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Golf Article - Four Mid-Round Fixes Save Shots

We all have days when it feels like you never played golf before or had golf lessons. Even the pros have them. Look at what's happened to Tiger Woods since he's returned from his hiatus. He hasn't played well since coming back. In fact, he had his worse day ever as a pro just a few weeks ago. He also didn't play up to his capabilities in the PGA Championship. Playing poorly happens to everyone.

What separates golfers with low golf handicaps from those with high golf handicaps is how they handle bad days. On bad days you must recognize what you can and can't do and use that knowledge. If you start planning and executing shots—no matter what type they are—your confidence will come back and you'll start playing better. This skill isn't easy to teach in golf lessons or group golf instruction sessions. But we can give you four helpful golf tips.

Find A Swing That Works
Hitting drives out of bounds costs strokes. When you're driving poorly, make up your mind to find a swing that works. On days you're not hitting the fairway with your driver, choke down on your driver. It creates a shorter swing that's easier to control. Or, use your 3-wood or 2-iron. If you're missing to one side, plan for it. For example, if you're missing right all day, aim for the left edge of the fairway and let it come back. If you hit a draw and you're missing right, use a baseball swing. It gives you the smooth, powerful feeling you want in a swing.

Manage Your Misses
Greens in regulation (GIR) are a key. Every GIR saves a stroke. But it's crazy to aim for a close pin on bad days—especially if it's protected. The trick when not swinging your irons well is managing misses. Miss your shots on the correct side of the hole, so you land on the green, not in the rough. If there's a flat side to the green, aim for that, so you don't waste a stroke. Also, set up with your feet a little closer together, choke down, and move the ball back a little. These changes improve ball-first contact. You hit lower shots this way, but they work.

Get The Ball Rolling
Hitting a chip to tap-in range saves a one stroke—maybe more. The key to chipping is getting the ball rolling quickly. On bad days, focus on doing that. Check your lie. If it's deep use a club with more loft. If it's shallow use a club with less loft. Also, don't try spinning your chips. You get better roll with less spin. And think draw when chipping. Make practice swings and focus on pointing the toe of your wedge to the sky in your backswing and your follow-through. Notice how you release your left hand through impact, just as you do with your full swing.

Trust Your Instincts
Often, we miss putts because we overanalyze or overthink. After missing a few, we lose confidence. When this happens, trust your instincts. Line up in a comfortable position and swing away. Your instincts are often good barometers. Also, try making practice swings with one hand to regain your putting stroke. The left hand—right hand, if you're left-handed—is a good hand to do this with. It helps you stand square to the target line and set-up correctly. If you're having trouble trusting your feel, a good drill is putting with your eyes closed and guessing where the putts go. The drill restores feel.

Everyone has bad days—even the pros. But golfers with low golf handicaps tend to fare better than golfers with high golf handicaps because they don't let bad days throw them. Low handicappers find what's working for them that day and what safe shots will get them through the round. Remember our golf tips on bad days and you'll survive them. Today, you need to figure out how to get it done. Tomorrow you can go to the range or attend golf instructions sessions.


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