You love the game of golf and like most players, want to make more pars and birdies. The only problem, you do not want to pay for expensive lessons. You prefer to do things yourself. Maybe you have remodeled your bathroom or redesigned your kitchen, so why can’t you “do it yourself” and fix your golf game?
We would always recommend you learn the fundamentals from an expert, but there are definitely some ways to get better at golf without lessons.
We pulled together a quick list of 9 things for you to try.
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How to Get Better at Golf Without Lessons
- Invest Time, Not Money – We hear you – you do not want to invest hundreds of dollars in golf lessons, but to make true gains, you have to invest something, so invest your time. Use your local driving range to improve your ball-striking and find a short game area to hone your chipping and putting. Spend the majority of your time on the practice green. You can cover up for a lot of poorly struck drives and irons if your short game is above average. Getting up and down and 1-putts will help your scorecard.
- Short, Not Long – In almost every situation you encounter on the course, a shorter swing is better than a longer one. Keep your backswing short and you will have more control. When putting, you never want your backstroke to be long because this will cause you to decelerate. If you are having a rough day on the course, tighten it up.
- Experiment – if you have been watching the PGA tour lately, you have probably seen some very different ways to play the game. Bryson DeChambeau has added 40 pounds and is trying to overpower the game. Matthew Wolff has come straight out of college and immediately done well on tour with a very odd swing. There are a lot of different ways to get the ball in the hole. When you go to the driving range, try different swings and setups. Trial-and-error. You may find something that helps you hit the ball solid. It doesn’t have to work for everyone – just for you!
- Keep Perspective – Stay Positive – golf can be a frustrating game to learn. It will sometimes feel like you take one step forward and two steps back. Try your best to keep perspective. Regardless of what you shoot, you got to enjoy an afternoon outside with some friends. Try to remember the good shots and forget about the bad ones. Set realistic goals for yourself. Stay patient. The game of golf is a lifetime journey, not a sprint.
- Don’t Trust Your Friends – you will notice pretty quickly that everyone on the course likes to give other players advice on their swings but be careful who you listen to. If your buddy is struggling to shoot 100, he might not be the best source for golf knowledge. The random guy on the driving range is probably not a certified golf instructor. It is ok to listen, just make sure you take this type of advice with a grain of salt.
- Be a Student of the Game – if you love golf, there are tons of free resources available to help you learn. If you watch professional tournaments on the weekend, notice how they play different shots and how they approach different situations on the course. The conversation between the player and the caddie can be extremely insightful. If you want some help with your fundamentals, some of the top instructors in the world share this info online, so research and try some of their advice. Do you have a library card? There are some awesome golf books on how to play or how to approach the game mentally.
- Hands Forward – this is a very basic swing tip, but a common mistake for beginners or high-handicappers is their hands are behind the ball. Regardless if you are hitting chips shots or drives, make sure you press your hands forward. This will promote better wrist action and help you hit the ball solid more often. You should also make sure your hands are not back during your putting stroke.
- Track Your Game – the best way to improve is to understand where you are losing strokes. How many putts do you average per round? How many fairways do you hit? How often do you putt for birdie? How often do you 1-putt or get up-and-down? Tracking these stats over time will tell you where you should focus your practice time and will allow you to see improvements. Investing in a portable launch monitor may be a good idea to get some additional insight.
- Celebrate Your Golf Achievements – when you accomplish something on the golf course take a moment to appreciate it and celebrate. These achievements do not have to be only about your score. The first time you play 9 holes without losing a ball. Your first par, birdie, or eagle. The first time you break 120, 110, 100, or 90. The more you enjoy the game the better you will play. Do not expect perfection and celebrate your small achievements.
You do not need expensive lessons to enjoy the game of golf. You can be self-taught and work your way down to a low handicapper. It simply takes time, effort, and patience. Be realistic with yourself and do not expect immediate results. There are no naturals in golf. No one picks up a set of clubs the first time and shoots even par.
When you have time to practice, focus and try to improve a little with every session. Do not take the game too seriously and do not make it all about your score. Enjoy your time outdoors with new or old friends. If you stick with it, your shots and scores will improve. Keep it simple. Hit it. Find it. Hit it again.