Golfers are perpetually looking for the one magic tip or swing mechanic that will propel them into the next lower handicap class and beyond. Golf instruction books and videos further enable this inclination by offering a wide variety of miraculous cures and fixes that will produce such improvements, but after weeks and months of consulting them and hitting myriad balls on the practice range, most golfers find that not much has changed, especially with regard to their scores. Many of them then return, credit card in hand, to view the next infomercial and order the next miracle cure for their golf game.
There is a much simpler and cost-effective way to improve your golf scores, and it does not involve long periods of reading instructional texts or viewing videos, or getting calluses on your hands from long hours on the driving range: learn and practice good course management! The prudent golfer who knows one's limitations, minimizes risks on the course while maximizing chances for a good result, and spends more than 80% of practice time on the short, delicate shots required within 120 yards of the hole that will easily take 5 to 10 strokes off his/her average score, increase enjoyment of the game, and compel you to fall in love all over again with this most accessible and fascinating of sports. Good course management involves making good choices during play so as to minimize the need to take extra strokes and avoid penalties. If there is water to the right of the fairway, aim your tee shot well to the left, even if that lands you into light rough on the opposite side. If there are bunkers alongside the landing area of the fairway that your driver can reach, tee off with a fairway wood instead, and stop your ball well short of the sand. A ball in the trees can be more easily chipped through an opening back to the fairway, even if that means settling for a bogey, than trying for a miraculous escape through more trees, which, the majority of the time, will hit another tree and leave you no better off, now facing a really high score. If you're not sure about carrying that pond between you and the green, lay up in the fairway and hit a much shorter subsequent shot to the green; it will cost you no more than one shot, and with a good first putt, who knows? While practicing good course management may seem less "heroic," you will soon learn to love the improvement on your scorecard - and, in competitive situations, will force your opponent to take low-probability chances in order to attempt catching up with you. Remember, golf is a game of "good misses;" conceding one shot to par is much better than foolishly wasting 2, 3 or more shots per hole, and makes the totals on your scorecard much easier to add up!