Over the last few weeks, I have had discussions with the Golf Genie instructional team, other PGA professionals and a host of avid golfers to understand the best approach to learn the game of golf most efficiently. Based on their feedback, here is the “5-step approach” we recommend to develop a solid golf game.
STEP 1: DEFINE YOUR GOLF OBJECTIVES
Really think through your golf objectives and what you would like to accomplish in the short and long term. Is your goal to simply be “decent” on the golf course so you can hold you own with friends and business associates? Do you want to be a consistent “80’s” scorer or better? Or do you simply want to play for leisurely purposes irrespective of your golf score?
Once you understand your golf game objectives, take an honest assessment of your available time and resources to commit to the golf game. Can you practice golf several times per week or per month? How often can you play per year? Can you afford a series of golf lessons that typically range from $50 to $100 per hour?
Next, understand your logistics – do you have access to a golf executive course you can hit in the morning before work? Is there a golf practice range nearby? Or do you need to hone your game during breaks at home or in the office?
Finally, develop your initial golf action plan that will help you achieve your golf objectives. How, when, where will you practice the golf game? What are your golf game strengths and weaknesses? What is your practice plan for the golf full swing, golf pitch shots as well as chipping, putting and lowering your golf score?
STEP 2: TAKE LESSONS FROM A PGA CERTIFIED GOLF PROFESSIONAL
Once you understand your golf objectives, it is highly recommended that you find a certified PGA professional whose teaching philosophy and style aligns with your golf goals and needs. The goal of engaging a golf pro is to study and learn golf basics and fundamentals for the key phases of the golf game including the golf full swing, the short game and the mental game. Just as important, a certified PGA professional can give you direct feedback on your strengths and challenge areas and outline a golf practice plan to build up your golf game.
It is well worth your time to conduct some research before selecting a golf professional. Ask your friends, find a nearby golf course that provides golf lessons, check out golf websites and develop a short list of golf pros that seem appropriate. Then talk to those golf pros: let them know your objectives and ask them about their teaching approach and style. Before buying a “package” of lessons, have an introductory golf lesson or two with that golf pro to see how well you click.
STEP 3: USE A CREDIBLE GOLF SHOT REFERENCE TO REINFORCE YOUR GAME
In learning the golf game, it is helpful to use a classroom analogy. When you took high school math, you not only had an instructor, but you also had a “curriculum” or text book that reinforced what you learned in the classroom. We recommend the same approach and this is where the Golf Genie™ Tee to Green Pocket Guide comes in. The Tee to Green Pocket Guide provides expert and PGA-proven instruction and golf tips for all the key golf shots and golf swing faults you typically encounter on the course. The Tee to Green Pocket Guide reinforces the instruction provided by your golf professional so you can continue and accelerate your learning outside of your golf pro’s lessons. Best of all, the Golf Genie™ Tee to Green Pocket Guide is easily portable for the course and range and is the only golf reference that is USGA and R&A approved for use on the course as you actually play!
If you take at least a beginner set of golf lessons combined with practicing the golf fundamentals provided in the Golf Genie™ Tee to Green Pocket Guide, we can assure you that you will have the basics you need to develop your golf game. The rest is practice, feedback and learning.
STEP 4: DEVELOP AND EXECUTE YOUR PRACTICE PLAN
Continuing our classroom analogy, if you only went to class and read the text book, you are not very likely to achieve a good grade. So, it is important to carry out practice assignments, “quizzes” and drills to solidify your learning.
The same is true for the golf game. It is critical that you take the golf lessons learned from your PGA professional and the Tee to Green Pocket Guide, develop your golf practice plan for the golf practice range and regularly practice your game. This need not be a painful exercise, but simply outline your golf practice plan for each session. For example, if your full swing is working well, but your short game is suffering, then spend the majority of your golf practice session on your short game. If your game is suffering across the board and you have some time to practice, spend one session on your short game, the second session on your full swing and the third session mixing up your shots as if you were playing a round. Consistently take note of what is working and what is not working, consult your golf pro and Tee to Green Pocket Guide and perform various golf drills on the practice range to shore up your challenge areas. Taking this approach and really knowing what and how to practice will accelerate the development of your golf game tremendously.
STEP 5: PLAY AND TRACK YOUR GAME
The final step to fully develop your golf game is to track your results as you play and practice the game. This sounds obvious, but is amazing how the majority of golfers simply play a round, receive a poor score and do not take the time to track or even think about what caused the poor results.
If you want to become a better golfer, you should track key golf stats every time you play. This is really easy. On your scorecard, simply place a few key golf stat categories, such as driving accuracy, greens in regulation, pitching and putting performance and/or number of putts per hole. You can come up with a simple rating scale. For example, you can assign a scale of 1 to 5 for your golf shots. Did you hit your drive 250 yards straight down the middle? Give yourself a “1S (great drive, straight).” Did you hook your drive, but it was still playable? Give yourself a “3H” (playable drive, hook). Did you hit your second shot fat for 10 yards? Give yourself a 5F (poor shot, fat). How many greens in regulation did you achieve (e.g., allowing yourself 2 putts to make par)? How many putts did you have?
If you get into the routine of tracking these kind of golf stats every time you play, you will find it is not only easy to do, but immensely valuable to help you hone in on the critical things you need to work on when you practice your golf game to lower your score.
We would love to hear your feedback. Do you agree with this approach? What else do you recommend to improve your golf swing?
Kristian Traylor, Founder, Golf Genie