Want to shoot low scores? Maybe even break 80? Sure, you do. But it won’t happen unless you practice—especially your short game. Generally speaking, 60% of your shots come within 100 yards of the hole. Knocking shots off your short game will lower your scores quickly.
But you also have to work on your driving. Hitting longer, straighter drives sets you up for easier approach shots. Hit more greens in regulation and you’ll make more birdies and pars. Plus, you’ll cut strokes from both your scores and your golf handicap. Maybe even help you break 80.
What to Work on in Practice
Finding time to practice isn’t easy. You have your family obligations, work responsibilities, and home repairs. And so on. Those things limit your practice time. So, when you finally get an hour to practice which part of your game do you work on?
That’s a tough choice to make. But it’s a choice you may not have to make. Golf drills exist that do “double duty.” Practicing these exercises improves both your short game and your long game swings together. Mastering both swings lowers scores dramatically.
The key, of course, is finding the right drills to practice. They must be drills that improve areas where your short game swing and long game swing overlap. So, in mastering one, you’re mastering the other as well.
There are lots of golf drills that do double duty. Let’s look at some examples of what we’re talking about:
· Chipping Swing and Full Swing Similarities
One area where your chipping swing and your full swing overlap is in your setup. Good chippers setup with their weight on their front foot, the club shaft leaning forward, and your back foot rolled in slightly so your heel is just a bit off the ground. They also have their shoulders pointed at your target and your hips open a bit.
This setup is perfect for hitting a pinpoint chip. It turns out it’s also perfect for hitting an approach shot or a drive—except, of course, for having your weight on your front foot. So, when practicing your set up for a short chip shot, you’re also practicing your set up for a full swing. More importantly, you’re using your time wisely.
· Pitching Swing and Full Swing Similarities
Similarities in your pitching swing and your full swing also exist. Consider your takeaway. Making a slow one-piece takeaway is a must if you want to hit pinpoint pitches. This type of takeaway boosts your chances of keeping your swing on the right plane. That holds true for your full swing as well.
Here’s a drill that ingrains a one-piece takeaway:
- Take your normal address position. Then slide your hands down the shaft until the grip touches your stomach. Keep your hands in their normal position. Now swing the club to the top. Focus on keeping the grip from touching your body and your front arm fully extended as you go back. That’s the feeling of a good one-piece takeaway.
· Hinge and Hold Golf Drill
Below is another golf drill that can help you refine both your pitching swing and full swing. The Hinge and Hold drill resembles the exercise above but has a different goal. It ingrains the hinging action you need to make solid contact, whether hitting a pitch or belting a drive.
- Take your favorite wedge. Grip it about mid-shaft. Hold it out in front of you. Then, make a backswing all the way the top. Now, swing down over the top of an imaginary ball while keeping the butt end of the club from hitting your body. That’s the hinging motion you need in your full swing to drive the ball long and far.
Working on the three drills above can help you master both your short game and full game swings.
Lower scores are a good target for you. But they don’t happen without work. With spare time scarce, you need to get everything out of the practice time you have. Working on golf drills that do double duty can help you improve your golf skills. Mastering both can help you lowers scores and break 80 consistently.
Hitting Pinpoint Irons Lower Scores, Helps Break 80
Belting lasers off the tee helps lower scores. So, does hitting pinpoint approach shots. Often, that means hitting pinpoint irons into the green. Hitting your irons solidly is just as critical to shooting low scores as belting accurate drives.
Slicing or hooking approach shots after a drive packs strokes onto your scores you don’t need or want. That won’t help you break 80. To do that, you need to hit pinpoint irons that find—and hold—the green.
Below are seven keys to hitting pinpoint irons that cut lower your scores:
- Position the ball correctly
- Make a nice slow takeaway
- Plant your front foot firmly
- Maintain your posture through the shot
- Form a sideways “C” at impact
- Keep your lead hand square
- Finish on the outside edge of your front foot
Executing these keys helps you hit laser-like irons. Failing to execute them can cost you strokes. Take ball positioning. Often, weekend golfers ignore ball positioning. Correct ball positioning, however, helps you hit long, straight shots into the green.
Ball positioning depends on the player. Some golfers like to play the ball forward a couple of inches from the middle when hitting their longer irons (3,4,5, hybrids), an inch or so forward from the center when hitting their middle irons (6, 7, 8,) and in the middle when hitting their shorter irons (9, PW, SW).
Other golfers, like Jack Nicklaus, position the ball in the middle for every iron shot. It all depends on the player. The key is finding which approach works best for you, then sticking with it once you do. So, try both methods and see which produces better shots.
Square Up Your Lead Hand
Another basic some golfers overlook is squaring up your lead hand to the ball at impact. That’s critical to hitting pinpoint, laser-like irons. Bad shots happen when you don’t square up, with hooks and slices being the most common bad shot when you fail to do it.
To square up the clubface at impact, you need to hit the ball with the back of your lead hand facing the target and the iron’s shaft leaning slightly forward. How can you tell if you’re squaring up?
Look at your divots. If they’re on the forward side of the ball and pointing directly at the target, you did it correctly. If not, you need to make some swing changes.
Squaring your clubface at impact and positioning the ball correctly at address help you hit powerful, accurate irons—the kind of irons that find the green and set you up for more birdies and pars.
Making more birdies and pars lowers golf scores and helps you break 80. Wouldn’t that be nice for a change?
Two Proven Putting Drills for Low Scores
Low golf scores. They’re a challenge to achieve. One of the fastest—and best—ways to do it is by improving your putting. Learn to putt well and you’ll shoot lower golf scores for certain. Maybe even break 80.
Below are two putting drills from two of the best putters in the game today—Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods. Master these two drills to shoot low golf scores.
Phil Mickelson Golf Drill:
You don’t hear Phil’s name too often these days as a tournament favorite. But he’s still among the best putters out there. Below is one of his favorite putting drills:
Find a straight putt on the practice green. Then, place three balls at four different distances from the hole—30 yards, 40 yards, 50 yards, and 60 yards from the hole.
Try to lag each putt to within tap-in distance from the hole. Spend at least 20 to 30 minutes working on this golf drill. It will help you eliminate three-putting.
Focus solely on speed when putting. Master this golf drill, and you can help but chop several strokes off your average score.
Tiger Woods Golf Drill:
Like Mickelson, Tiger Woods’ day has past. But he, too, is a great putter. Below is one of his favorite putting drills. He uses it to warm up for tournaments:
Find a straight 4-foot putt. Now stick two tees in the ground about 4 feet away from the hole. Next, place a ball between the two tees and make some putts. Your goal is to sink putts without hitting either of the tees.
Use your normal putting stroke. Then, use one-handed strokes. Work on this drill for 20 to 30 minutes to improve your putting. The drill teaches you square up your putterface at impact.
These two drills can help you build a solid putting stroke while also helping you practice the most common distance after chips and up-and-down shots. Keep working on them, and you’ll shave off two or three strokes from your average score, if not more.