Tips on how to improve your game

Hans Kersting tees off at the second hole of Valencia Country Club. Katharine Lotze/Signal

What type of golfer will you be in 2017?

It seems like a fairly simple question, but it’s not easy to answer.

Before you can begin to figure out 2017, you must first determine what type of golfer you are today.

Let’s be honest, we all want to be become better at golf. Some of you dream of the day you break that 100 score barrier, while others have goals of breaking par for the first time.

Regardless of which category you fall under, the solution is the same.

Learn to recognize your tendencies.

Recognizing the tendencies in your golf game is the only way to improve your game for 2017.

Many of you tend to slice the golf ball, while a few of you more fortunate ones tend to hook the golf ball.

Some of you may chip and putt like a champion, while others may not possess the same deft touch. Once you take time to evaluate your own golf game, you can begin to establish goals for 2017.

Appropriate goals in golf can include learning to hit more fairways, make smarter decisions, and take fewer putts. If you can achieve one of those goals, your game will improve.

If you happen to achieve all three, you will take your game to a completely new level.

Learning to hit more fairways begins with recognizing the importance of rhythm and balance in your golf swing.

Most problems I notice from the tee stem from a lack of rhythm, thus leading to poor balance.

A great tip for maintaining better rhythm is to focus on keeping your shoulders relaxed throughout your swing. By relaxing your shoulders, your arms will swing at a manageable speed and your balance will improve significantly.

Making smarter decisions is perhaps the greatest challenge I see for most golfers.

We all want to play the type of shot we are ‘supposed’ to hit, rather than playing the type of shot we are more ‘capable’ of hitting. Recognize your ability, and don’t try to play above it.

Finally, taking fewer putts will quickly begin to drop your handicap. Putting comes down to two principals — line and distance.

Most of you become so focused on your alignment that your distance control suffers.

How many times do you miss a putt 6 inches to the right, but 5 feet too far?

It happens all of the time. Focus more on your distance control, and you will become a much better putter immediately.

Have fun with your golf game in 2017! Challenge yourself to become better by recognizing your strengths and weaknesses.

Until next time, continue to enjoy this amazing game!

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