For millions of golfers all over the world, the only thing consistent about their game is how inconsistent it is from round to round!
Truth be told, the overwhelming majority of golfers are going to have a nightmare of a time breaking 100 when playing 18 holes.
Some are going to be lucky enough to shoot consistently lower scores between 80 and 90, and then you have the happy few that are going to be able to push those scores even lower – breaking into the single-digit handicaps or playing scratch (or better).
The main difference between the hackers that lose half a dozen balls every time they play and the club champions?
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Consistency at every level of their game.
And that’s what we are here to help with.
By the time you’re done with the tips and tricks below, you’ll have a much better shot at “grooving” your game, enjoying a level of consistency and predictability every time you pull a club out of your bag that you wouldn’t have had otherwise.
No, we can’t promise that you are going to shoot lower scores to win tournaments and find yourself on the PGA Tour someday. A lot of that comes down to plain old dumb luck and natural talents.
But we can tell you that by building a more consistent game you’ll be able to shoot lower scores (80s for sure) without too terribly much extra effort at all. Let’s dig right in!
Square Away Your Setup
The first thing you need to do to build a more consistent golf game is to square away your setup.
Proper posture and good balance is the “secret sauce” behind solid contact no matter what kind of club you are using.
Your stance and your approach will always be different depending on the club you’re going to use (you’ll take a different setup with a driver than a putter), but focusing on the fundamentals and maintaining that same consistent setup time after time changes everything.
Start thinking about where you have your feet, where your shoulders are pointed, how your knees are bent, and how you address each shot. Create a consistent setup that is easily repeatable and you’ll start making much more solid contact right away.
Control Your Club Face
Squaring up your clubface on impact is the number one thing you can do to produce more consistent shots – but it also is anything but effortless to pull off without a lot of practice.
The reason that you can have beautiful and elegant swings (Ben Hogan) and absolute nightmare scenarios (Jim Furyk) and still get great results on the golf course is because it matters less how you get your club back behind you and so much more when it comes to square club faces on impact.
Swing trainers work wonders to help you better control your clubface, but you also want to spray your clubs with a bit of foot powder before you practice, too. This powder will show where your balls are hitting on impact, giving you a good idea of whether or not your clubface is are closed, open, or square to the universe.
You can make adjustments from there!
Build Better Balance
The only way you’ll be able to generate the kind of power you need to push longer drives, to punch out of the rough, or to blast out of the sand is with proper balance and activating your entire body throughout your swing.
A lot of golfers don’t realize that they’re losing 50% or more of their natural power just by being out of balance.
If your body isn’t “centered” and stable on the ground you’ll never be able to deliver enough juice to muscle a ball towards the hole – and that means you’re taking extra strokes to get the ball where you need it to go.
Try holding the finish of your swing until your golf ball stops moving to train better balance. If you’re falling over half the time the odds are good that your body will start to make natural adjustments on its own to cement you back on firm ground.
Get Clubs That Fit
No, you don’t necessarily have to splash a mountain of money on golf clubs specifically designed for your body alone (though that’s not a bad idea if you’ve got the budget).
But you do need to get clubs that fit your game and your play style.
There isn’t a golfer on the planet that wouldn’t love being good enough to slap a ball around with muscle back irons just like the professionals do. There’s so much feel in those clubs that is like you are playing with an extension of your body.
Unfortunately, if you’re playing level and talents aren’t “up to par” with those clubs that they are only going to hold you back and devastate the scores you put down on your card.
Game improvement clubs are a much better bet for the overwhelming majority of golfers out there (young and old) that need a little bit more forgiveness than forged irons bring to the table.
Get clubs that fit you and your play style and your scores will start to drop almost immediately.
Practice Like a Professional
There are a lot of golfers that only get out two or three times a week, play for rounds on the course every time out, and then never hit any balls throughout the week otherwise and act surprised when they aren’t having any consistency with their game.
Think about that for a second.
How could you ever improve if you aren’t out there actively practicing, especially working on the weaker parts of your game?
No, if you want to get more consistent you need to identify what your weak areas are (short game is a weak area for EVERYONE) and then practice developing those skills like a professional.
Maybe that means hitting the range a couple of times a week in between rounds and just slapping your wedges around. Maybe that means hitting the putting green for an hour or two before your round to get the feel for how the greens are working.
At the end of the day, nobody ever got worse by practicing more!
Focus on the Fundamentals
A lot of golfers that ask “why is it so hard to be consistent in golf” never ask “how does the ball get in the air in the first place” – and that’s the most important piece of the puzzle when it comes to cracking the code of this great game.
If you don’t know how your swing impacts the clubface, and how that clubface impacts the ball, and how that ball flies through the air towards your target you are going to have a nightmare of a time getting any consistency in your game.
Take a look at your clubs (each of them) and study the line, the loft, and how those clubs respond to your swing in slow motion.
Read up on where you want to tee your ball to hit sky-high drives or low stingers through the wind.
Read up about how you want to hit the ground behind the ball and let the loft handle the heavy lifting for you.
Read up about how to open the face on wedges to get a little more height or how to close things to do a bump and run.
Focus on the fundamentals (and practice them religiously) and you’ll get a whole lot more consistent in a hurry.
Master the Mental Side of Golf
Bad golf shots are going to happen.
They happen to everyone – even living legends like Tiger Woods.
Worse, they happen a whole lot more frequently than it feels like we had something really “pure”.
Understanding that bad golf shots are going to happen is one thing, though. Having a mental plan to get past those bad shots – one of the biggest obstacles to scoring lower and to overcome inconsistency issues – is something else entirely.
A lot of otherwise great golfers are shooting themselves in the foot because they take shots focusing on the bad one that they just had. Because their focus is somewhere else (specifically on a terrible mistake) their follow-up shot is usually just as bad – if not worse – and then the negative chain of reactions goes off on its own.
One bad shot can ruin a round faster than anything else, but only if you let it.
Truth be told, the majority of answers to the question “why is it so hard to be consistent in golf” could be summed up pretty simply:
Because we make playing consistently hard on ourselves!
If more of us were willing to take a step back from a bad shot, to wash it from our minds completely, and to look at each new shot with fresh eyes and no attachment to the past we would all start dropping lower scores left and right.
The mental side of golf is critically important, perhaps more important than (almost) anything else.
Create a mental plan of action to deal with obstacles, to think through shots before you hit them, and to respond to your game as it unfolds and you’ll be far more consistent every time out.