Are You Getting Better?
Or maybe the question is do you really want to get better? And then that begs the question, “How do you measure that?” Lower scores? Better quality shots? Learning more kinds of shots?

So, assuming that most of us want to continue to improve, hit better quality shots, minimize our worst ones and shoot lower scores, is that what we’re achieving? What is the path of your handicap over the past 5-10 years? Is it steadily going down? Or are you “stuck” on a number and can’t seem to break through that level? My goal is to help you, if you really want to improve. And I can break that down into several key elements of this game where you can focus your attention over the winter and as you head into the new Spring 2012 season.


The tools you choose to equip yourself with can have a dramatic influence in your ability to improve. During the off season, it would be a good idea to invest some time and a little money to visit a qualified independent clubfitter & builder to learn more about what’s really in your bag. I know you think you know what you have, because you’ve invested in each and every club. But really knowing can open your eyes to why you might have problems with certain clubs, and why others are your favorites. Besides, getting into the clubs themselves is fun.

Fix the Big Pain

Almost every golfer has that one bad shot pattern that creeps in unexpectedly to start a round spinning out of control, or at least destroy one or two holes. It might be the snap hook, a big push, fat approach shots, thin wedges, chunked pitches or chips, or missed short putts. But I’ll bet if you think about your rounds this year, you’ll isolate one or two things that keep coming back. The good news is that they can be fixed, maybe even over the winter months. Visit a golf professional and have them fixate on that one thing. You don’t want a swing overhaul, but only to understand why and how that shot happens so that you can be aware of it, and fix it mid-round.

Improve Your Fundamentals

This game is infinitely easier to play well if you have great fundamentals. These are the pieces of the puzzle that happen before you ever take the club away from the ball. I’m talking about your grip, your posture and set-up, of course. There are several WedgeGuy articles about these basics that I suggest you read and refer back to. Sitting in front of your TV, or on the phone in your office, you can practice gripping and re-gripping the club so that by the time Spring rolls around, the new fundamentally sound grip is thoroughly learned. And practicing your set up and posture is as easy as putting pictures from any golf magazine or book up on a mirror and copying that. I’d venture to say that at least 95% of golfers with over a 10 handicap are preventing their own success by ignoring these two most basic of the building blocks of a good golf swing.

Improve Your Mind

I think the most overlooked “fundamental” is your understanding of the golf swing and what your objective is when you have a golf ball in front of you. Use the off season to read great books about the golf swing – there are many. Ben Hogan’s “Five Lessons”, Tom Watson’s “Getting Up and Down”. Putting books by Dave Stockton and Bob Rosberg are wonderful, as is Ben Crenshaw’s. The more you know, the better you will understand what it is you are really trying to do out there.

So, fire off your questions to me about where I can help, and I’ll certainly do what I can. But getting better is up to you. Is that what you really want? And what are you willing to do to make it happen?
The Wedge Guy is sponsored by SCOR Golf, where Terry Koehler is President/CEO. He encourages you to submit your questions or topics to be considered for his columns on Tuesdays and Fridays. Each submission automatically enters you to win a SCOR4161 wedge to be given away monthly. Click the button below to submit your question or topic today.

[ comments ]
breadbasher says:
I think the most important thing is starting the round in the correct mental state and keeping it there no matter what happens along the way. That's my big challenge. Get this right and everything else kinda falls into place.
lindsaya says:
Agree with breadbasher. I listened to audiobook of 'golf is not a game of perfect' by Bob Rotella while traveling today. Maintaining the correct mental state is first priority for me, then pre-shot routine.
el_pato_real says:
"Golf is not a Game of Perfect" is by far the most valuable golf books I've ever read. All of his books are great, but I read that one every winter as I'm gearing up for another year. My absolute worst rounds this year were my best scores in 2003...the year I read that book for the first time.
shootermagavin says:
Peachtree I am with you on the pre shot-routine and breadbasher you are right about mental state and starting/holding it throughout the round.
Being in the moment and mentally turning up to play is key for any of us golfers trying to play well and break there respective numbers.
I love playing so much and i will always start my round trying to break 80 that day,now if i dont break it then thats ok because the next round i will still believe that i will break 80 that day and also the round after that.
I probably break 80 about 5 or 6 times a year and its getting harder with my 2 young sons growing up now,any edge i can give myself is warmly welcomed.
Could be a good call on the book guys and it shall be checked out,thanks.
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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

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