How to Shoot Better Golf Scores Quicker

Mojo Levis
Mojo Levis 9 Min Read
How to Shoot Better Golfing Scores Quicker

Golfers are always looking for ways to improve their scores and shave strokes off their games. While driving the ball a long way is satisfying, hitting precise approach shots with your irons is the key to lower scores. 

The intention of this article is to provide golfers with a complete guide on how to improve their iron play and shoot lower scores more quickly. 

The Importance of Iron Play

While power off the tee is advantageous, iron play is the most crucial element in shooting lower scores. According to Shot Scope data from over 30 million golf shots, the proximity to the hole after an approach shot is the most important factor in determining your scoring potential. The closer you can consistently hit your irons to the pin, the more opportunities you’ll have for birdies and easier pars.

Improve Your Short Game

The Impact of a Solid Short Game

A reliable short game can be a true score-saver. According to the PGA Tour, an average tour professional gets up and down (saves par or better) from around the green 64% of the time. For amateur golfers, that number drops to around 30-40%. By improving your short game skills like chipping, pitching, and bunker play, you can significantly reduce scoring disasters and capitalize on more birdie chances.

Dedicated Practice for Chipping and Pitching

PGA Tour coach Cameron McCormick recommends spending at least 25% of your practice time dedicated to chipping and pitching. Set up practice stations around the green and work on varying trajectories, spin rates, and distances. Aim to feel comfortable executing a variety of short game shots from different lies and conditions.

Master Your Bunker Play

According to Golf Digest, the average golfer leaves about 25% of their bunker shots in the sand. By focusing on proper bunker technique, like keeping your weight forward and using a splash motion, you can drastically reduce costly mistakes from greenside bunkers.

Alignment: The Foundation for Solid Iron Strikes

Proper alignment is often overlooked but is crucial for consistent ball-striking with your irons. Even a slight misalignment can cause significant accuracy issues and lead to poor shotmaking.

The Importance of Alignment Sticks

Using alignment sticks during practice sessions can be a game-changer. These simple tools provide instant feedback on your aim and body alignment, allowing you to ingrain a square setup for each iron shot.

Check Your Alignment Routinely

Make it a habit to check your alignment before every shot, not just on the practice range. PGA Tour players like Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy are meticulous about their aim, realigning themselves multiple times during their pre-shot routine.

Balance: The Key to Controlled Iron Shots

Maintaining excellent balance throughout your swing is essential for making solid contact and controlling your iron shots. Even the slightest loss of balance can cause mishits and inconsistent ball-striking.

The Balance Challenge Drill

To improve your balance, try the “Balance Challenge” drill. Make swing after swing while balancing on your trail foot after impact. This drill forces you to maintain your balance and develop a more controlled, repeatable swing.

Weight Distribution Insights from TrackMan

According to TrackMan data, PGA Tour players distribute their weight evenly between their lead and trail foot at impact when hitting irons. Amateurs, on the other hand, tend to favor their trail foot, leading to inconsistent strikes. Focus on keeping your weight balanced throughout your swing.

Trajectory Control: Mastering High and Low Shots

Not every golf course or hole is the same. To score well, you need to have the ability to control your trajectory and hit both high and low iron shots effectively.

Launching it High

To hit higher iron shots:

  • Maintain a slightly wider stance
  • Swing along a more upward angle
  • Finish with a higher follow-through

Keeping it Low

For lower trajectories:

  • Play the ball back in your stance
  • Use a narrower stance
  • Swing along a flatter path
  • Finish with a lower, more controlled follow-through

Practicing different trajectories will give you more shot-making versatility and help you score better in various wind and lie conditions.

Distance Control: Precision with Your Scoring Clubs

Arguably the most important aspect of iron play is precise distance control, especially with your scoring clubs (8-iron through wedges). The ability to dial in yardages from 150 yards and in can make or break your scoring opportunities.

Master Your Distances with Statistial Data

According to Arccos Golf Data, the average 10-handicap golfer hits their:

  • 8-iron: 145 yards
  • 9-iron: 135 yards
  • Pitching Wedge: 115 yards
  • Gap Wedge: 100 yards
  • Sand Wedge: 85 yards

Knowing your carry distances for each club can help you make smarter decisions and strategy from various yardages.

Practice with Purpose

To improve distance control, dedicate specific practice sessions to dialing in yardages with each iron. Use alignment sticks and focus on making smooth, consistent swings while hitting multiple shots at designated yardage markers.

The Mental Game: Conquering the Biggest Obstacle

The mental aspect of the game is often the biggest barrier for players looking to take their scores to the next level. Fear, self-doubt, and a lack of trust in one’s abilities can sabotage even the most technically sound swings.

The Power of Positive Self-Talk

Sports psychologists emphasize the importance of positive self-talk in fostering a confident, fearless mindset on the course. Replace negative thoughts with affirmative statements like “I am a great iron player” or “I trust my swing.”

Accept Mishits with Grace

Rather than dwelling on a poor iron strike, learn to quickly accept it and move on to the next shot with a clear mind. Obsessing over mistakes will only compound future errors.

Set Process Goals, Not Outcome Goals

Instead of fixating on specific score targets, which can create undue pressure, focus on process goals related to your pre-shot routine, swing mechanics, or course management. This keeps your mind centered on controllable factors rather than fixating on results.

Statistical Evidence of Better Scoring

To drive home the importance of consistent iron play and its impact on scoring, consider these eye-opening statistics from Arccos Golf Data:

  • For amateur golfers, 65% of their strokes are taken from 100 yards or less.
  • Players who hit more greens in regulation average 5-6 strokes better per round than those who do not.
  • The difference in proximity to the hole from 150 yards between scratch and 20-handicap golfers is a staggering 48 yards.

Clearly, proficiency with your irons from various distances is the key differentiator in achieving lower scores.

Final Thoughts

While driving the golf ball a long way is exhilarating, precise iron play is the true path to lower scores. By committing to improving your short game, alignment, balance, trajectory control, distance precision, and mental fortitude, you can unlock your full scoring potential.

Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Significant score improvement takes time, patience, and a process-oriented approach. Dedicate yourself to purposeful practice, trust the process, and watch as your hard work translates to substantially lower scores on the course.

The game of golf rewards those who master control and precision over raw power. The nuances of iron play, and you’ll be well on your way to achieving the scoring breakthrough you’ve been seeking.

Follow:
i am a sports writer from 2017
Leave a comment