Play to your strengths, fix your weaknesses

What should you work on to improve your golf?  Easy for a PGA professional; they work on everything because they have the time and generally spare no expense.  For amateurs it’s a balancing act based on time, money, skills, and determination.  If you’re like me, you don’t play as much as you like, and even on good days you feel something is missing from your game, and while you’d love to put it all together, you rarely do.  There’s ALWAYS something to work on, so what approach do you take?

The answer is to work on whatever builds confidence.  Improve your confidence and your play will improve along with your satisfaction level.  Start by developing a personal confidence report card and be as honest and as detailed as possible.  The profile you create will help guide your approach.  Here was mine at the beginning of the season:

  • Driving length: C
  • Driving accuracy: B-
  • Fairway woods: D
  • 3-6 iron play: C-
  • 7-9 iron play: B-
  • Full swing scoring shots <120 yards: B
  • Pitching: B
  • Chipping: B+
  • Lag putting: C-
  • Short putting: B+
  • Physical conditioning: C-
  • Mental approach: A-

How would you profile the above?  I’d see someone who is clearly a dissatisfied ball striker, who gets more confident the closer they get to the flag stick, who manages their game well, but puts inordinate pressure on their short game.  This player would clearly struggle on courses with long par three and par four holes but probably scores well on the fives by laying up to preferred yardages.  Since this is me, I can confirm 🙂   So if you were me, what would you work on?

Conventional thinking is to just go work on short game and watch your scores drop, but I have done that extensively over the past several years and while I have improved around the green, the only true KPI (handicap) has not improved.  Consequently, I’ve decided on an approach where I address my weaknesses off the course (conditioning and ball striking) and play around them on the course until my confidence is elevated.  While it’s still early in the season, the conditioning work I’m doing for my back has allowed me to correct a serious swing flaw with my spine angle and pick up consistency and length.  Confidence level is going up!

Now your personal confidence report card may look considerably different from mine, but I’d urge you to make one, and in doing so, take the same approach to work on your weaknesses until your confidence level improves, and play around them while you do the work.  If you want to send me your self confidence report card, I’d be happy to make an assessment and develop an improvement plan for you.  Sometimes another set of eyes can be beneficial.  Good luck!

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About Brian Penn

Avid sports fan and golf nut. I am a lifelong resident of the Washington D.C. area and love to follow the local teams. Also worked as a golf professional in the Middle Atlantic PGA for several years and am intrigued by the game to no end. I love to play and practice and am dedicated to continual improvement.
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2 Responses to Play to your strengths, fix your weaknesses

  1. Ron Celano says:

    Most people have limited time to practice. With that being said and improved ball striking being the goal, I believe that there are three things an average golfer can work on to improve their swing. I have posted the first of four articles here: http://rcelano.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/to-make-a-good-golf-swing-you-must-do-these/

  2. brianpenn says:

    Thanks for the comment Ron!

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