How to Improve Your Golf Game

Dave Tutelman -- June 28, 2006

Dedicated to Roberta Yellin Barron and her husband Hal Barron

Recently I have been in touch with a bunch of my old high school classmates; we have a Yahoo! forum for our graduating class. Today I received a note from one of those long-lost friends who had seen the golf technology articles on my web site. Roberta ended her note with, "Maybe you'll come up with a golf club that will help my husband become a great golf player." That struck a chord; it's all too common a response to what people expect from golf club research.

This article is intended as the antidote for such thinking. I have no illusions that it will cure the disease, but it may help people realize what they really need to become a great -- or even somewhat better -- golf player. What you find here will better align your expectations to reality.

First... the idea that a new golf club design will make you a great golfer is exactly what all the manufacturers want you to believe. It doesn't work that way. You know that. Your husband knows that. But every golfer, deep down, wants to believe. The idea of a magic club -- that you can buy a golf game -- is a lot more fun than the hard truth.

The truth is that the way to improve is:
  1. Lessons from the right pro for you.
  2. Practice, lots of it, and of the right kind.
  3. Clubs that fit you! Not the latest technology. Not some magic invention. Just be sure it fits your game and frame.
Let's look at these three items a little deeper. And remember, you probably need to do all three to see improvement. If new clubs alone help much (and continue to help for more than a short "honeymoon"), then your old clubs must have been very ill-suited to your game to begin with.

1. Lessons

If you don't know how a golf swing is supposed to work, or you don't know what your golf swing is actually doing, then you will never improve. The job of a teaching pro is to identify the most important disfunctional parts of your swing, and teach you how to make them functional. The right teacher for you is one who can (a) identify your biggest problems, and (b) convey them in terms that are helpful to you. For more on this...

2. Practice

Unless you are inherently an outstanding athlete, simply knowing what you're doing wrong -- and even how to do it right -- will not go very far to letting you do it right. Of course, it's an essential first step. But you also have to practice doing it right until you "groove" it, until it becomes "muscle memory". That is going to take more practice and more discipline than you might imagine. For more on this...

3. Clubs that fit you

There is no magic! Technology has put a few extra yards on how far a club can hit the ball (compared with ten or fifteen years ago), but claims of 30 extra yards are completely bogus and even 10 extra yards must be viewed with skepticism. The most important thing about your clubs is that they are the right clubs for your game and frame -- that they fit you. If they don't, you could indeed be losing a lot of yards and adding a lot of strokes to your score. But the answer isn't "the finest clubs that money can buy;" it is a competent club fitting. For more on this...

Last modified 7/3/2006