Every golfer knows what it feels like to waste a stroke. It’s a bad feeling, to say the least.
You can probably feel your temper rising as you walk off the green, and it might take a hole or two for you to completely calm down and refocus on the task at hand. It should go without saying that finding a way to stop wasting strokes would be a huge step forward for your game.
Obviously, that is going to be easier said than done. Golf is a difficult game, and there is the potential for trouble lurking around nearly every corner.
Even the smartest, most experienced golfer will waste a stroke from time to time. So, in reality, we aren’t talking about eliminating these kinds of mistakes from your game – we just want to limit them to the greatest degree possible.
With that in mind, we have highlighted five common ways in which you can stop wasting strokes on the golf course. If you take each of the lessons below to heart, you should see lower scores start to appear on your card sooner rather than later.
#1 – Always Know Your Number
Sometimes, you can waste a shot due to nothing other than laziness.
If you fail to take the time to get an accurate number to the target, you can wind up in trouble – even if you make a good swing. There is simply no excuse in this day and age for not having an accurate number to the hole.
Whether you use a GPS system or a handheld laser rangefinder, you can obtain an accurate yardage in short order. You are still going to hit bad shots from time to time, of course, but at least you should be rewarded when you do make a good swing.
#2 – Avoid Three Putting from Short Range
We all know that it is bad to three putt. You certainly don’t need an instructional article to tell you that.
However, three putting from long range is going to happen from time to time. It is tough to lag the ball up close to the cup from fifty feet away (or more), and sometimes you just won’t be able to get down in two. It happens – it’s golf.
However, with that said, the mistake you can’t afford to make is three putting from short range. This usually happens when you get too aggressive with the first putt and knock it a few feet by the cup. Then, frustrated that you missed the first one, you fail to make a good stroke on the next putt and that one misses as well.
Suddenly, what may have been a short putt for birdie has turned into a bogey.
Make sure you aren’t too aggressive from short range, always protect your ability to two putt, and avoid wasting these kinds of strokes.
#3 – Stay Away from the Short Side
This is a huge point of emphasis in the professional game. The short side of the green is the side where the hole is located – and you want to avoid missing on this side if at all possible.
When you miss on the short side, you will have limited room to work with on your chip shot. That means you’ll need to stop the ball quickly, which might not always be possible depending on your lie and the condition of the golf course.
On your approach shots, play it safe and aim for the wide side of the green, giving yourself some margin for error. You may be surprised to find how many strokes you can save simply by steering clear of short side misses.
#4 – Put Away Your Frustrations
In the introduction to this article, we talked about how wasting a stroke can lead to feelings of frustration which can linger into the next hole and beyond. Here’s the thing – those very feelings of frustration can actually cause you to waste more strokes.
Keeping your mind stuck on what has happened in the past is a sure way to make more mistakes. You have to move on in this game, and you have to move on right away.
The best golfers are those who are able to take the game one shot at a time. Yes, it’s a cliché. You know why it’s a cliché? Because it’s true.
Focusing your mind on the task at hand each time you stand over the ball is critical if you want to play at a high level. Anything less than your complete focus is going to lead to failure on the course. Learn how to set aside the inevitable frustrations that you are going to run into on the course and you will be a better player for it.
#5 – Don’t Be a Hero
Among amateur golfers, this last point on the list might actually be the most ‘popular’ way to waste a stroke.
Go for the green in two on a par five? Sure!
Take a swing at a short par four with your driver? Why not?
Well, there is a price to pay for those heroic decisions. Often, they don’t work out, and you wind up wasting shots in the end.
We aren’t saying you can never go for the green from long range. Golf is supposed to be fun, after all, and trying to hit an amazing shot is a fun part of the game. However, you need to pick your spots wisely. Go for it when you have a realistic chance to make it, and when there aren’t any hazards to punish your mistakes. Be smart and you can stave strokes while still having plenty of fun.
We hope the advice contained in this article will help you steer clear of some common stroke-wasting mistakes. Improving your game isn’t always about making changes to your technique or buying new equipment. Sometimes, it is as simple as making better decisions and avoiding silly errors that will cost you on the scorecard.