Breaking 90 is one of the biggest milestones in every golfer’s career. From my own observations, and a lot of pickup games, I would have to say that most golfers are struggling to break 100 let alone 90. According to the National Golf Foundation, the breakdown is as follows: About 5 percent of golfer’s can consistently break 80, about 20 percent shoot between 80-89, another 25 percent consistently break 100. That leaves 50 percent that cannot consistently break 100, and 75 percent that cannot consistently break 90. This article is for the 75 percent of golfers who would like to consistently be able to break 90. While the information in this article is specifically designed to aid a golfer in breaking 90, the information presented will help golfers of all levels become better ball strikers.
So, how does one go about setting a path that will lead to being able to consistently break 90? If you can afford it, take lessons from a certified teaching professional. If you are like me, and want to get proficient at golfing, without breaking the bank, read on:
I read every golf instruction book I could get my hands on, and watched a variety of instructional videos. I read or watched everything from A.J. Reveals the Truth About Golf, to Scramble to Better Golf with Fuzzy Zoeller. I did an extensive search on the internet, and talked with a multitude of low handicappers. My goal was to discover the fastest way to lower golf scores with a limited amount of time to practice. I wanted to see if I could find a common thread for the most efficient way to lower golf scores.
My extensive research revealed some very interesting results. A vast majority of the web sites, videos and books focused on hitting the ball farther. This was contrary to what I was hearing from the low handicappers. Very few of them even mentioned distance as the key to lowering their golf scores. There were a few that emphasized the short game, and putting, but this will not help if you can not get into a position to use a good short game. In doing my research two things became clear: The one thing that was consistent from all the low handicappers, books and golf videos was:
YOU HAVE TO FIND TIME TO PRACTICE! In talking to the low handicapper’s another thing started to become clear: YOU HAVE TO LEARN HOW TO CONTROL THE GOLF BALL
BUT HOW? HOW TO FIND THE TIME, AND EXACTLY WHAT TO PRACTICE? From what I have seen of most high handicapper’s is that a practice session usually consisted of going to the range every once in a while, and beating balls with the driver. While this may be a decent workout, it is no way to achieve the goal of lower golf scores. After several years of this, and seeing no improvement on the golf course, this is how they continue to practice. Doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results, just does not make sense. If you want to get RESPECTABLE at golf something has to change. So how do you achieve the two stated goals above?
- learning how to control the golf ball and
- finding the time to practice.
It may seem self evident, but control of the golf ball comes from consistent repetition that produces crisp contact, and an on-line ball flight. Notice that I did not mention anything about distance. Distance is what almost every club manufacturer sells, and what a vast majority of books and videos focus on. Distance. Distance. Distance. We have been sold a bill of goods that distance equates to lower golf scores. Let’s step back a second and see if we really need distance to consistently break 90. Let’s assume that you can two putt every green. That is 36 strokes. I am going to up that number to 39, to give you a few three putt greens. 90 minus 39 leaves 51 strokes, - 1, to break 90, is 50 strokes. The average course from the white tees is about 6100 yards. So you have 50 strokes to cover 6100 yards. This averages out to less than 125 yards a stroke. So, as you can see by the numbers, distance is not the key to being able to break 90. Again, we get back to consistency, or learning how to control the golf ball. Every touring pro will agree, they would rather have a tee shot a 100 yards down the middle of the fairway, than one 300 yards into the pond or the woods. I will state it again: CONSISTENCY and CONTROL are the keys to lower golf scores.
I found that one drill presented itself over and over for learning how to accomplishing crisp contact, and sending the ball on the desired line of flight. This easy to perform drill also taught proper weight transfer, and the proper release of the golf club through the hitting area. Ironically, this drill also leads to more distance. It is this simple: Everything else being equal, a ball struck on the sweet spot is going to travel farther than one that is mishit. If you practice this drill, not only will you start seeing more distance, you will know where your golf ball is going. I discussed this drill with very accomplished golfers, and to a person they agreed that this is arguably the best drill for developing the feel of a well struck golf shot.
So we have identified that there is one key drill, and that there is a need to practice. But no plan is any good if you do not have the time to carry out the plan. All this plan requires is one hour a week of practice, or four fifteen minute sessions a week. OK, I hear you, it takes longer than fifteen minutes just to drive to the driving range, and four buckets a week can start to get expensive. Outlined below I will show you how to perform this drill in your own backyard. That’s it! One hour a week, from the comfort of your own back yard. I will clearly lay out exactly what you will need, and how to go about improving your overall golf game. These instructions assume that you already know how to grip the club correctly and make a proper setup. If you have one hour a week, and follow the guidelines presented below, I guarantee that in only one month you will stop embarrassing yourself on the golf course, and see a vast improvement in your ball striking and your overall golf game. And you just might pick up a little more of that coveted distance.
Learn how to control the golf ball
- A seven iron.
- A driving range or enough space to hit a hundred yard golf shot is preferred, but you can also use a net, plastic balls, or The RopeIt.
- Ideally you would want to do the drill at a practice range. But I told you I would show you how to find the time to practice. If you can’t get to the range, the RopeIt is the next best thing. Set it up right in your own backyard. The RopeIt makes it easier to find time to practice. No matter what you read on the internet, to get better at golf you have to practice, and the RopeIt makes it very convenient, and is perfect for the L to L drill.
What you will do: The L to L drill. This is the one drill that accomplished golfers agree will make you a better ball striker. The L to L drill will teach you how to acquire the feel to control the golf ball, and produce results you will see on the golf course, in the shortest amount of time.
The "L" refers to the angle between the left arm and the shaft on the backswing, and the right arm and the shaft on the through swing - forming a 90 degree angle, or an approximate "L". You will focus on making a smooth, rhythmic, symmetrical golf swing; with a proper weight shift were all your weight ends up on your left side with your belly facing parallel to the target line. Your main focus is on timing and rhythm, accompanied with solid contact, and sending the ball on the desired line of flight. Do not try to hit the ball hard. You are trying to “Smooth it out there”. Think Ernie Els or Freddy Couples.
Your practice session should only take about fifteen minutes. Go through your setup routine each time, and hit twenty-five shots. That’s less than a shot every thirty seconds. Keep a pad and pencil handy and rate each shot using a one to five point scale. Or better yet, use the Ropeit shot counter app, as follows:
- 1 = The shot was solid with good form and hit on the line intended. A perfect.
- 2 = The shot was solid, with good form, put pulled or pushed a little. Acceptable.
- 3 = The shot was hit on the line intended, but was toed, heeled, thin or fat. Not in the woods.
- 4 = The shot was not hit on the line intended and was not solid, but form felt OK. Mishit.
- 5 = The shot was not hit on the line intended and was not solid, no form. Chopper.
You should find that with each session your score will go down. Until your score goes under 75, each session must have at least 3 perfects. After each session, write down the date, and your final score. You will use this information to track your progress. End each session with three full seven irons, remembering to keep the same tempo and rhythm you used while performing the L to L drill.
One important thing to keep in mind is to be careful not to just use your arms when doing this drill. Let your body pivot in reaction to the movement of the arms rather than keeping the body perfectly still. Finish with your weight forward, and your back foot should be up on the toes. A good check to see if you are releasing the club is to see if your wrists form an X at the completion of the L to L drill. A good feeling to try and achieve is that your body weight is going forward while your head is holding steady, or even going back a little. Don’t over swing. You are not trying to hit the ball hard, just solid and on the intended line. You are learning to control the golf ball by feeling the ball solidly on the club-face at impact.
Things to keep in mind while performing the drill.
- Elbows should be close together, with the arms fully extended at address.
- Maintain extension with connection.
- Keep your head steady and in the shot until the ball is gone. See the club head hit the ball, as your right shoulder comes underneath.
- Left shoulder under chin on backswing, right shoulder under chin on follow through.
- Let your right shoulder, coming under your chin, bring your head up.
- Left elbow closer to the target line at impact than right elbow.
- Make sure there is full extension of the arms, without swaying, on both sides of the ball.
- Pivot, with a nice weight shift back and through.
- Lead with the right knee towards the target.
- Hold your finish, it should only be an L, and your wrists have formed an X.
- Check that your belly is facing the target, and your weight is on your right side.
- Focus on tempo and rhythm, not power. Power will come with tempo and rhythm.
- Enjoy your lower golf scores.
Do the L to L drill 4 times a week. If you perform the drill correctly it should transfer over to the golf course. When out on the golf course, use the same rhythm and motion through impact, just lengthen your backswing and follow through. Practice as often as you can, any way you can. Ropeit makes it easy, but the choice is yours.