Want to improve your golf game? Be honest!
By: Ross Starkey

Many golfers feel the need to make wide-ranging resolutions to reduce their handicap, often by a significant amount. But how many golfers actually break down their game and analyse where improvement is needed?

Identifying an improvement of, say 25%, is an achievable goal for all levels of golf, but how do golfers identify what IS required to make such an improvement?

Many golfers think it enough to state their intention and with sheer will try to make it happen without first taking an objective look at their own game. Every golfer has flaws, but not all of us are able view them for what they really are.

For instance if you are Sergio Garcia and you fat one into the water by all means get angry, blame the wind, the club, your caddy or someone in the crowd. But if you are a high to mid handicapper (or even a low handicap player) you should be looking at why your own technique failed.

Any improvement begins with asking the right questions of yourself:
Do you suffer a lack of distance off the tee?
Do you hit enough fairways?
Do you make a good connection with the ball?
Do you have a consistent shot shape?
Do you hit enough greens?
Can you escape the sand/rough?
How effective is your short game from 100 yards?
Are you a chipping well enough?
Do you three putt too often?
How good are you from six feet in?
Do you lose your temper on the course?
Are you mentally prepared to improve?


All golfers should first focus on the parts of their game that will make the biggest impact. Game improvement should start with the short game.

Every golf coach will tell you that most game improvement will come if you concentrate on everything from 100 yards in. Most shots on the golf course are played from within this distance and it is proficiency here that distinguishes the low handicapper with the mid handicap player.

Answer these questions honestly:
Are you good wedge player?
Are you chipping the ball consistently close?
Can you be a better putter?

Whatever your ability, focus on just one of these and you will make more impact in your 25% handicap reduction than anything else.

No one hits all the fairways, then hits all the greens and rolls in all the putts, professionals score well because when they do miss a green (and its a lot more often than you'd think) they invariably have the skills to knock it close and walk away with par.

As Bob Rotella said, "golf isn't a game of perfect".

So stop wasting energy on self recrimination, trying to hit the ball 300 yards and spending hours honing a swing that didn't work in 2013. A good shot is usually one that doesn't leave you short-sided, blind-sided or in a hazard! Chipping and putting will make up for more of the failings in your long game than spending all your practice time on it will.

But don't take my word for it, next time you play a round give yourself a score out of 10 for each part of your game, being careful to weight the importance of the short game, and see what you need to practice on to achieve your goals this year.