Most of golf instruction is built on slow, steady progress. When making swing changes you need patience and consistent hard work to see success in the long term. And for the most part, that is how it has to be. However, there are some things you can do to start scoring better TODAY. These tips don't have to do with your mechanics so much as your strategy and thought process. Consider each of the following five tips and starting scoring better in your very next round.
Watch the Short Side. This is the number one thing the pros do better than amateurs from a strategy standpoint. The ‘short side' is the side of the green that the hole is located closest to. If you miss your approach shot on that side, the up and down will be much more difficult. Avoiding short siding yourself by playing approach shots to the wider side of the game. You will be putting more often, and have far easier chip shots when you do miss the green.
Always in Play. Keeping your ball on the grass in an obvious, but effective way of lowering your score. When considering trying to clear a hazard or opting to lay up, the safer play is almost always the wise one. Trying to make up for penalty shots is nearly impossible. Keep your ball on the grass and make sure every stroke on your card is one you earned by hitting the ball, not by pulling it out of the lake.
Perfect Speed. Three putt greens are a scorecard killer. Hitting solid full shots only to waste one on the green painful and costly. Eliminate three putts by focusing most of your attention on the speed on the putt, and not the line. When you are outside of 10 ft., make your read all about speed with only a brief notice of the line. If you are able to roll the ball the proper distance, you will have a tap in even if you miss the line by a foot.
Be Yourself. Many shots are wasted during a round by trying to hit shots you are simply not capable of. Accept your limitations and only attempt shots you know you can hit. If you only hit a draw, don't try to hit a fade to fit a specific hole. Make the best you can out of each shot with what you have to work with. Trying shots you don't have in the bag is a recipe for disaster.
Out on the First Try. One more great way to waste shots is trying to pull off the miracle escape. If you get in a bad spot, whether it's in the trees or in a bunker or whatever, just GET OUT. Make your first shot a safe exit back onto the part of the course that they actually mow. Limit your damage this way and those double and triple bogeys you used to find will no longer land on your card.
Not every golf tip has to take hours of practice to benefit your total score. Put these tips in the back of your mind and use them when appropriate. You will be amazed at what scores you are already capable of just by cleaning up these common mistakes.