make this simple change seeing 2 or 3 knuckles on your top hand. This will lock the top hand into the grip and influence a faster release so the clubface will square up at impact.
23. Drag the Club Back 2 feet Before Lifting Up
Starting the club low to the ground on the takeaway will promote a more shallow angle of attack. This will help with better contact and avoid the “flip” or the wrists most often used when coming down too steep at the golf ball.
24. Play Irons off of your Front Heel (Irons 3- PW)
I’ve found it best to play irons in line with your front heel. This is the low point of your swing where the best contact can be made. It is easy to remember, and you don’t have to constantly be thinking of where the ball should be placed.
25. Play Wedges off of your Back Heel
Play your wedge shots in the back of your stance. You need to do this, so your hands come down AHEAD of the clubface and promote a steeper angle of attack. If the ball is too far forward, you will hit a lot of bladed shots and have a hard time with consistency. This position also helps the weight stay ahead of the golf ball and not behind.
26. Create a Checklist in your Mind
Instead of letting your mind wander before a shot, create a checklist you go through every time you come up to the ball. This creates a pattern and will help your muscles learn what they need to do a lot faster.
27. Line up your putts
Take your time lining up ALL of your putts. Take an extra minute on the green and focus on which way the ball is going to move and where you should aim your putt.
28. Take-Two Practice Swings
To create a better feel for the shot, take two practice swings before contact. This will help you concentrate more on your current shot and prepare the body for the swing that is needed.
29. Imagine your Ball Flight Before you Hit
Before you even swing the club, picture the ball flying through the air and landing where you want it to land. Studies have shown that visualizing your desired outcome affects how your muscles respond and contract when taking a golf shot.
30. Stay Hydrated
Bring a water bottle with you on the course. Not only will being dehydrated make you uncomfortable, but you will also lose energy and strength as your round continues.
31. Keep Records of your Stats
Keeping records of your greens hit in regulation, fairways hit in regulation, a total number of putts and a final score will help motivate you on the course. Being aware of your stats is a great way to keep pushing yourself to improve.
32. Go for Contact over Distance
Before each shot, tell yourself to get the best contact you can off the center of the clubface. You will see an improvement in ball flight and distance if you keep telling yourself to hit the center of the club instead of swinging faster.
33. Use your Favorite Club
When an opportunity arises for you to use your favorite club, DO IT. Hit your favorite club as often as you can to build confidence and momentum in your round.
34. Take Note of the Wind
Many golfers forget about the wind. It can cause MAJOR CHANGES in your ball flight. Simply pick up some grass and drop it to test which way the wind is going and adjust accordingly.
35. Tee up on Different Sides of the Tee Box
Tee up on different sides of the tee box to avoid hazards or for better angles to the green. Ex. If you are a right-handed golfer and there is water on the left of the hole, tee up to the left of the tee box so that you have more room to aim to the right of the hazard.
36. Mark your Golf ball
Use a marker to mark your ball with either a line or dots, so you know which golf ball is yours. You can be assessed penalty strokes if you play the wrong ball!
37. Use Hybrids
Purchasing hybrids will improve your ball striking with your lower lofted irons. Hybrids take the place of either your 5 iron, 4 iron or 3 iron and allow much more forgiveness and distance control than irons.
38. Wear Golf Shirts
Wearing golf shirts allows for more flexibility in the upper body getting to a higher top position and therefore, increasing distance. They also allow your skin to breath in warmer weather.
39. Practice Before your Round
Hit the driving range or practice green before the start of your round. Warming up your muscles and focusing in on different shots will prepare you for your round and get your mind ready for play.
40. Eat Before your Round
Make sure you eat a good meal before your round. Your body needs food for energy, as your muscles will be active when you are out on the course. A good meal will give you more stamina for your golf round.
41. Purchase a Golf Training Aids
Purchasing training aids such as swing alignment sticks, weighted clubs or even golf simulators will help speed up improvement dramatically.
42. Rotate your Hips to Generate the swing
Many beginning golfers tend to swing with their arms instead of their lower body. Make sure that you are using your lower body to rotate the back hip in the backswing, and the front hip during the downswing. This will help with consistency and distance as you won’t be trying to “time” your swing perfectly.
43. Keep your Weight Forward Around the Green
The weight CANNOT move back when chipping or pitching around the green. Keeping the weight forward allows a steeper angle of attack that is essential for good contact and keeps the wrists from “flipping.”
44. Imagine a Hula Hoop when Putting
Distance control while putting is crucial when trying to avoid a three putt. It helps to imagine a hula hoop around the hole where all you are trying to do is to get your putt inside the hula hoop. This way, you know your next putt will be close enough to make.
45. Look at Hole Location
Most courses will give you information about the hole position on the course that day. This is important to know so that you can aim for either the front, middle or back of the green. This can be a club or two difference so make sure you know the pin placement.
46. Look at the Yardage for Each Hole to Determine tee shot
Make sure you look at the distance of each hole to determine your club choice. For example, if a par 4 is only 300 yards, you don’t have to hit the driver off of the tee to reach the green in two. Sometimes it’s beneficial NOT to hit the driver off the tee so pay attention to the distance! (I have an article on the rangefinder I use to scope distances)
47. Learn to Hit a Fade
There will be obstacles on the course that require you to shape your shot. By swinging OUT to IN, you can learn to master the fade.
48. Wear a Hat
You may have noticed that all tour pros wear a hat. Yes, this may be due to advertising, but also it helps shelter your eyes from sunlight. It gets bright on the golf course and wearing a hat will help improve your eyesight.
49. Invest in a Rangefinder
Most competitive and recreational golfers these days use a rangefinder. Rangefinders give you the exact distance to the hole, so you don’t need to walk off the distance. Scoping the distance will help you know the EXACT club that you need to reach the green. It’s like your own personal caddy! (You can read about my favorite, affordable rangefinder that I use here!)
50. Get Fitted for a Putter
Locate your nearest club fitting facility online and book a putter fitting. You’d be surprised how much extra spin is added if your putter isn’t the right length or the right lie angle!
51. Stay Positive
Staying positive after a bad shot or hole is easier said than done. However, the benefits of staying focused and optimistic will allow you to bounce back and avoid ruining your round with bad energy.
52. Train at the gym
Going to the gym to increase your cardio and flexibility will greatly increase your stamina and strength on the course. You will see improvements to your distance in only a few months!
53. Play the Driver off the Front Toe
When in your driving stance, play the ball in line with your front toe. Because you are teeing the ball in the air, you want the arc of your swing to be coming ‘UP’ at the ball to achieve loft and good contact. Playing the ball off the front toe allows this to happen.
54. Bring extra golf balls
I have seen people run out of golf balls. As funny as it sounds, you DON’T want to ruin your round because you were not prepared to lose a few golf balls.
55. Clean your Golf balls
Many beginning golfers never pick up their ball on the green to clean it. Golf balls collect dirt, and when you put with a dirty golf ball, it can lead to uneven putts and a poor roll. Clean your balls!
56. Clean your Irons
Making sure the grooves of your clubs are clean will help with consistency in ball striking. ESPECIALLY, make sure that your wedges are clean so that you can generate as much spin as you can to control the golf ball.
57. Organize your Bag
Organizing your bag will help you feel more prepared for the course. If you free up your mind to think more on each shot instead of trying to find your golf tees in your bag, you’ll start seeing better results.
58. Arrive Early for your Tee Time
Give yourself time to practice on the green or range by arriving early for your tee time. It’s better to have too much time than to be rushed and unprepared.
59. Use Sunscreen
It can get hot out on the course. Hot enough to where you can get burned pretty easily when you’re out in the sun for 4 hours. Wear sunscreen! It will help your skin feel better on the course, and you’ll prevent your body from harmful UV rays.
60. Wear a Golf Glove
If you’ve ever watched a decent golfer, they always wear a golf glove. Why? They help with grip and prevent blisters on your hands!
61. Enter Tournaments
Starting to play in tournaments is a great way to learn quickly how to handle pressure situations. Golf can be intimidating at times when people are watching you swing, but by playing in a few tournaments, you will start to feel more comfortable performing in front of others and under pressure.
62. Wear Golf Sunglasses
Now, this is more of a preference, but it does help. Wearing sunglasses protects your eyes from ultraviolet rays from the sun. Also, using golfing sunglasses will help you see the golf ball more easily, which will be useful when searching for a stray ball, possibly saving you a few strokes!
63. Learn to Hit a Punch Shot
To avoid the wind or to hit under a tree, the punch shot will be extremely convenient out on the course!
64. Focus on a Dimple
When struggling with contact, focus in on a golf ball dimple towards the bottom of the ball. Don’t break eye contact and swing at the ball trying to hit that spot. This will help your contact.
65. Learn to Hit out of the Sand
Bunkers are scattered throughout the course. Learning how to hit bunker shots will make you less fearful of hitting towards them and more confident hitting from inside them.
66. Find a Putting Grip that Works for You
Experiment to find a putting grip that feels comfortable for you. Pros change their putting grip very often to find a grip that feels good to improve their confidence around the green.
67. Be the Scorekeeper
By being the scorekeeper, you are conscious of other people’s scores and helps fuel your competitive spirit. It puts the pressure on you to shoot lower scores. JUST DON’T CHEAT!
68. Take Your Time on Short Putts
Take two practice strokes and a deep breath for every short putt. I’ve seen many golfers rush a short putt and miss it. You’ll save a few strokes a round if you just take your time!
69. Know When to Take Risks
You need to know when to go for the green vs. not to. Or when to let go a big drive vs. play it safe! Focus on the hole design and your current score to assess if the risk is worth the reward.
70. Play When the Course is Less Busy
Picking a tee time where the course is not slammed will give you the time to be patient and focus on your shots.
71. Make Bets
Make small bets with friends or other golfers to bring out your competitive side. Learn to play under pressure as it will force you to focus and take every shot seriously.
72. Open the Clubface in the Rough
Hitting out of the rough will grab your club and force bad shots. By opening the clubface, you allow the club to slide under the ball and improve your chance for better contact.
73. Tee the Ball Higher
Tee the ball higher if you are struggling off the tee. Sometimes all it takes is a higher tee for you to find the center of the clubface.
74. Forward Press your Irons and Wedges
Make sure that your hands are pressed forward passed the golf ball at address so that you are hitting DOWN on the ball. The ball needs to compress for the club to work properly.
75. Play your Putts off your Front Heel
Playing your putts farther up in your stance will help you come up a little on the putting stroke hitting the upper half of the golf ball. This creates a better roll on your putt and more consistency.
76. Use a Caddy
Some courses allow the use of a caddy to carry your clubs and give you distances around the course. Using a caddy will give you accurate yardages and tips to maneuver around the course. You’re guaranteed to save a few strokes listening to their knowledge of the course.
77. Get Fitted for a Golf ball
You can get fit for a golf ball based on your swing style and swing speed. The right golf ball can add distance and help reduce spin for accuracy. (You can read my favorite golf balls for beginners in this article)
78. Buy Extra Golf Spikes
If your golf shoes have spikes, they will wear out after about 20 rounds. Make sure that you purchase extra spikes at the pro shop or sporting goods store so that you can keep your traction out on the course. (I have a whole article about what golf spikes you need here!)
79. Have Someone Tend the Flag
If you have a long putt and it’s hard to see the hole, have someone tend the flag so that you can see the hole. This small change will help to get your long putts closer to the hole and save you from three putts!
80. Aim Small, Miss Small
For every swing, focus on a particular target and try to hit that target. You’d be surprised that by aiming at small targets, your miss hits won’t be too far offline.
81. Learn to Hit a Draw
Learning to curve your shots can help you avoid many obstacles in your way. The draw requires an IN to OUT swing to put sidespin on the ball to shape your shot.
82. Know Local Rules
Some courses have local rules that may come into play when you’re out on the course. You may save a stroke or two knowing where you can get relief or what is considered OUT OF BOUNDS.
83. Keep your Non – Dominant Arm Straight
Breaking your non-dominant arm when swinging the club is the kiss of death. It will cause you to try and time your shot with your wrists, which will lead to poor contact. Keep this arm straight and locked and use your hips to generate your swing.
84. Widen your Driving Stance
Having a wider base will promote a longer swing achieving more distance with the driver. Also, it will encourage a better takeaway using more of the upper body, which will help with swing path direction.
85. Chip with Feet Together
Chipping with your feet together helps your balance and helps you feel where your weight is at during the chip. You should feel like your weight is ahead of the golf ball
86. Be Patient
Remember Happy Gilmore? Go to your happy place and clear your mind of all the distractions. At first, your head is going to be non-stop trying to remember everything you need to do for a swing. Give it time! After some repetition, your muscles will learn how to hit the swing, and you won’t have to think about all those checklists anymore!
87. Don’t Slide the Hips Back
Sliding back during the back sing is what we call a “lateral slide.” It is tough for the clubface to get back to square if you slide back instead of rotating. Keeping the weight over the golf ball is crucial to consistent contact.
88. Give Yourself Compliments
Giving yourself compliments as you play pumps you up and gives you more confidence. Golf is all confidence, and the more you believe in yourself, the better the results you are going to see.
89. Act Professional
Acting like a professional is going to help put you in a focused state of mind. Repair your divots. Don’t walk in other’s putting lines. Play golf by the rules and take your time.
90. Play your Own Game
While it’s fine from time to time to try and beat your competition, overthinking about other golfer’s scores is going to distract you from your game. Stay focused on what YOU can do to get the best results on the course.
91. Take Advantage of Par 5’s
Par 5’s are where the birdies are. Make sure you put yourself in a good position off the tee to where you will have an easy few shots to get on the green. You don’t need to overswing to have a great opportunity to score low!
92. Be Careful on Par 3’s
Par 3’s can be round enders! Be aware of all of the hazards before you hit and try and hit the green. There’s no need to try and go right at the pin every time. (Your hole in one will come when you least expect it!)
93. Know When to Rip A Drive
Pay attention to the wind and how wide the fairways are. If there aren’t many hazards and the wind is behind your back, why not try and smoke one out there to get a better look at the green.
94. Look for your Golf ball
Many golfers give up on their ball after a few minutes of looking. The USGA gives you 5 minutes to look for your ball before it is considered lost. Retrace your steps, and you may find your ball and save you a few strokes!
95. Attend Seminars
Many seminars are free at your local golf courses. You can learn a lot of interesting tips and facts from a pro for little or no money.
96. Join a League
Public courses hold many leagues during their seasons. They are fun and can be competitive. Playing and keeping your score will help you dial your game and improve how you play with others.
97. Play More Golf
The more golf you play, the more you will learn about your game! Learning what you do well and what needs to be improved is how you grow as a golfer. Keep playing, and you will enhance your strengths and limit your weaknesses.
98. Lead with the Hands, not the Club Head
Leading with the hands instead of the club head will create better contact and help avoid the “scoop” shot caused by your wrists.
99. Check Foot Alignment
Make sure your feet are aimed parallel to your target line. Take a club and put in down on your toes to see where you are aiming.
100. Check-Shoulder Alignment
Always make sure that your shoulders are lined up parallel to your target line. If your shoulders are too open or closed, it can have a negative effect on your swing path.
101. Never Give Up!
There will be times when you don’t hit the ball well all day. There will be times when you say you’re done with golf forever. NEVER GIVE UP. This sport will only get easier with time and with the right practice and motivation, you will see 5,10,15 strokes drop off your game!